0008: Training...or not...

It would make sense to get a little fitter before beginning an epic ride like the one I am about to begin.
My little countdown clock now says 92 days, 17 hours and 2 minutes, before I take off from Manchester Airport.

In the mean time, I should be making more of an effort to get a little fitter and build up my stamina and endurance.
I already cycle to work every day, and bar a handful of days of rest, illness, or general laziness, I have ridden every day since I returned to Leeds in June 2012.

I commute around 65 miles a week, so have a good basic level of fitness.
This is a good foundation, but I will need to ride this as a minimum EVERY DAY, if I want to complete the Dalton highway on Schedule.
I need to hit the ground running (pedalling?!) when I arrive. As there will be no turning back.

So, I borrowed a Turbo trainer from my brother and fitted this to the bike. Along with a special tyre to minimise the noise, I have used it twice so far!
It's as boring as hell frankly.
The weather is too cold and wet to train outside. Too grey and miserable to actually cycle anywhere.
And too noisy and unfair on my housemate to train inside.
I have a Garage, but its very dark, and I dont want to spend the money on proper lights. ( though might buy some candles.) And sitting in there for an hour at a time, in the gloom is not exactly appealing.
I think I will have to man up and do it though.
Even for a short time.

I have a plan however, to get me up to speed, quickly and in a way that will be far more enjoyable.
I'll do a tour.
Yes, the reason you are reading this blog is because I am doing a tour.
However, this will be a second one!
Well, a pretour, tour.
A training/testride/trial/validation tour before the big tour.
I've actually never ridden the Bike fully loaded. So I will take a test ride weekend up to the Yorkshire dales at the beginning of March to get a feel for how the bike handles.
That will be a 80 mile round trip up to a campsite near Grassington to make sure everything fits and works.
Then mid April, I will cycle from Leeds to Hull.
Jump on an overnight ferry to Zeebrugge then pick my way through Belgium, following mainly dedicated cycle routes and calling in on a friend in Brussels.

Then Germany following Eurovelo 15 along the Rhine cycle path
Rhine cycle route

Though I am only riding from midway at Bonn (or maybe Cologne) as far as Basel.
Then from Basel to Chiasso following the bottom part of Eurovelo 5 or the Swiss north-south route, over the Alps into Italy.

After 18-20 days, I hope to arrive in Pisa Italy and stay at a friends house for a few nights.
I have booked a flight back on 10th of May, so I do have a time limit, but it should be plenty of time to complete this ride.

By then the countdown timer will say 11 days.......