First things first, I´ve been losing weight. Over the last 18 months or so I´ve dropped close to 1½ stone, with a more notable effort over recent months as I have upped the training schedule. Quite a bit of leg work since Christmas, and now the upper body to ensure I can just keep on lifting that bike! Also a bit of cardio and core work thrown in. Seems to be having an effect, and certainly my waistline has receded notably. I am, for example, having to dig around the back of the wardrobe for 10 year old togs, so I don´t end up with me draws around me ankles while out for a stroll...
It was quite a shock to discover just how out of shape I had become. I can´t say I had given the matter a whole lot of thought, but despite the hard work early on, and a very slow build up on the exercise front, I feel that I´ve broken through the pain barrier and now starting to feel the benefit. Nice! Mrs Pat also appears content with the fact that I can now see my knees without having to sit down!
During my previous distance bike trips I have put on weight, as I enjoyed eating out each day and failed to compensate for long days in the saddle through, as a minimum, long walks. But that was in Europe. This trip across the Americas will also have some long technically easy riding days for sure, so I´ll need to do a bit of cardio work from time to time when needed. But this trip will also include challenging riding representing a much greater overall physical and mental test. The need to keep costs down over such a long period will result in me having to cook more – so much easier to watch the calorie intake. Taking Idris around the Americas is going to give me quite a workout overall – so I´m hopeful that I shall return in even better shape. I´m up for it and, more importantly, I feel up for it!
But what happens if things go wrong? There is no doubting this trip at times will test my skills and endurance to the limit, but what happens if a situation arises and that limit is not enough. Important then to be able to fall back on the best insurance cover you can get, so I´ve signed up for £10 million of medical cover. I think I´m worth every penny. Mrs Pat is not so sure, but she had been signing me up to go and see every sort of doctor she can think of. I'm not sure if she is simply concered that I should be in the best possible shape for the trip, or looking for reasons for me not to go? In any event, after the most rigourous MOT I've ever had, I've come through with shining colours. If you're interested in what jabs I've had done, see The Admin section - though you should, of course, consult a travel clinic direct. Also, under The Gear, you'll now see info on my travel first aid / medical kit.
As you can see my gear and documents are coming together, and I´ve been spending time updating the other information pages on this blog. In the next couple of weeks that work will be completed, with full information on all that I am taking available for you to note. I´m not being sponsored by any manufacturers or suppliers of kit, so I hope to be well placed to give you my honest low down on how various bits and bobs hold up during the 4 months. And I´ll include bike accessories / modifications in that too - up to date shots of which will appear as soon as I can swing a camera in Idris´ direction.
The last countdown blog will report on my packing efforts, plus the outcome of my visit to James Cargo to drop Idris off ready for freighting. Now, if I can just squeeze 4 weeks of work into the 3 I have left, I´ll be ready to hit the road.