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.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Serious Training but have you seen the Weather?

The last two weeks have been a bit of a write off training wise as going out, drinking and eating seemed to have taken over my training time. Although I have not been a complete sybarite and managed to get in several sessions on the exercise bike; but had a horrible moment on Christmas Eve where I discovered it was only a month and a few days before I was actually expected to do the challenge....so, this week I have decided that I must do at least 20 miles per day for the week off to build up the endurance levels on my muscles.

Started the regime the day after Boxing Day, but, after falling asleep on the way back from Southend to the dulcet strains of Metallica ( stepson likes them) blasting from the stereo I realised I might be a tad tired and let myself off with only 14 miles. Yesterday did the 20 and fully intend to do the same today. Still being a bit wimpy about the weather (the snow may have finally mostly melted on the pavements and roads but the fields are still covered) and keeping to the exercise bike until tomorrow. This has good and bad points:
  1. Riding the exercise bike is more concentrated than the real bike because I don't get to free wheel and other stuff plus the gearing is better. Hopefully this means I am building up muscle and stamina more quickly and I know I can go further on the real bike with less pain.
  2. The exercise bike entails me being at home and the padding on my cycling trous has bunched up a bit which is putting a bit of a strain on my marriage (how could any woman resist wandering around the house saying 'LOOK! I have a bigger lunchbox than Linford Christie'?)
  3. There is better scenery when I am on the real bike as I tend to have the telly on while pounding away on the exercise bike. Choice is a bit limited when you are spending a few hours peddling and think that I have now reached the nadir of televisual selection as I ended up watching the Beatrix Potter film last night and enjoying it.
  4. There is far less chance of me falling over and breaking my coccyx though with my high clumsiness quotient this should still be considered a factor even within the house.

All should not be doom and gloom as I am feeling reasonably confident that I am getting there. I know that I could do a 40 mile day and I might just about manage the same the following day.... it would be the day after that I think I would need to spend in an oxygen tent with nice young men peeling my grapes for me. So, while I am not following the regime that they recommend (I should be going further but less frequently) I think that I am doing the right thing for me as it will be the repeat exercise day after day that is going to be my problem (I am tacitly ignoring the heat and humidity). There is also the day of nearly 70 miles that is going to be a real challenge but the project manager in me is setting my milestone target at a regular 40 and will then focus on the end goal of the 70 miler :-)

Busy organising the party for the 15th Jan which will hopefully raise funds for the ride plus celebrate me being halfway towards four score years and ten (a score added on for better meds and diet than a couple of thousand years ago). Other than that I think Jan will be lacking in sociability since I must concentrate on pedals and pedaling.


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