Brief charity bit first

I’m doing the trip for a personal challenge, and in the process have decided to raise funds for the Alzheimers’ Society (both in the UK and Ireland). Both my wife, Sarah, and I have very personal reasons in our families why there was only one cause we would support. Feel free to donate at either of the personal donation pages at The Alzheimer Society of Ireland or Alzheimer’s Society UK.

The Alzheimer Society of Ireland
The Alzheimer’s Society UK

The self-indulgent blog bit starts here …

From hereon in, I’ll be adding diary entries from time-to-time, complete with a few pics, with more to come once the trip gets underway. If you want to see a bit more info on the route and who we are, click here.

22nd May – 12 days to go

It’s getting real now. The bikes were all packed up yesterday and waiting for DHL to collect them this afternoon and they duly arrived on time. I felt like a worried parent asking the driver whether they were packaged properly and had I printed enough copies of the documentation? I think he sensed this when he told me that “these were the best-packed boxes he’d seen in a long time“. I bet he says that to everyone.

In two days’ time, the bikes will arrive at Carn Bikes in Pendeen, Cornwall, where they’ll be rebuilt, tested and delivered to the Lands End Hotel ready for the off. It will be another 11 days until we’re reacquainted on the eve of our departure. Fingers and toes crossed!

At the very least even if we pull out now we’ve got the logistics of retrieving two bikes from Cornwall.

All of the training rides have been done. The focus for the next couple of weeks is to stay healthy, stay sane and just a few gentle spins on the other bike(s). Hopefully, everything goes like clockwork between now and then.

25th May – 9 days to go

After three days of paranoia dreaming of everything that could go wrong, I heard the great news from Stuart at Carn Bikes, that both mine and Tom’s bikes arrived safely and intact. They’ve now been rebuilt and all is pretty much good. The only issue is that however much pipe lagging and bubble wrap I used, I didn’t think to keep the disc rotor of the front wheel away from the chain. As such it was lying on it the entire journey. If there’s one thing that should never get anywhere near a disc brake rotor, it’s oil! Anyway Stuart has done a great job and cleaned the rotor well. Seemingly the brakes are working. Phew!

So all that now remains is to stay healthy and injury free through the next nine days and make sure we wake up in time for our flight over next week, (a 7am red eye – I thought my days of being in Dublin Airport at early o’clock were well behind me!).

The other thing I need to bear in mind is to stop eating. I’m in the ‘taper’ period when it’s important to stay fresh and let the body recover with minimal cycling. The only problem is that cycling does a pretty good job of keeping me away from the fridge. Ah well, just another 9 days to exercise some self-restraint, then once we’re off I’ll be able to eat for Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland!

28th May – 6 days to go

Last spin out with the club this morning and Tom joined us too. I was never going to do the full route today, partly because I’m tapering and partly because I’m on the heavier bike, while the good bike is already in Cornwall. Anyway, the chosen route given it’s a nice sunny day was to do a lap of the Gaps. That generally means around 100km and anything above 1200m of climbing, generally including the Sally Gap and Wicklow Gap. Anyway, once I got to the top of the Sally Gap, myself and Tom said goodbye to everyone else and headed off as quickly as possible to beat the last breakfast orders in the Moody Rooster. I’m sure Tom would have been as happy to continue climbing (he’s a naturally gifted climber apparently …) with the rest, but bacon, eggs, sausages and puddings were calling.

Anyway, that’s it now for cycling for the next few days. Time to tidy the house, prepare for my parents who are coming to visit for a few days, and hopefully some good sleeping in there too.