The time of reckoning is fast approaching, a day that I have looked forward to and dreaded in equal measure in an endless repeating cycle since I first that sinking sense of elation when I learned I had a start place in the 2017 edition of the Transcontinental race TCRno5. To draw a crude, hamfisted comparison, I also recently married my beautiful wife Safak, a mere couple of weeks ago we tied the knot, although I can’t (and probably shouldn’t) really compare the starting of life together with the one you love with 2 weeks of self enforced masochism, although the more jaded older readers may jest about it, the feeling in the pit of my stomach is now eerily similar. You know you want to do it, you chose to do this, you know it will enrich your life but anticipating and making those first steps sends your emotions on a rollercoaster. What makes the transcontinental a fundamentally different experience is the solo and unsupported nature of it (at least for those not taking part in a pair).
Maybe I should think of it as a test, just like those days when you waited out side the exam room at school or uni, you are pretty sure you have done enough, but you can’t shake the feeling that the soon to be revealed questions may completely flummox you and there will be noone to help you. And therein lies the challenge and the appeal, I will be essentially alone on a journey against time and tide to traverse the continent with nothing but my preparation, bike, kit and wits to rely on, (and probably credit card and a large amount of mobile internet). Should I cross the finish line in Meteroa as planned before the end of the 15th of August then I will have undertaken and completed a significant individual effort that should inform my attitude and approach to all subsequent events that life throws at me. At least outside of TCR one does not need to do that alone.
Preparation is as good as I honestly think it can be without giving up my job and all semblence of a non cycling social life. I have ushered into the world a new bike with a frame from the master himself Mark Reilly and components bodged onto said masterpiece frame courtesy of yours truly. Bondingwith the bike is complete with a naming ceremony ala ocean going liner to set ‘Eurus’ sail across the continent, so named after the greek god of the east wind, to whom I will probably curse and pray when things get emotional.
Just short of 8400km have been ridden since the beginning of the year, over 3000 of them on the Eurus. 600 of them along most of the first leg of TCRno5 itself. Countless long hours and snippets of time spent on route researching and planning, so much so that I seriously considered writing my own code to optimise my route according to my own requirements. Barely a day has gone past without some sort of time, effort or money going towards this grand venture. Getting to the start line has been its own endurance race, and my apologies to friends, family and my wife for being such a boring companion with such limited conversational range.
Now is the time to draw a big fat line under the preparation, quit talking, quit sweating the vast magnitude of the task ahead, start pedalling, and start enjoyingthe ride.
How to follow the progress:
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my Cap number is (probably, at the time of writing) 160, so my personalised hashtag should be #TCRno5cap160 for all social media.