OK, let's start with a bit of background...
With plans on RAAM 2023 my current state of fitness wasn't too bad considering Tier 4 and Lockdown restrictions - until the Cumbrian winter arrived! Up until that point training had still been do-able and I was achieving gains - with the help of my training partner, a stronger cyclist than me but still very supportive.
Originally coming from Norfolk it's as if the hills have eyes ..... they see a cyclist coming and say 'we're going to give you hell' ! Bear in mind, having previously completed the Norfolk Epic, I knew could ride 200 miles in one day, albeit on pretty flat terrain. So it came as a bit of a shock when on my first ride home from work with colleague Henrietta (yes, the UCI Team member!) after moving up here in the summer, resulted in me dismounting not once......but twice!! I was gutted!!!
But training has got well underway since then, and now those two sections that I walked up? I can ride them now!
So onwards... with the quietening down of business as we reached the end of 4 full months of back-to-back courses post-lockdown (the first one, last year) my shifts here at the Bike Inn and in the Helmwind Cycles workshop changed and available training time with my training partner more than halved - and with it the loss of half my weekly training mileage! We have a turbo-trainer here at the unit but with it being constantly used by H, and me needing more than 45mins at a time on a turbo (more like 3 to 4 hours at a single sitting) it was time for me to look around for one.
Little did I know ... trying to get hold of a turbo during lockdown was like trying to find a golden egg!! Even the distributors we deal with had ludicrous lead times. After many hours trawling the net it was only by luck that I found my new toy at Chain Reaction Cycles - an Elite Direto.
Having run through the configuration, which I must admit was easier on my Android phone (which supports ANT+) than my iPad (which doesn't support ANT+) I managed to connect it with Zwift fairly easily. I needed to adjust my rear derailleur before putting some real stress through it, but was at least able to calibrate it, and get a feel of what kind of ride it would be.
So tomorrow evening will be it's virgin outing!! Can't wait to be honest even though I know using this turbo will result in lots of pain....but no pain no gain as they used to say.
My training plan means that my targets are as follows ... not many, but all big - huge actually!
- December 2020...Already gone, but I had got to riding nearly 50 miles of Cumbrian terrain - so this becomes my starting point from now.
- December 2021...10 consecutive days of 100 Cumbrian miles...This gets me half way to where I need to be
- Hopefully North Cape 4000 in 2022 if I get accepted...4000km within 22 days...Lake Garda in Italy to the North Cape, Norway
- December 2022...10 consecutive days of 200 Cumbrian miles...This reaches my target and gives me some confidence of achieving my goal of...
- July 2023...RAAM (Race Across America)...3200 miles, 175,000ft of climbing, non-stop from Oceanside, California to City Dock in Annapolis, Maryland, all within 9 days as a two person team!
There will be other events and challenges along the way which will help to gauge my fitness and progress, although I'm positive that with the support of my friends, family and colleagues at The Bike Inn, I'll definitely achieve my goals.