Diary of a ‘would be’ End to End Cyclist

I am a cyclist….

I am the slowness of breath in every turn of my pedal.

I am the calm, strong, voice in my head when every part of my being is pushed.

I am patience, when my legs and head collude and want me to stop.

I am the raging storm, shouting at the wind in pure joy as I glide ever onwards.

I am enough.

These are the words that I say to myself when I am out on the bike, struggling with a hill, feeling the cold or battling the wind.  These are the words I need to repeat as I take on this challenge. I have to remind myself how strong I can be; to find a way through the aches and the pains; to be the person, the cyclist, I need to be to get to the end.

Fundamentally I am lazy and quite frankly a wimp. given half a chance I would curl up on the sofa watching old movies and drink tea. This is why I have to push myself, why I need a challenge in the diary. Otherwise I would do nothing. Those of you that know me now would probably not believe this, but I know this to be true because I have experienced it.

It’s 2017 and I am taking on my biggest challenge to date.

To cycle from one end of the country to the other, 979 miles and nearly 57,000ft of climbing in one epic 13 day adventure. It is something that I have wanted to tackle for a few years. Quietly thinking about it at first, as I took a few tentative steps into cycle touring.

I will be writing about my experiences throughout the journey. You can follow me on my JOGLE Facebook Page on Twitter and Instagram. It will be a ‘warts’ and all account so expect a few highs and a few lows – although more of the former I hope!

My business is all about supporting women to ‘metaphorically speaking’ get out of their heads and on to their bikes: to be brave and be the leader in their own life. It is therefore important to me that I ‘walk my talk’. As I progress through my training and on to the journey itself I will be using the same tools that I use with my clients and working out how to access the resources that I know I have to hand.

Empowering - women sat on a cliff looking out over a vast forest

John O’Groats to Lands End – JOGLE

There are a couple of terms that I will use so let’s get our heads around those first.  JOGLE – simply means John O’Groats to Lands End and LEJOG is the reverse. I will be cycling from the tip of the country to the toe or if you like End to End. It’s a popular route for cyclists, walkers and a few car enthusiasts.  There is a whole community dedicated to supporting people like me who want to travel the route. Take a look at the Lands End to John O’Groats Association. It supports us all.

My route will take me through Scotland and then down into the Lake District before heading into Liverpool. I skirt through Wales, following a line with the English boarder before crossing over the Seven Bridge. The last few days will take me through Somerset, Devon and into Cornwall, going through the centre of Dartmoor on the last leg to the finish line.

Initially I asked some cycling friends if they would like to join me. They were interested but ultimately no one was quite able to make time for the challenge, although some of them would have loved to do it. Time and commitment to such a big adventure is not easy to square away. Therefore solo it would be. Not only solo but for at least the first 10 days I will be unsupported. Logistically this was the only way my husband and I could work it. School and family life will just carry on without me for a few weeks.

It’s not just about the journey, although I would do it regardless. I also decided to raise funds for Sue Ryder and specifically Leckhampton Court Hospice, home to the only inpatient unit giving specialist hospice care in Gloucestershire. I will be promoting this throughout my journey.  Funds and awareness are equal in my view. They do such amazing work. I have seen first hand how they support patients and families. I have friends who have spent their last days there and I have good friends who work there. They really care. The work they do is essential and the incredible support they give is vital.  Their tag line #TeamIncredible really does say it all.

If you can spare a few pounds then please donate to my just giving page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Nicky-Harverson1

Or you can text a donation to : 70070 quoting NHJL47 £5

What happens next?

There is so much to plan for and then there is the training and the added pressure I put on myself under trying to raise money for Sue Ryder.  It is exhausting just thinking about it.

I started planning in October 2016. Following a day listening to some of the worlds most incredible female adventurers at the Women’s Adventure EXPO held @Bristol. I arrived home FULL of ideas and ready to get going. My training was both the first and last thing on my mind. It was easy to think about training as it’s what I know but equally without knowing what I was letting myself in for I didn’t really have a clue where to start. I settled for putting in some winter base mileage and to get the turbo trainer set up.

With a basic plan for training sorted I was then free to think about routes and logistics.  I can not tell you how many hours I have poured over maps with my husband. Getting that little red line to go exactly where you want it to go, without it auto correcting or double backing on itself has been infuriating. Anyone who has tried to use the automated tools for mapping cycle routes will know what I have experienced. I once had a double loop that took me in circles and I had no idea which way to un-pick it. In the end it was easier to start over again. The last thing I need is a route map that adds needless miles to my journey.

AA road map and colouring pens

The mapping took a few weeks to really nail down. Working through the stops for breaks and lunches alongside finding suitable places to book my accommodation. Being a solo adventurer and wanting to pack light I needed to make sure I had the ability to wash my shorts every other night and to feel safe.

Safe is a word I have thought about a lot. At the end of the day I am a Mum to two mighty girls. Not my 20 year old self who took of to India with a passport, a backpack and the lonely planet guide! Now I haven’t booked 5* luxury, that would be a step too far, not to mention a waste. Hostels and AirBnB’s will do nicely. Having a comfortable place to lay my head and a secure location to store my bike will make my trip more manageable.

There are still so many things to mention, but I hope this has given you a taste of what I am embarking on. Come back and catchup as I get closer to the trip.

 

Hugs Nic xx