Amazingly we’ve only just realised we have to make a last minute adjustment to our route! We were planning to go via Stonehenge on the longest day forgetting that the world’s druids will also be in attendance! What a bunch of wallies we are!
Now we have the date set, 21 June, and the route more or less sorted, there is still a lot to think about. It is only 1,000miles within 24 hours so how hard can it be? On the continent its relatively easy and something I have done several times. But in the UK? The whole length from tip to toe, or toe to tip, is only around 800 miles!
So I’ve been thinking and in my usual manner broken things down into four aspects that all interact with each other which could make or break this whole trip. I would do a Venn diagram but that’s just too nerdy and geeky!
Me – I’m 52 years old. Can I do this? Have I the stamina? I reckon I have, but doesn’t everyone still think they are younger than they actually are? Recently I walked up Scafell Pike, Pen y Fan and Snowdon so I reckon I’m reasonably fit and in my own mind I’m still 30! It’s going to be tough both physically and psychologically, no doubt. I have been given advice to stop every 100 miles; alternate stops for fuel or a refresh. The bike can do at least 200 miles on one full tank so this is doable.
What happens when we are so close to finishing but we are late? We’ll be tired so riding faster than normal could be a killer.
Road conditions – Last time I went up the M6 there were a lot of roadworks reducing the average speed. This could have a disastrous affect on the time it takes – not to mention increased rider fatigue. The M5 and M6 sections I expect to be the most boring – yes, boring. They are boring roads no question. Using motorways is the only way we will achieve the 1,000 miles so an evil necessity. What about roadworks that are planned for that weekend? Checking RAC and AA websites for this so route may change again.
Weather – Its raining now. I expect the temperature to be warmer than it is now, but have to accept that nearer the time I may have to amend my expectations. Do we set off in torrential rain? What is the point? Maybe we delay by 24 hours?
Looking at the long range forecast, its set to be overcast but dry and reasonably warm of around 20degC.
Bike – the bike is ok; tyres have adequate tread to finish the ride. The oil, brake pads, suspension, chain are all good. It will need a service at the end of the ride though as the bike is on way to 30,000miles. I don’t want to carry panniers if I can help it as we may have to filter through traffic; and panniers will increase fuel consumption meaning more time consuming stops. Packing the bike with a change of clothes, some sustenance, tent, breakdown equipment is something I need to work on.
Route has changed slightly, already:
Even after all that, I’m still geared up for doing this. If someone else can do it, then why can’t I? It’ll be the Ace to Ace next!!
This is a week long ride, Saturday to the following Sunday, 9-days, with four days in one location based in the Alps for us to explore. Combining wonderful alpine scenery with those sought after roads, we spend our time exploring.