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Day 1 – Seattle to Port Angeles (141.1km)

It all started so well. Bike built, GPS working, clear roads, sun. 7:30 to ride 101 miles. Easy.

Pft I thought at the 9hrs 30min predicted Google maps ride time, but darn you big G, you always know don’t you. Big G knew that the ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge only goes once an hour, big G also knew I would miss the ferry by 2 minutes!

Still, the upside to that meant I could get changed, so I look like a cyclist, and also hit my first fast food establishment of the trip. Footlong Subway, check!

Off the ferry and on to the wooded roads of North America. It turns out Google has quite the sens of humour, so I literally mean wooded roads, Big G sent me down this lovely piece of tarmac for 4km,only to re join the road I had previously left:

It was pretty epic though and the day in general brought some spectacular scenery, which I captured very badly, so will spare you all!

After a false finish, where Google once again smashed it out the park and took me to the wrong side of town and 9 miles from my motel, I have successfully concluded my day. The motel is everything I could have hoped for. Its so bad I’m not eating tonight, I can’t risk leaving my bike locked in the room!

Landed

I have to say, the Gatwick/Norwegian Air combo really wasn’t that bad at all. In fact, it was pretty excellent. I couldn’t have asked for a better start to the trip, a lift from Babs, no queue at check in, a white lie about whether I’d deflated my tyres, priority customs, 30 minutes in the lounge, priority boarding, a new(ish) plane, a comfy seat, average food, happy air stewards and a prompt arrival.

I decided to ride straight out of the airport, so a coffee shop and getting changed will have to wait. Managed to put the bike back together, and it seems ok. Success!

So far, with 0 miles ridden, all is OK on the world. Bike seems to be in working order, my luggage fits on it, the sun is high in the sky and I’ve got a fair few hours of sunlight left to make it to the motel.

Let the race adventure begin….

Here I go

Bike in bits, safely packaged and on the plane, I think.

Esta valid, I hope.

Proof I’m not immigrating, for sure!

First hotel booked, correct night, yes. Second time lucky though!

Ready for whatever lies ahead, absolutely no idea!

So what am I actually doing?

A few, well two, people have asked me what the ride I’ve become slowly obsessed with actually is! I’ll attempt to explain.

I’m not a traveller, adventurer, sun or thrill seeker. I do get bored though and I like a bit of a challenge. Well, a plastic challenge! I like the idea of a physical test, but not a mental and logistical nightmare, with lots of variables to consider. PCH gives me everything I need. Great scenery, an end point, civilisation, English, the acceptance of credit cards, a plethora of on route bike shops and probably most importantly, Uber, if it all goes wrong!

So, how hard is this challenge I hear you not shouting loudly from the rafters? Let’s compare:

Tour de France 2018 PCH (My Outline Route)
Distance 3349 KM/2080.97 2 Miles 2935.33 KM/1823.9301 Miles
Number of Stages/Days 21 21
Rest Days 2 0
Distance per day 145.61 KM 139.78 KM

A couple of caveats! My route above was drawn in 10 minutes using google maps pedometer, it is unfortunately, a best case scenario, as it does not consider any sections of PCH to be closed. This is not the case, various sections are closed due to land slides and general wear so I’ll be going further depending on the diversions.

I also haven’t included a climbing comparison, mainly because I haven’t had time to work it out. It will come, no doubt when I’m bored in a coffee shop and feeling particularly sorry for myself after attempting a particularly ‘David planned’ accidental Alpian day!

Finally, Le Tour is a race and this isn’t! Clearly for those that know me, it is actually a race ;), but, as many have been at pains to remind me, it is actually a voyage, which should be fun and eventful, not a relentless ride against the clock. We’ll see. It may not be a race, but I’m playing by Triathlon Rules, no drafting. Oh and I’m also carrying my kit.

The Route:

My rough route is laid out below:

Route

I guess another benefit of this adventure is the difficulty of getting lost. Ocean to my right and all is A OK!

Ride London 100

10 days to go, I have no idea whether I’m ready, at least I know I can ride 100 miles in one day.

Today was Ride London 100 (miles). It was great fun, well fun in parts! It rained from start to finish, was generally pretty miserable, but it was a fantastic experience. A true privilege to ride through the streets of London without any cars. Surreal.

Could have gone faster, but had some mechanical issues, really need to get the steed serviced. Great to clock a time under 4:30. My daily goal for the PCH is 6 hours, so at least I know I’m not setting an impossible target.

