22 days. Let me repeat that: 22 days. Until I set off from London.
This seems unrealistic (that’s what I always say to my personal trainer when he shows me some new exercise).
I stopped blogging when I took the news over to my Facebook page, www.facebook.com/willcycleforfood … I felt that more people were interested in short news clips than in my ramblings. Nevertheless, some people asked why there aren’t any new blog posts, so here you are, folks.
Since September, when I decided to enter in the World Cycle Race, a lot of things have changed. I bought a ton of stuff, the apartment has turned into a bike storing facility, or at least it feels like it. My bike lives in the living room. I constantly stare at it, trying to imagine spending 5 months on it. I wiggle parts around, practice changing tires and tubes – I hardly get any punctures, so I don’t have a lot of routine – or just think about what I could optimize about the bags and stuff.
I work out twice a weak usually, gaining strength, building up muscle mass. By now I actually have a pretty strong core and am starting to complain when I don’t work out. Abs exercises have started being fun. Fun, I say!
When it comes to nutrition, I have adopted the system of “eat more”. I’ve lost barely any weight (6kgs since August) but probably a bit of body fat since my measurements have gone down. During the past months I picked up eating meat again (I barely ate any meat for many months), but noticed that my joints really don’t like it, so it is back to tons of veggies and beans.
On top of all the normal food, I also forced myself to learn how to like sugar. I don’t usually eat sugar, I find most sweets quite disgusting. When I was training with Juliana she basically forced Torrone down my throat after training and it really does make a difference to have some quick carbs for recovery. A hit of sugar, combined with something more long-lasting (like protein, hence chocolate milk for a recovery drink) makes the phase right after exertion a lot more enjoyable and eliminates the after-workout bonk that I used to get quite often – when you hang over the sink shoveling orange slices into your mouth, it is a sign of not having eaten enough.
With the help of an excellent doctor, I’m now almost through all of my immunizations and have a great set of medication for the road. One more shot to go and then I can barely fall victim to fatal diseases. Rabies was the most important one, Cholera (which, as some studies suggest, also prevents a large portion of travel-related diarrhea) and Influenza are also quite valuable additions.
But it is the planning that is really starting to get to me. I am an excellent planner, in fact, my friends and family know me as the organizational nazi (they don’t always mean that in a nice way – I tend to get really upset when things don’t work out as I planned them). But the logistics involved in this race are huge. Have you ever tried doing day-to-day planning for a 29.000km trip including finding out about accommodation, road quality, weather and wind patterns and costs? It is tough, even with the vast world of the Internet at your fingertips and the aid of guidebooks and, finally, people who’ve been there and done it.
However, all of the planning will mostly accomplish one thing: I feel like I’m prepared and not completely jumping into the unknown. I’m sure lots of my day-to-day plans won’t work out the way I planned them. That doesn’t matter, I’ve grown more tolerant and flexible (yes, really!).
One of my biggest concerns has been what to bring. After all, it isn’t very nice to realize on the road that you’re missing some important pieces. In my opinion, a race is not a place to try out something completely new, I wanted to be able to test everything beforehand.
To that end, I’ve been very happy so far with my Revelate Designs bags. I train with the bags on to get used to the handling and dynamics (and the added weight). Small things like repair equipment I’ve been using for a few months now and am familiar with it. I have figured out most of the common ailments my bike may have and am able to fix most of them. I just got new shoes so I have to wear these in over the next weeks, but my butt has conformed to the bibtights I got and my saddle is well worn-in, too.