Over the next few weeks I'm beginning to prepare for the Paris to London bike ride. This means that I'm purchasing some kit that I think I'll need for the route, as well as getting some bits and pieces sorted along with increasing my fundraising efforts.
The ride proves to be a bit of an excuse for picking up new kit. Not that I wouldn't have got some new items anyhow, but getting them for the ride seems to be a handy idea.
The first item I've purchased for the ride is a new helmet. There's endless debate on helmets online on if they help the wearer or not. Regardless, I've not seen enough compelling evidence to not wear one, so I tend to do so as I feel that the benefits can potentially outweigh the disadvantages - besides, as an organised ride, I may be required to wear one for the firms insurance requirements (I'm not sure if this is the case on this ride but it normally is for most sportives).
I'd already got a helmet, one I purchased in February to replace a battered and falling apart (internally with the fittings, rather than from a protection point of view) helmet. However, this was a skate style helmet and whilst good in cold weather, I was finding it to be causing me potential issues during the summer so I've gone back to a mountain bike style helmet as it has larger (and more) openings to allow airflow. Helmets are one of the things that I feel needs to be tried on before purchasing so I ended up getting mine from Evans (though the money off voucher I had wasn't valid for the brand of helmet I ended up buying)! In the end, I went for a Specialized Tactic II helmet as it was a good fit and was within my price range (though at the upper limit).
At the minute, that's probably the extent of my purchases - I have another one planned before my ride but I'm waiting for the time being before getting it.
Preparation for ride is pretty much done in terms of training. I'm happy with the amount of riding I've done prior to this. My one concern is that part of the route (the first two days) seem to be reasonably hilly, something I've not done a huge amount of this past year, as Veloviewer makes it clear! I did make it up Ditchling Beacon this year without putting a foot down so I might be ok - least that's what I'm hoping for. Regardless of the riding, I'm fairly confident that the distance shouldn't prove an issue.
The repetitive nature of the ride (four days of riding) is perhaps the biggest concern. I don't think I've done four fairly big days in a row, even last month when I cycled most days of the month. Also the weather - it seems that the UK has some fairly grotty weather at the minute, though nothing major. If it got colder it make the ride tougher but that can be dealt with.
In terms of bike prep, other than the new kit, it needs some possible TLC. I'll be taking it in for a quick service to ensure hat everything's running smoothly for the running. This needs to be booked in soonish to ensure that I'm all sorted for the ride.
My fundraising hasn't been the best perhaps - I'm currently only 15% towards my goal. As such, I've decided that something I've been meaning to do for a while needs to be done - I need to clear out some unused and old kit that is lying around the house and I'll donate the proceeds of these sales to the cause. By selling the items, not only am I clearing out some space for when my girlfriend moves in, I'm also raising some money for the RAFBF.
In addition, I've started to put together a pub quiz for work. Unfortunately this will fall outside of the ride (it'll be the week after the bike ride) but I'm hoping I can use the funds from that to top up my donations. I just need to figure out the questions now!