I wonder if the auld boys round these parts have noticed yet: that there’s a new kid on the block. I said a few weeks back that before I finally give up on fitness, I want to collect as many Strava records as I can: well now that I’ve started my descent back to planet earth in terms of miles spent on the bike, I’m going to put all that work to good use by hoovering up all the zimmerframe records within ten miles of HQ.
I wish there was a dashboard that gave you a summary of where you are on all of the leaderboards because I simply cannae be arsed going through every segment to see what I’m missing but at a random guess, I reckon I’ve currently got the fastest time for over 65’s on about 30 segments. Yet there are others where I’m as low as number five, predominantly because I haven’t gone back there yet with a real focus: but don’t you worry, I will.
I got a bit carried away one day this week, I think it might have been Tuesday, and in the process of trying to nail a crinkle record, managed to bag the King Of The Mountains at the same time. Let me say straight off that that wasn’t meant to happen. KOM’s are the private domain of the lycra boys and I don’t think they like it when a pensioner comes along and barges them off the top of the leaderboard. But hey, that’s precisely what happened on the newly resurfaced, rather tactfully named “rough, rough road, probably better suited to dogging than cycling”.
That KOM goes with another that I still hold coming up the hill out of KIlmaurs. I’ve held that one for nigh on two years which is a bit of a shockeroony that it’s lasted so long. Sixty seconds v clickety click is quite some difference so long may that one continue to challenge the young ones. On top of that, there are a few more where I need maybe ten seconds, but ten seconds at 25mph is difficult to find. The trick is to play a strategic game and wait for a day with a tail wind.
Anyway 43,000 miles happened today. Long gone are the days when those milestones were celebrated with cake. I worked in a office full of cake scoffers back then, whereas these days it’s just me and Dennis and he’s not too fussed with malt loaf or fruit cake.
So I said I was on the wind-down. That’s true. I plan to try and hit the start line of the Ride 2 Cure in Brisbane on 44,444 miles. Today, just seven weeks before Jane and I jet off to the southern hemisphere (where we’re going on holiday first), I’m sitting on 43,013. The difference is 1431 and if I knock off about five days that I know are already booked to do non-bikeable stuff, the asking rate is 32 a day and if you’ll excuse my French, that’s a proverbial piece o’ piss. I’ve already done 160 30+ mile days this year (as opposed to less than half that this time last year) so another forty or fifty’s no big deal.
In many ways, I’m really, really looking forward to the post LCFN era. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been a blast but five winters is really enough and after the last one, even though I’m claiming the moral victory, I don’t feel the need to put my tired body through that anymore. The record books show that I’ve averaged 36 miles a day on the 1192 days that I’ve cycled since August 2013: that’s 36 on two out of every three days, and you can whack Ben Nevis on top of that three day cycle too, such is the unrelenting terrain round these parts.
On the domestic LCFN front, Friday is looming large: Vanessa’s funeral. I’m planning on heading out the door at 5:30am on a 40 mile adventure that will provide plenty of opportunity to suffer pain whilst remembering the beautiful spirit of the Queen of LCFN. Five days away from that outing, I still don’t know whether it’s going to be a solo gig but be in no doubt that it’s happening, and the route will be poignant.
And so to matters Australian…
Whereas in the old days, LCFN used to dominate my every thought because I was out there for 20 miles every twelve hours, Monday to Friday, right now my thoughts are 100% dominated by Australia:
Will my bike get there in one piece?
Will it get there at all?
What if it doesn’t?
Will the Hammerhead Karoo work like it says on the tin in the middle of nowhere?
Will the gears behave for 2222km (right now, they’re not, but I can manage until the pre-gig service)?
Will people come out in their droves and donate like crazy?
Will I manage to stay injury free whilst doubling the workload?
Will I get knocked off the bike by a kangaroo?
Will I get bitten by something nasty?
These are all the daft things going round in my head. Call it nerves, call it trepidation: for such a long time, Australia was all about the excitement of going: now it’s all about not letting loads of people down.
The website’s live: ride2cure.org.au
We’re recruiting ambassadors: people who have a significant following on social media and who passionately believe in what this gig is all about. That target of $111,000 looms large over my head: what if we only manage $10K? Won’t that seem like a massive let down? Perish the thought and banish such ideas from the brain. Just believe (I tell myself) that this is all going to be okay and that #R2C18 is going to be the start of something: big.
I’ve already said that LCFN will finish when I arrive at Seymour College in Adelaide. But there’s a significant part of me that thinks, just like I thought back at 25K miles in July 2016, that I can’t just walk away from these kids like that.
So I’m not.
Introducing #Ride2Cure #TheNextGeneration…
I haven’t spoken to Solving Kids Cancer yet so apologies if I’m jumping the gun in the UK but here’s my idea: building on the theme of the number 2 that’s underpinning R2C, I’m challenging Solving Kids Cancer in the UK and Neuroblastoma Australia to partner with fitness gym brands. Sign up hundreds of gyms whose challenge it will be to market #R2C #TNG. I’m thinking about punters signing up to ride 22km on a fitness bike for £2/$2 a month in order to get their name on the leaderboard on a global website: as many 22km rides as you want to cram in: it’s still only cost you £2 or $2: a great marketing opportunity for the gyms who hey, will only be required to donate £22/$22 a month for the privilege of promoting the gig (and that’s tax deductible anyway). That’s money all going into research for a cure.
I refuse to believe that #R2C #TNG won’t fly, in the same way that I refused to believe that LCFN would crash and burn. But it needs Solving Kids Cancer and Neuroblastoma Australia to go out there and sell it to the fitness industry. Me? I think it’s a winner, but then I always think that way.
It’s only seven weeks now until Jane and I board the plane. I’m nervous. I try even harder than ever not to crash the bike lest it blows the whole project up in the air. But I’m also a risk taker and I really am trying to smash Strava whilst trying to stay upright.
Less than fifty training days left. I can hardly believe it. I can hardly wait.
I might be 65 and a bit doddery at times but hey, I’m the King of the Zimmers.