PUSHING THROUGH THE DOUBTS
It is 6am and I am sitting down writing this post absolutely exhausted from yesterday’s 50 mile training cycle. It was a gorgeous Sunday afternoon ride. No rain, the sun was shining for a big part of the journey, and I felt like I had this part of Scotland almost just for myself. I went to explore a new area. For the first time, I visited the giant lake Loch Ness. I had heard about it at school. When I learned about the legendary Loch Ness monster that is said to live in this lake, it always seemed to me like a made up tale about a place that does not exist. And now I live a 40 minute drive from it.
It was windy and big waves were rolling on the surface of the water. The water was dark blue and I could see the mountains in all shades of grey opening on the horizon. I was impressed. A lake that stretches way beyond the eyes can see.
I focused on not stopping as often as I usually do and I managed to get back in the time Google maps predicted. My main drive was to make it home before it gets dark. I am trying to practice riding up hills whilst sitting on my bike. I prefer standing up and use my whole body to get myself to the top, although I was told that for a long ride, as it is using different muscles, I need to focus on using my legs. The first part of the journey was uphill and I was not able to stick to this plan. My back is laughing at me right now. I feel broken.
When I was riding the first uphill part of the journey, I was listening to Lewis Howes’ podcast ‘The School of Greatness with Devon Still’. As I was really struggling to keep going, Devon was telling the story about his daughter who was diagnosed with cancer when she was 4 years old. She had to go through a lot of treatment and one part was radiation. She had to be in an isolated room on her own for 5 days and no-one could give her hug or anything. My eyes were nearly tearing up and it really put my struggle into a perspective. I was trying to ride uphill on a beautiful sunny Sunday cycle because I chose to. I love listening to people’s stories and how they overcame the hardest times in their lives.
I would like to give you a little break down of my training. I want to show you that my training does not involve sacrificing everything to prepare for this challenge. I try to fit the preparation in my normal schedule.
I do 20-30 mins of yoga every morning right after I wake up. I have made a habit out of it and been doing it for the last 7 months. For me, it is a way to stretch my body out of the morning stiffness and give myself time to focus and prepare for the day ahead. Morning yoga has become the one thing that is holding my life together.
Mondays and Fridays are busy days for me so I try to do at least a few minutes of some strengthening exercises. During the week, I try to squeeze in a little run and a shorter cycle. And now I have incorporated one long cycle a week that I will gradually be increasing. Last week, I did 40 miles and this week 50 miles. Now I want to focus on planning my rides so I cycle on consecutive days to get used to it. At least one of my days off usually involves a hike or other outdoor activity. So far I had to delegate an afternoon or two to my longer rides which I will have to make into a whole day cycle to be able to cycle longer distances. Other than that, I have not been going out of my way too much to spend all of my time cycling to prepare for this journey. There are lots of other things that need to be planned and prepared for this journey.
I have never done anything like this before and have never asked for sponsorship for anything. Although, it recently crossed my mind to try. There are a few bits of equipment I really could do with for my cycle and having ‘Komoot’ app would make my life easier.
I am battling all the doubts and negative thoughts like Why would anyone want to sponsor me with anything?, What brand would I even want to support?, What brands are out there? Is it even worth my effort for this trip or should I spend the time focusing on other things?
TIPS AND TRICKS
When I made the decision to cycle from Scotland to London, one of the first things I did was ask for any tips or tricks for long cycle journeys. It was a way to find out what I should focus on and where to even start with planning and preparation. I’ve had a lot of recommendations about what to take with me and how to do it. Many of them was quite specific and involved buying a lot of gear I do not have. I took what I needed from all the great tips and left it for a while. Some tips that were more for racing type challenges put me off a little bit and I was doubting myself. If you missed the first post ‘How an idea becomes a plan’, read it here. Or the second one about how I started planning here.
I am not in a position to buy anything extra for my bike or myself and if I invest some money in something, I want to be sure that I really need it.
It has been a few weeks and my training cycle rides brought new questions in my head. I am back into contacting people for tips but this time I have more specific questions. In terms of nutrition for the cycle, I have noticed that bread always makes me gassy so I am looking for an alternative now. Due to my Crohn’s disease, I find snacks like nuts too heavy to digest for me and fruit makes me bloated later in the day when I am tired. So I am trying to find some alternatives, like lighter snacks that would keep me going when I am already exhausted.
The question of what unexpected situations could occur during my journey, and how I would deal with them, crossed my mind. It could be anything like cramps or running out of food and water in the middle of nowhere. I usually try to filter out the negative thoughts to focus but this is not going to be an easy one and I want to be prepared for the unexpected.
I am also looking to see if there is any offline tracking app I could use to track the exact route.
If you have any recommendations for any above, I would be grateful to hear all about it. And if you have any questions about anything I have not mentioned, fire it up at me. I am happy to answer honest questions.