An Ordinary Bloke Vs. An Extraordinary Challenge: Two Days To Go! - Pedal Progression


26 July 2018

An Ordinary Bloke Vs. An Extraordinary Challenge: Two Days To Go!

We’ve had loads of stone to hump this week. I just said to Matt on Sunday, ‘I know I probably shouldn’t  but I really want to help shift the stone, I reckon I can do a couple of hours Tuesday and Wednesday’,  his reply.. ‘Mate, you need to rest, you’ve got no idea what’s coming’

This kinda sums up my head space about the event right now. I have trained, I have talked to loads of people and taken the best advice I could find. I have tried to follow the advice and training plans as best possible. But really, I have no idea what it’s going to feel like OR how I am going to react. I flit between feeling confident and ready to completely naive and nervous all the time. I know it’s only a bike race but I intend to give it everything I’ve got and I really want to achieve the goal I set out to, which is to ride for 24 hours with no sleep and so it’s going to be hard. It reminds me of studying really hard for an exam, that feeling the night before when all you want to do is write everything down that you know but just needing to trust that the information is in there and it will come out when you need it! I have to trust that all the training and prep is going to work as it is supposed to.

Amongst my rising panic here’s some other things I have been focusing on in the last couple of weeks running up to the event:

Training: I have been doing a few local rides at a relaxed pace to keep me moving everyday, doing a few rides with the kids and commuting. Other than that I have kept it pretty chilled – I have done one slightly longer ride of about 4 and half hours to get comfortable on my new bike. I am continuing with my strength and stretch routine, but just doing it at a lower intensity with less reps of the circuits. I had my final BIG weekend of riding a few weeks back when I did Bikefest on Saturday 30th June and the Minehead Scott marathon 1st July – It went alright, learnt a bit more about prep, pits and nutrition (apparently cider is not as good as recovery shake) but was generally pleased.

Making a list, checking and checking again: Clothing, food, bottles, tools, there is lots to remember and get together. I have had help from Matt, and Paul with my prep list and in theory I have everything I need…however I bet there will be something. Fingers crossed. I have also been making a pit strategy list and instructions for my crew.

Channelling my nervous energy into trying to make my bike light: It wasn’t in the plan to get a bike specifically for the race, but well….the more I thought about it, talked about it with experienced riders the more I realised it made sense to. They say it’s the rider not the bike and I agree with that. You can have fun on pretty much anything with two wheels. But I have found increasingly that I am plugging away on my fullsus trail bike, which I love, amongst carbon hard tails wondering if I might be either going faster or finding it a bit easier if I was on something different. The more I have thought about it the more I decided I wanted to give my self the best possible chance and that meant riding a lighter bike more suited to what I was trying to achieve. So here it is, It’s fast and super fun to ride and has a few race wins under it’s belt already (although not with me on board ;-))

Focusing on diet and sleep:  Definitely my two weakest elements when it comes to prep but for the last 2 weeks I have been getting plenty of sleep, at least 8 hours every night, eating well and keeping really well hydrated, which can be really hard in this weather. The weather is looking warm for the race so lots and lots of fluid needed in the 3-4 days leading up to it.

Regardless of what happens this weekend there are a few really positive outcomes I can already be assured of:

I am fitter and faster on a bike than I was 8 months ago, this has given me more energy to ride more often. Riding is fun = BIG WINNER!. I have spent more time riding in the last 8 months than I have since I was in my teens! If nothing else, this has been super fun and having a goal has got me out of bed in the morning, got me on the trails in the evening and given me the extra push to organise myself around riding lots. It’s not always been easy but it has definitely been worth it.

I have entered some great events and got a real buzz from being a part of these. The start line nerves, pitting myself against the clock …again not something I have really focused since I was much younger. It has been fun and rewarding, added a new dimension to my riding and is definitely something I will continue to do and enjoy. I have ridden loads of new trails, found new routes, seen loads of beautiful views and generally explored more on my bike.

Met some great people, who have been kind enough to to support me on my ‘quest’ for success! I feel like it will be their support and positive words that will push me forward and motivate me to keep going. When I have the nagging doubts in the early hours of the morning, I feel confident it will be their encouraging words which will bubble to the top of my thoughts. Not to mention the generous loans of kit and time giving advice.

I have learnt loads about fitting my goals around family life, involving my kids, making sure (for the most part) I don’t make my wife’s life any harder! During weeks of rest and lower levels of training, I have been way more active with the kids, and done loads more riding with them. It’s been such a great way to, a) give my wife some time on her own and space to do things she enjoys and b) get out with the kids. I think people will often assume that because of my job I will inevitably always find time to do this. But that’s not always the case, It’s just as hard for me to find the energy and time to spend quality time out doors with my family as it is for anybody else.

And, to be honest, there are loads more little ones that I can’t think of right now but really the list is endless, it’s been such a positive experience.

So it’s time to get on with it! Final blog coming with the post event debrief once I have recovered.

And finally….. People kept asking me who I am collecting sponsorship money for….and to be honest this started as a personal challenge, a tick off my bucket list and a curiosity project – to see what I can do. It’s a bit late in the day but… there are projects that I would like to run that need financial support to do in a sustainable way and maybe this is a great opportunity to make a start. Here’s my fundraiser, it’s what I’m passionate about and would love to spread the love x Happy to take questions if you anyone has any or would like to offer support and or advice!


Written by:

Ollie Cain