I now have three weeks to go until I board that train from Glasgow to Penzance ready to start the journey back up the country.
Back in January I was living in London and hadn’t even thought about the real possibility of not living in London when the time came. I mean, I’d wanted to leave London back then but I hadn’t had any luck with finding jobs elsewhere so I didn’t ever think it would happen. Thankfully I had upped sticks and moved to Glasgow before the train tickets were available for the 5th September so I haven’t had to worry about cancelling train tickets.
Most of my poor attempt at training has happened back in London, Surrey and Kent and, I’ll be brutally honest, could’ve been made a lot harder if I’d really tried harder. Of course, life does tend to get in the way and from March it was frequently interrupted by work trips to Glasgow lasting one or two weeks. I quickly realised how much your fitness level falls when you abandon exercise for a week at a time and it’s so much harder to motivate yourself to continue and get back on the bike again when you know you’re back to step 15 when you should be on step 20 by now.
It’s not all been demoralising though. Last week (with 4 weeks to go) I tested out my planned route from Glasgow to Fort William and thankfully it was one of the best days I’ve ever had on my bike. Legs felt strong even at the end, weather held out, all but 3 interactions with other vehicles were positive and there’s a cycle path going along most of Loch Lomond. The West Loch Lomond cyclepath is rideable by road bike, if a bit of a bone shaker in the odd place. It takes you along the old road right by the Loch’s edge in some places which is a bizarre thing to behold. The road lines are still there but the edge are being slowly taken back by the trees, soil and moss. I’ll definitely make sure I film this on the real trip.
Now I’m settled into my new place in Glasgow I’ve joined a local gym to partly avoid the unusually high level of rain we’re currently experiencing in Scotland, and partly to attempt a much higher intensity of focussed training. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed going out on the road and it’s invaluable for overall training quality but the route and the road surface quality (bone shaking surface with impressive gaps in the road smaller versions of which are known as pot holes) is an extra stress I don’t need at the moment. So I’m doing 2 spin classes a week and weight sessions 3 or 4 times a week on top of weekend cycles.
I’m trying not to let the worry of not having done enough training crush any confidence I’ve built up. These trips/challenges/experiences (pick your own version) have to be worked into general life plans for the majority of people who choose to undertake them and life does inevitably get in the way. It would have been unrealistic to hope to do this intensity every week for the last 8 months. I can only do what I can with the time and energy I have and I’ve got to remember that it’s about the journey and not the destination. Though, of course, I’m looking forward to seeing my parents at the John O’Groats sign on the 19th September.