Legs feel fine, I may even ride in to work tomorrow 😉

17 Days to go!

With 17 days left until I get on a plane, its beginning to dawn on me that I may have under trained and completely under prepared!

This morning started with a quick trip to work to pick up my bike, a swift 12km ride home, a very rushed half breakfast and a a dash to meet the SD riders for the Sunday spin. 8 strong, we comfortably managed the 75KM or so of fairly flat terrain to Ripley and back, the ride however, was not without revelation. As is too often the case, it was observed by my fellow riders that I may have let my bike drift from ‘optimum’ condition. Apparently, when a bike gets stuck in one gear, constantly skips and has a front tyre that can’t keep more than 70 psi, it needs a service! Riding with the club mechanic has left me with a list of urgent orders: 2 x new tyres, a rear cassette, new chain and potentially (but hopefully not) a new big ring. Great.

Still, the ride felt good and the coffee after was even better!

On to the trip. Having to buy all the above got me thinking about what else I haven’t yet procured and in fact, whether what I have even fits in my chosen bike bags. I’ve got a total of 17.5 litres, so probably worth checking! Below is my first attempt at a bare bones pack:

The good news is it all comfortably fits, the bad news is that there are so many things missing I can’t bring myself to write them down…. Lots to order, I’ll have to try again next weekend once it all arrives!

I’ve also had to start thinking about day one, I land in Seattle at 11:45, so by my optimisitc recconing, I should be out of the airport by 13:00. The sun sets in Seattle at 20:33, so I’ve decided to remove my arrival/rest afternoon and go straight for a 100 mile day. How hard can it be after a 10 hour flight?

So here it is, my first day in the saddle: Day 1

(101 miles, a ferry, 4,360 ft ascending and 4,675 ft descending) According to Google it is going to take 9hrs 21 minutes, so I guess I need to find two hours somewhere or I’ll be riding in the dark. Winner.

 

 

It’s all coming a little too soon!

This is really just a test to see whether I can ‘publish’ something on this blog!

With just under 4 weeks to go until I depart and with a surprising level of interest, mainly from sceptical friends who seem to think I’m making the whole thing up, I thought it would be a good idea to make sure the blog worked. So if anyone apart from my loving parents (and girlfriend) does actually want to check in and see what I’m up to, they can!

As a further FYI, training has had its ups and downs up to this point. I managed to complete the property Cycle to MIPIM (1500KM in 6 days), but then managed to get a DVT whilst in HK with work! 10 days or so stuck in Asia (not exactly terrible), but I have been back in the UK putting in varying levels of training ever since.

The litmus test for my fitness will be the Ride London 100 on Sunday 29th July, check back here for an update if you’re interested.

Catch me here on twitter @societea or here for Strava, because if its not on there, it didn’t happen!

(Photo below is a test too, I know I have a glove in my mouth!)

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David’s cycle down the American Pacific Coast

Today is the first day of planning for my cycle trip down the American Pacific Coast.

Where to start. A discussion occurred at work just before Christmas of 2016, my boss and fearless leader, had told a few of us that he was reaching his 10 year anniversary at work in the coming summer and that he was eligible for a 4 week sabbatical. Now my colleagues and I were obviously interested in the plans our boss was hatching, however we quickly got distracted with thoughts of what we would do. I was particularly absorbed with the topic, because being 8.5 years in, I didn’t have long to go either.

Fast forward a week and I found myself panic buying presents in the nearest big shop to my office, Selfridges. Not a cheap expedition as I rushed through the various departments, finally making my way to the top floor and desperately seeking inspiration! The top floor it turns out, was toys and books, toys I had no need for and books I have an obligation to buy through my mother (she works in the local book shop I have known all my life), but as I was about to turn on my heals and retreat down the escalators, out of the corner of my eye a book jumped out at me. Figuratively, not literally of course!

It was the Lonely Planet ‘Epic Bike Rides of the World’, something about this book made me temporarily forget my allegiance to the local book shop of my childhood and my mother’s family discount, and I bought it on the spot. I didn’t want to risk forgetting about it and something told me that this could be the inspiration for my 4 week trip in the not to distant future.

8 months passed and the book was beginning to gather dust on my book shelf, that was until last weekend, when, hung over and feeling suitably depressed, I thought it was time to consider what I should be do with my now confirmed sabbatical, sometime between June and December 2018.