Epic cycle ride undertaken by unfit, overweight, not middled aged lady

I visited Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos in 2002. One of the things that really struck me about the countries was the indefatigable people, the welcome extended to visitors and the simple joy taken in small pleasures. But, having visited the Museum of the American War in Ho Chi Minh City, seen the 'Danger UXB' signs in Laos and read the good news headline in a paper in Cambodia: ' Deaths from UXBs down to 3 this month. Only 40 maimed.' I was acutely aware of the toll still being taken on the population.

Over the years I have pondered the munitions still there and this year I have finally decided to get off my bottom and do something. So I have, somewhat impetuously and with little regard for my physical fitness, cycling ability or dodgy left knee decided to join the MAG cycle ride from Ho Chi Minh City to Ankor Wat. I will be doing this the first week or so in Feb 2011 and it does involve a couple of days of over 100km in 30 degree heat. Having signed up I have been told that neither a rickshaw nor an electric bikes are options and that doing the distance on my own pedals is expected.

Donation link is further down on the right - I have paid for my own flights and contributed enough to cover living expenses so all money raised from sponsorship will go to MAG.

This is my blog of my progress to get on the road and when I am there - assuming I will be capable of rational thought after a day of unaccustomed exercise.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

20kms achieved!

Trusty steed was returned on Sat after intensive surgery and it was well worth it. Riding out on Sunday was a revelation: when changing gears there was no longer a crunch, crunch then lack of any motive power for half a pedal space or so. Consequently I hit the determination button and decided to do 20kms. There was some sort of space/time continuum problem on the ride though as while I did 10kms and turned round on the way back I had only clocked 19.7 kms when I got home but a couple of turns round the block soon sorted that one and the goal of 20 was achieved. So, can now do 20% of the daily ride for once I am out there...and as I have now booked our flights (Trailfinders were fantastic) I feel I have definitely passed the point of no return.

The exercise bike has come into its own this week as I have done 5-8 miles (approx 7.5 - 12 kms in new money) every night except Tuesday. As I seem to be struggling to put on distance I thought that a few weeks of intensive, nightly training at a 5-10 mile distance might help to increase the stamina and at this point I am a bit desperate since I should be up to 30kms a ride.

Following a good talking to delivered by a lady that knows her bike stuff I have purchased some toe clip things and will be trying them out at the weekend. As a slight geek I can appreciate that they should help on the distance since you will be gaining some motive power from the upswing on the pedal as well as the down but I am not convinced they won't make me crash and burn. As a bit of a beginner with this sort of stuff I have got the ones that you are supposed to be able to slip your foot in an out of easily rather than the sort that has you nailed to the pedal but given my ability to fall over with no assistance (ie not alcohol induced) I still think that this is a dangerous idea.

My knees are a bit of a worry since they have locked up a couple of times, luckily not when I am on the bike and it is now both of them rather than just my left knee. So, I have decided that a couple of nice neoprene knee supports are in order. This has a double gain since hubby has mentioned that he would like to see me in a rubber outfit so I will be off to Boots this morning and making his dream come true later; well the knee bit of me anyhow.

Fundraising is going well with a number of generous donations over the past couple of weeks but I am fast approaching the deadline of the 19th November and have several hundred left to go. Pursuing a few ideas to boost the total and am on line to get the minimum amount although maybe not by the deadline; I feel a bit of fast talking with MAG coming on :-)

Will be out on the bike later going for over 20kms down the tow path and will let you know how I get on.


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