It all started towards the end of last year. An email went round asking if anyone would like to join in a sponsored cycle from London to Paris in aid of our corporate charity, which this year happens to be Pancreatic Cancer UK. It sounded like a bit of an adventure and after the success of cycling in the Olympics I’d been looking for an excuse to jump on the Wiggo-inspired bandwagon.
I bought a new road bike in January (my hybrid wouldn’t really suit such a long slog) and started training, clocking up around 80 miles a week. Almost immediately I was hooked.
Although I’d could happily play football all day every day, I’d never really enjoyed running and could never really motivate myself to regularly get to the gym, cycling is different and has turned into a great way for me to get some extra exercise. The adrenaline rush from moving at speed along, the ever changing landscape to occupy your mind and the regular rhythm of pedaling send you into a strange trance. Time seems to hurry past.
Richmond Park is the perfect training location. A road loops around the edge of the park with a decent surface by London’s standards. Although the road is open to car traffic it is limited to 20mph and the cars seem to be fairly aware of the cyclists that flock there. A single loop of 6.8 miles takes me just over 21 minutes at a sprint – about 25 minutes at an average pace.
I will be filming the event using a GoPro we have acquired which has provided some stunning imagery of our training. It has proved to not be as indestructible as you are led to believe though. In training the arm snapped when tested against a particularly strong headwind (see below). GoPro, to their credit did replace the part though. Let’s hope it lasts to Paris.
Update: The Ride Itself