I have ridden 63,915KM since I first got on a pushbike 6 years ago. If I was a car you might start to think about trading me in for something with fewer KM’s.
It doesn’t matter where I have ridden or what I have ridden up, the next 3 weeks will undoubtably be the most challenging KM’s I have ever covered.
Having had a few days back in England to get ready for my big ride I have had some time to reflect about what lies ahead of me. So here are a few observations that I have made about the coming weeks.
Walking on Sunshine
Riding in the sunshine makes everything easier. For the last week back in England, there has been a “heatwave”. I know this because the recent spell of warm weather has been mentioned along with the, “hottest summer of 1976“, which I actually remember as a kid. Compared to what I am now used to, it is just a nice summers day. Being on your bike connects you to the world around you, in the sunshine this is amplified.The smells, sounds and vistas of the countryside make you appreciate the beauty of the world we live in. If you want to experience a country, then go for a ride on a sunny day.
In all honesty it makes no sense to ride in anything other than sunshine. There is no logical reason to go out in the rain on your skinny little tyres and your thin Lycra to ride your bike if there is an alternative source of transport available. A friend remarked, after I bailed on a ride in the rain in Sydney, that “It does rain in France.” For all of us riding the TdF the weather is one variable we can’t control.
It doesn’t matter how much you have spent on wet weather gear, if you spend hours outside in the rain your going to get wet. Once you accept it and embrace it, the ride can take on a different challenge. Battling nature can be stimulating and most rewarding. It can also be a pain in the very wet arse. So fingers crossed for the next 3 weeks, maybe not for a heatwave but for some long sunny days.
Just Can’t Get Enough
Show me a bike rider who has ridden enough, bought enough, or thought about their bike enough and I would suggest they are a part-time wannabe. For the seriously inflicted there is always something else on the horizon.
This year I have ridden close to 8,000km to get ready for France and I still feel a little unprepared. This is partly due the nerves about what lies ahead and the challenge of riding every day for the next three weeks.
The duration and scale of being a lifer is actually what appealed to me in the first place, the challenge of doing something that was so physically demanding that no amount of training is going to give you the same experience. Sure you can do a long ride and then back up for a few days but you can’t replicate the whole 21 days. In all honesty I did think about giving it a go but work and other day to day priorities got in the way.
So the advice from previous lifers is to, focus on today, make sure you look up and enjoy it, let tomorrow take care of itself. Some very welcome and calming advice.
I’m on my way
A recurring theme in all of my jottings is how good I feel when I ride my bike, both physically and mentally. Imagine how good it will feel after 3 weeks!
I am very aware that what I am about to do is very indulgent. There is nothing at risk, no real hardship to be faced, just a chance to completely immerse myself into something I love to do.
Sitting on your backside pedalling for all those KM gives you lots of time to think, to see beyond the blinkers of everyday life and to get a different perspective. It makes you appreciate what you have, who you have and how fortunate I am to even have the chance to take on this adventure. Having Robyn join me half way around makes it even better.
Its nice to think that in France over the next few weeks my odometer will continue to click over as I rack up a few more KM’s. Once I arrive in Paris I’ll see if anything needs to be traded in.
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