Well it’s been a while since I last updated this blog, but being a full time daddy doesn’t give me enough free time. Here’s the thing, I’ll bet there are loads of guys out there just like me, who see their partners, wives or girlfriends looking after a new baby and never really appreciate just how hard it is. Hilke has now returned to work and I’m home alone with Natascha, and I can honestly say it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. My love and appreciation for this fantastic mum is overwhelming, I realise now how difficult it must be when I take off on my longer cycling rides. Oh and here’s a tip for other new dads – even at 12 weeks, Tom and Jerry keeps the little ones occupied!
Talking of cycling trips (well that’s what this blog is all about, right?) I’ve been getting in long rides out on the road before the weather turns too nasty. A weekend away for a church meeting in Utrecht saw me cycling down, a trip of 199 kilometres against a very stiff headwind with rain thrown in for good measure. It took me almost 9 hours, which given the conditions I was pretty pleased with. What wasn’t so smart was that I’d chosen to do it on my road bike, carrying a heavy rucksack on my back. A bad choice and one I’d pay for on the return journey as the pulled muscle in my lower back saw me calling it a day after 32 very pain km’s and climbing onboard a train. It had been a good weekend though and in total I’d managed 290 km’s after calling in on my now extended family in Haarlem. The importance of friends/family for a cyclist is no more apparent than when you turn up soaked through to the skin for a hot shower and warm meal!
It was a few days later when I got out for another ride, having given the pain in my back a chance to subside and sensibly (for me!) I only did a couple of hours. Almost two weeks later and I was back doing a century ride, but it’s getting much harder out there on the road as now it’s not just the wind, but the cold and rain. Time to consider riding indoors, something I haven’t done in many years. Looking around for a (cheapish) turbo trainer I came across a relatively new phenomenon hitting the web, an online cycling game and much more importantly, an online training tool called Zwift. On to YouTube and people are going crazy over it, so I signed up for the free trial to take a look myself. I was hooked. Here’s a link to a good video about it:
So now all I needed was a trainer, the relevant dongle and a speed sensor. Took a while trying to acquire all the relevant kit on a budget, but later today (Friday 27th November) I’ll be doing my first proper ride on it. Of course it won’t just be another turbo training session as I’m in training for something a little bit special, both in the ‘real’ world and of course, now in my new ‘virtual’ world.
Next June will see me taking part in one of Europe’s oldest and best known cycling events, the Styrkepröven, which celebrates its 50th Edition in 2016. A non-stop ride of 540 km’s from Trondheim to Oslo, it is known throughout cycling as one of the most prestigious races on the Cyclosportive circuit. Just my cup of tea!
If you’d like to join me and some of my team mates from here in the Netherlands, details can be found here > Styrkeproven
In preparation I have even more daft ideas. Some of you may remember my charity event of a good few years ago, when in the foyer of JJB Sports I cycled 333 miles (536 km’s) on a static turbo trainer. I stopped at 16 hours, but only because the centre closed. There was a follow up charity event (for Cancer Research) planned in the foyer of ASDA where my late wife Caroline worked, but this was cancelled due to her own battle (and very sudden death) with this terrible disease. It was due to be a 24 hour non stop cycling challenge.
After my own battle with cancer and subsequent trip around the world, I never dreamed I’d be returning to this kind of event, but here we are. Winter approaching, too dangerous to cycle outside and I’ve decided I need to once again push myself to my very limits. It starts week Saturday with a 24 hour cycling challenge, where people from all over the globe will take part in this ‘virtual’ event. There will be few who will attempt to ride the full 24 hours, rather they’ll be part of a relay team. Me, well I want to see how far I can go and my plan is to try for 500 miles, which might take me a little longer!
Will I complete the 24 hours?
Who knows… but I would like your help and sponsorship for a very good cause. I’ll link below to the charity page which explains what it’s all about and also give a link to my own fundraising page. If I can get a fraction of my followers to donate just £1, €1 or $1 then just imagine the change we can bring. Please help.
It doesn’t end there though, more personal challenges will follow including breaking a few records for time spent on a static trainer. Watch this space and my Facebook page for updates.