Six…

On Saturday I did my last training ride (on the road at least) in Richmond Park – was a good four laps and I was happy both with my average speed and the fact that I felt reasonably fresh at the end of it.

With a party on Saturday night (and a wobbly tandem ride home) and lots to do yesterday, I decided against the Sunday training ride.

I’m still not sure that the training I have done overall has been the ‘right’ sort of training in that I’ve really picked up my speed on the flat but possibly not done enough distance work (in fact I know I haven’t). Anyway, it’s too late to worry about that now and I shall be taking it reasonably easy for the rest of the week. I might do a last turbo trainer climb on Tuesday but that will be my last actual training ride.

I’m still much heavier than I would like for climbing too but there’s nothing I can do about that anymore – I’m stronger on the bike than I have ever been so I’m going to have to hope that brute force and ignorance will get me through compared to gazelle like climbing grace.

I rode to work today at what I thought was a deliberately gentle pace (I had to stop myself from latching on to the wheels of people overtaking me). Despite that, I still managed a 14.3mph average, which I would probably have had to work for at the start of the year after getting out of condition.

So fitness wise, I’m in very good shape I think. Mentally I’m committed to it to and sure I’ll get through, although I expect the first few days to be a real shock to the system. I think what I’m looking forward to most is getting to the end of day two – for one, I will see some of my family, but mainly because I will hopefully have got through the first two days ok and know that I will be able to continue.

My bike is at the shop having a grown-up give it some care and attention, fortunately the chain and rear cassette didn’t need changing this time and the mechanic has given the bottom bracket some tlc. Hopefully the gears have been smoothed out nicely too.

I pick it up tomorrow morning as I’m on my other bike this evening (need to make a delivery of some maps and leaflets over Ealing way). A broken spoke on this bike that seems to have appeared from nowhere added a few logistical woes to yesterday, especially as they are bladed spokes on a wheel type that I have even less of a clue than normal how to fix.

Fortunately I do have a spare wheelset, so I swapped the rear cassette over (it had an 8 speed on it previously and anyway, for smooth riding and even chain wear I’m told that you should always use the same cassette with the same chain. This is one mechanical task that I can do (it needs specialist tools which I already have) so that wasn’t too difficult. It does remind me that I need to learn to do a whole bunch of other bike maintenance stuff – I can replace a brake cable but I’m hopeless at indexing gears so these are fairly basic tasks that therefore cost me money by having to get someone else to do them.

This week I’ll be packing to make sure I get everything ready before Saturday – I have already found and washed most of the kit I will take with me (except my armwarmers, must look those out). I kind of have to get ready for the Marmotte at the same time, as I will only have two days after I get back from TRAT to prepare for the long journey to Grenoble (which reminds me, I must buy the new castors for the bike box).

So there’s lots of little things to do, not least of which is attend a publicity photoshoot on Friday with John Snow who is patron of the Bishop Simeon Trust as well as his other roles.

At the moment, I’m starting to feel the twitchy, nervy excitement that will build and build until the moment before the off.

Only six days to go now…

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