After a pretty quiet and boring day in the shop on Saturday the planned 75km ride on Sunday was eagerly awaited. The weather was floorless (if a little hot and sunny for an epic...but after the summer we have had so far I really hate to complain) and the bikes ready to go. The first 30km out to Guiting went pretty well but the next 30km really dragged (partly due to unknow trails) and the lack of proper food (frutini's and flapjack are not enough for Becca...she needs a cheese+onion sarnie!)made it an effort to finish. We did re-jig the route back but still managed 72km. After a shower and change of clothes we went to the all-you-can-eat "Real China" in the Brewery complex. I think we pretty much ate our own bodyweight in food and returned home sleepy and full.
The plan was to ride with the Ashton club in the Forest of Dean on Monday afternoon and with a little leverage (and bribes) we turned up at the appointed time and place. Sheldon had planned out a great route and despite snapping his XTR crank after 1/2 mile it went really well. Big shout out to Mandi who got a singlespeed baptism of fire after Sheldon "borrowed" her XTR crank and she was relegated to the rigid Kona SS (32:16...way to big for them hills!) despite being used to a geared full-sus she made pretty reasonable time!
At the cut-out point I opted to follow the "faster / more stupid" pack to take in some more climbing and a really sweet singletrack descent (The Lawnmower) before meeting back at the pub for cider and cheesy chips.
No real riding on Tuesday but plenty ouf round town stuff on the Xtracycle including a trip back with a BIG bag of kitty litter in one side :)
The glitch list is starting to get smaller with only a couple of minor niggles on there at the moment. My Karrimor hydropack is working great and the camera is easy to get to on the belt (plus I can karibina the wrist strap to the excess shoulder strap so I can't drop the camera!) Even after 7hrs on the bike the pack does not screw up my neck/shoulders/back and keeps still on nasty jarring singletrack. I plan to take some photos and give a complete kit run-down at some point...possibly this Sunday as we have a wedding on Saturday (with in staggering distace of home) and friends staying over so chances to get out on the bike will be limited.
Fundraising is going well with an article due in the Echo soon and BBC Radio Glos and Star FM also giving me some more coverage. I have my bus tickets booked and printed out. Insurance and Dr's Letter are still on the "to do" list and must be sorted out this week.
At this point in the training / preperation I am pretty sure I have covered all the bases (barring death or dismemberment for me or the bike) and my fitness is the best it ever has been but I am now doubting that despite the preperation and training I might still not be up to the task. Day 6 for example is only 52km....but all but the last 2km into camp are up hill! The day consists of climbing all the way to the top of Jalori Pass 3223m (about 2000m vertical!) and a hike-a-bike section to finish it off.
At this point there really is no turning back.