I’ve been ‘encouraged’ on a more and more frequent basis by Linda (my other half) to think about what will support me over the distance of the Transcontinental.
I gave in, and an appointment with the chiropodist was made. Well she came to the house so I didn’t even have to go anywhere. I’ve a healthy fear of anyone wielding a knife, and a scalpel is only worse. So I watched nervously as years of abuse to my feet by cycling was addressed.
My feet feel a bit better, and whilst getting them serviced I remembered niggles I had last year and how bad that could be over a distance the length of the TCR.
Another series of treatment will be penned in for late May.
So I’ve started some of this indoor training, and it’s building up slowly but nicely.
However, this isn’t the training that’s been keeping me busy over the last few days.
Nothing demonstrates the lack of joined up thinking better than trying to book a rail ticket, and also book a bike to travel with you.
Eurostar. We’ll gladly let you book your train ticket online or over the phone, but no, we won’t give you any clues as to whether there is space for your bike on that train. To find out if there’s space you need to either call another department (with varying lengths of wait time), or email them and they’ll phone you back (which does seem to work). Obviously, if you’ve got just a slight concern about the lack of bike space, you won’t have booked the train ticket till you know there’s a bike space, so the reality is you keep your finger hovering over the ‘book button’ until you hear the magic phrase ‘yes, there’s bike space. Please tell me your train reservation reference and I’ll book the bike space’. How anyone who does not have ready access to the internet manages this is beyond me. But either way, it’s impossible to book a bike space via the internet.
Virgin Trains. Customer contact centre (phone) will happily book you a train seat and attempt to book a bike place for you, but it’s a different department, so you have to hold on for a few minutes while they try and make contact which in my experience isn’t always possible. So I give up, and do this in person at the origin station – it works seamlessly, but again, for someone trying to do this remotely it must be a real drag. Again, it’s impossible to book a bike space via the internet.
I’m now set. Travel booked all the way through from Glasgow to Brussels. One less thing to worry about, but the ‘to do’ list is growing continuously. I’ve stopped updating it for now. It’s a job in itself.
Distance to Brussels : 1,000km. Distance of TCR : 4,000km
What is it?
For those coming here without the foggiest idea about what the Transcontinental is, here’s a very very brief summary:
It’s a long race. Well a very long race really. It’s about 4,000km in length – I say ‘about’ since apart from a defined start and end point, and 4 ‘check points’ in between, each rider is required to determine their own route. To make things a little more interesting the ride must be totally self-supported (no outside assistance) and can only use facilities (eg. cafes, hostels, etc) that are available to the general public, but these cannot be booked in advance of the race start. To make it more interesting still, it must be a solo ride, therefore you cannot ride with other competitors (well unless you’re in the pairs category, which I’m not).
How long does it take?
The winner last year took 8 days and 18 hours, which for around 4,000km isn’t hanging about. I’ll take significantly longer, and intend to make it in time for the finishers party, which gives me a maximum of 15 days, or an average of at least 260km/day.
When and where is it?
It starts in Belgium on 28th July at 10pm, and the finishers party is on the evening of 12 August in Greece. The route will be something like this …. (ignore the time estimate, that’s Google indicating I’m in a car)
How do I feel?
Pretty excited but also intimidated by all the planning that is needed even before I get to the start line. The biggest challenge will however be a mental one. I expect numerous times asking myself why am I doing this, why not give up, why not put my feet up and have a long rest. Sounds tempting already …. I better stop this train of thought.