It is less than one month until we set-off on our two* wheeled adventure across the length of the British Isles (*four in aggregate – we aren’t completely mad). The extra few months we have gained by postponing the ride have flown by as training is reaching its peak and nerves are starting to kick in. Along the way we have picked up more cycling pals and now have company on a number of legs of the route – it’s not too late to get involved!
Having spent the whole of January to April complaining about the horrifically cold weather conditions, preparing for the very real risk of frost bite and purchasing an outrageous amount of waterproof clothing, we are now faced with the very real prospect of…wait for it… being a bit too hot. We wouldn’t be British if we didn’t have something to complain about and although cycling in 25+ degrees sounds wonderful, the fun soon starts to wear-off after five hours of no shade and asking the same pub for water bottle top-ups for a third time on the same day (thanks Montagu Arms in Beaulieu, actually more like a fancy hotel than a pub, sorry Montagu Arms in Beaulieu…). Our tan lines are, however, immense (winning).
The Great British weather has never, ever failed to deliver an underwhelming August and we are praying that it will live up to our low expectations and underwhelm us once more. However, we aren’t taking any risks and are taking preparation for a LEJOG in extreme heat very seriously. Our recent endeavours include a whopping 130 miles over a sunny weekend in the New Forest. Not only did we complete our course each day in record time for afternoon sunbathing and rehydration rosé (Ford Farm comes highly recommended as a training camp in terms of the quality of food, drink and company, provided you like dogs, horses and bikes in equal measure), we also perfected our puncture repair technique with the – quite frankly miraculous – co2 canister method. Well, Abbie did. Sal took on a much more crucial task and captured the moment on Instagram. We also discovered that, whilst airplane mode is great for saving battery for the aforementioned ‘gramming, it is not so helpful for realising that Abbie is stranded two miles behind you with a puncture. Great, however, for cementing our respective roles as Head of Route and Brand Management (Sal) and Chief of Puncture and Mechanical Repair (Abs). Snappy. We’re still arguing over DJ.
There is a not so insubstantial hurdle Abbie has to get through before her sights move firmly to the Lands End starting point. This Sunday she will be participating in the iconic Ride 100 London to Surrey. Along with 20,000 other cyclists, she will take on the 100 mile route past London’s landmarks before venturing into Surrey for some of the most iconic climbs in the UK. Shout out to James who was graciously tricked into tackling (and conquering) the worst of the climbs, Leith Hill, with Abbie on his first proper venture out on his bike last Saturday. If you are in London or Surrey on Sunday 29th July and happen to be near the route, look out for Abbie and cheer her on – you can track her progress on the Ride 100 app. Sally completed the Ride 100 last year and can’t emphasise enough the difference the crowds make.
With a just a quick 97 miler the week after for us both in the Surrey Gran Fondo, a LEJOG theme tune playlist in the making (suggestions welcome) and a mini speaker purchased, there isn’t much more we can do. LEJOG, we think we might be ready for you.
Finally, we continue to do all of this madness in loving memory of our best friend Fiona who would be delighting in the trials and tribulations of LEJOG prep. We’re so pleased to say that through the hard work of her family the memorial fund in her name is very close to being fully established and we will share details of it on here very soon for those still keen to get involved.
Lots of love
Sal and Abs xxx
p.s. Bored of cycling? We don’t blame you. Follow our amazing friends doing the Three Peaks challenge in less than two weeks’ time. An epic challenge all in the name of Fiona and beating cancer @vmathews @vicki_smith 87 @anderson_jonathan_