3. How I got into long distance cycling

So, I have always fancied myself as a bit, (only a bit, mind) fitter than your average whatever-age-I-am-at-the-time cyclist, I have always pushed myself a little, but sooner or later you just become happy with who you are, no need to go chasing these small improvements. The Transcontinental Race is what my sights are on now. That is something worth chasing.

That’s a bit of a lie, since I’ll always push myself a little, rather than take it easy and just truly enjoy the ride; especially on the commute – that nearly always gets done as quickly as possible. Anyway, I have learned that there is much more to cycling than getting where you’re going to as fast as you can.

Lately I got to thinking: “How far can I ride?”, I began to wonder about this.

It was November in 2016, so just over a year ago at the time of writing this when I got bitten by the ultra-distance cycling bug, after stumbling across a post on a cycling forum called CycleChat, that I have used a lot over the years. One post, entitled: TCR Blog – worth a read! caught my attention. Following the link to the blog, I ended up immersed in the experiences of Darren Franks, the author of the blog, and his account of riding one of the worlds toughest ultra-distance races, the Transcontinental Race, or the TCR, for short.

Darren has a very creative and engaging writing style, so it is a bit of a gamble that I reference him here at all, let alone link to his blog. Its quite possible that you’ll head off over there and read something much more interesting, entertaining, witty and engaging! In any case, I owe it to him really, I think Darren was the one to light the spark of belief in myself, the belief that I could achieve something big, or even just something bigger.

Others have taken that spark and turned it into a small, flickering flame; people like Jasmijn Muller, Chris Herbert, Harry Bunnel, Chris White, Laura Scott, and others. All of these people will get a mention in due course. Some of them might be really surprised how much they can motivate with just a few friendly words.

I also have to thank all of the guys on CycleChat, in a thread I posted, entitled: Long distance – how old is too old?

The next step for me was to start upping my game by reprogramming what was possible for me mentally, proving myself physically, and kitting out my bike for longer distances. 100km had always been a reasonably large ride for me. 175km was the largest ever (Strava log). Time to reimagine what can be accomplished.

I have started on kitting the bike out and trying to buy quality stuff that will serve me well in the TCR. Maybe I’ll post a kit list / wish list (a kishlist, if you like), I can tick things off as I get them.

The next entry will discuss going out in horrid weather, and why we do that.

4 thoughts on “3. How I got into long distance cycling

  1. Thank you for the generous words Nick. I can’t tell you how happy I am when I read that my misadventures have encouraged others. I look forward to following/chasing your dot in a future TCR.

    1. You are very welcome, Darren. You are a big inspiration to me and your blog is nothing short of a pleasure to read. Thanks for the comment, maybe we’ll meet on the road somewhere, someday.

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