Wednesday, 3 September 2014

The Road to Transylvania 2014 pt. 4 - The Final Training Post

Today is our fourth post from Paul Stevens, a long-time Yes to Life supporter who is about to take on a mammoth cycle adventure to Transylvania, raising over £2000 for Yes to Life! Thanks Paul for your incredible effort and wishing you the very best of luck.

This year’s ride really started in Piccadilly in January, at a meeting between me and Robin Daly of Yes to Life. Having completed BIKEast, it was time to put in place BIKEast II. We planned and schemed and eventually, Robin left the whole thing in my hands. (Thanks Robin!!!) 

It was decided to make this years ride a ‘one-off’, allowing all of the trusty bikers to talk en-route about what we would like to do from 2015 onwards. (Watch this space!)
So back to today and the fact that I have spent all year waiting for something to arrive in my diary, knowing that when I get there I will have planned, considered and organised to the point where everything will fall into place. Having said that it really doesn’t seem to matter how much training I do, I’m just never sure it’s ever going to be enough! I certainly haven’t lost any weight, which doesn’t auger well for the mountain climbs.

I have been in training for 5 months, trying to cycle to work and back two or three times a week and getting out with friends on a Sunday morning. My times have improved, as has my heart rate, all calculated with precision on every ride thanks to the purchase of a whizzy computer (bought with the help of my very kind aunty). It tracks speed, moving time, top speed, hills climbed, heart rate, pedal cadence and a whole lot more and has been my friend on every trip, as it will be in Romania, ultimately providing evidence that I really was there and really did cycle every inch of the way.

According to said computer, my times have improved by between 15% to 18%. My hill climbing has certainly improved and my heart rate has dropped from a high of 170 bpm to around 140 max (I must be fitter now or maybe just comatose).

The English weather has, in the main, been fantastic for cycling this year. There has still been the occasion however when I have arrived home with shoes wetter than an otter’s pocket in serious need of a hot Bovril and a blanket. If only the weather forecast was actually reliable! Next year I’ll use a trusty pine cone, red sky at night and see if the local cows are sitting or standing before I head off!

So, with training going well and close to completion, the ‘bikebag’ has made an appearance from the loft. A large black case (as big as a desk), full of bubble wrap and foam to protect my bike on the Wizzair flight from Luton to Bucharest (and back). I’ll pack my bike in carefully and load the bag with my clothes and incidentals, so all I will have to carry on the plane will be me and my passport. Amazing what you learn over the years.

Whilst I will continue to train hard leading up to the end of August, in the week before going I will stop riding completely to have a well earned rest. The calm before the storm if you will.

The excitement I am feeling at the moment is palpable. I love it when a ride’s on the horizon. The culmination of months of preparation, perspiration, planning, determination and hard work.

My family, friends, customers and acquaintances have been amazingly supportive and generous in helping me raise some serious money for Yes to Life, which was always the aim when I sat down with Robin back in January. I now cannot wait to get on the ride and report back soon, knowing that every mile of the whole journey will be recorded for me by my trusty electronic friend and every revolution I pedal is for those less fortunate than myself.

Bring on the Carpathian mountains!!!!

Please sponsor Paul on his cycle ride for Yes to Life here.
Read part one of Paul's journey here, part two here, part three here.

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