In just under two months’ time, I will climb back in the saddle again ready to ride nearly 100 miles for charity from Bristol to Swansea through Cardiff for charity as part of my work’s cycle challenge ‘Ride the Nation’. I’d love for you to sponsor me!
Those of you who know me know that I like my cycling when I get the chance, and I took part in the same challenge in 2015 – 4 nutters cycling somewhere north of 2000 miles over about 25 days, and 700 other riders supporting them by doing one or two legs of about 90 miles. On the face of it, it doesn’t seem like much of a challenge or hardship for me to hop back on a bike and go for a bimble again! However, the small matter of a high speed downhill crash in summer 2016 where I broke a shoulder and clattered a number of other bits of my body, mean that this is much more of an uphill struggle for me.
As a result of the crash, I’d completely lost my nerve coming down hills that I’d previously barrelled down quite happily at somewhere approaching 70kph. I’ve had to try to recover some confidence, re-learn my downhill technique and tell my brain to chat to my body about relaxing whenever I’m faced with any negative gradient which immediately puts the yips up me and results in me applying Spock’s Vulcan death grip to the handlebars. Any minor imperfections or potholes in the road surface appeared as dangerous as scooting along the edge of the grand canyon. Wet roads looked as impassable as lakes, damp roads seemed as greasy as a frying pan and I started looking out for dust on perfectly good dry roads!
Completely aside from the mess my head was in, I’m not a particularly fit fella, I’m slightly soggy around the midsection and could do with losing a few pounds. 100 miles is further than I’ve ever been, and is likely to be a real struggle. I’ve started training already, and whilst there’s the inevitable physical effort, the bigger fight for me is the mental battle when going down hills (South Wales not being renowned for being particularly flat). I’m already indebted to some of my worthier cycling friends for lending me their advice to try and work through it, and I’m determined to do so!
So mentally and physically, it’s going to be a struggle – uphill AND downhill! But I think it’s worth it to raise some money for charity and to continue to build in a pattern of exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Last time in 2015, Ride the Nation raised more than £150,000 for a number of charities across the country: I’d love it if you could help by sponsoring me… it’d be great to get close to that again.