It all gets very real when the guide book for the C2C arrives and you decide it would be a great idea to buy all the Ordnance Survey maps that cover that route (that’s six 1:25,000 scale maps if you were interested). Once those arrive you decide to highlight your preferred route so you know what you are in for.
I have learnt a lot about the C2C in the last month or so, good times to do it, how many days people do it in and how quick people have done it. As a big Mountain Bike fan I was pleased to see that the route has been ridden on all sorts of bikes from road, hybrid, mountain, tandems and even a folding bike. I am going to use my GT Aggressor mountain bike albeit with some more hybrid tyres than my chunky knobbly MTB ones.
The C2C is almost always done from West to East (better for the prevailing wind) with two options of start and two of end point and a number of alternative routes in between. The route I have planned starts from Workington in the Lake District and ends in Sunderland its ~140 miles. Whilst I was intending for more of an off road route the actual NCN (National Cycle Network) route is largely on very minor roads, disused railway tracks etc.
Most people take 3 / 4 days so they can take in the sights and the beautiful scenery of Northern England. I decided whilst I know I can’t compete for the quickest time (~7 hours 53 mins – and I thought I was bonkers!) to make it a proper challenge I would go for
As a marked cycle route its open all year (albeit I wouldn’t fancy it in the snow!) and there isn’t a specific event as such so after mulling over various logistics I have chosen to do it in one of the last 2 weeks of August giving me a little bit of flexibility on date but at least I know when it will be now!
Whilst I keep fit with running, aerobics, circuits, walking etc at least 5 days a week, today was the longest cycle ride I have ever done. I’ll stress now, I hate hills, they make me feel like I’m going to die. However I appreciate that this route, given the part of the country that it is in, is not going to be flat. Bugger.
Today’s cycle was 26.4miles (42.5km) and this is what I learnt:
- Whilst I didn’t get a puncture, I need to learn how to fix them
- I need a little pump in case of above puncture
- Other road users are t***s and largely disrespectful of a cyclist on the road: driving too close, cutting in too tight, or just being rude by tooting at you when you have every right to be in the middle of the road to turn right
- Tissues!!! A snotty sniffy nose is a pain in the arse
- I have gears for a reason
- My bum has never hurt so much…ever
But….it was fun, I got covered in mud (thanks to the tow path) and I was home in ~2hours 15minutes which I thought wasn’t too bad particularly when it felt like I was cycling in treacle on the tow path.
Only a small step I realize, this gave me so much positivity that I can do this and in fact I can do anything I put my mind to even if it now does hurt to sit down.
So on this positive note the training will continue and I am genuinely excited by the prospect. I have a turbo trainer I will be using to supplement training and then continuing my usual running, aerobics, circuits, cylcing and of course walking (with adequate rest periods as well of course) and the focus initially of course will be training for the ‘warm up’ which is the 100km London to Brighton challegne on 27/28th May, also aiming for a sub
So that is it for this year, two solo
I’ll again be raising money for MRKH Connect, a charity very close to my heart as I continue my quest to increase awareness of MRKH whilst also promoting the value and benefit that a support network provides whether face to face or online. I can’t stress enough how much this support has helped me and making people more aware of what is available is vital.
You are stronger than you think