The final countdown

It’s the 1st of July, and I feel I am now just waiting for the race to begin – in fact I can’t wait.


Lunchtimes are filled with creating ride notes for each section of my route – are there facilities all along it, or any 60k sections with no food available?  The idea is I know what’s coming up, (or isn’t) so I can get supplies ahead of a climb etc.

Training was going well in May – June has been a bit more intermittent.  

I ended up having a week’s holiday with the missus, on the bikes, touring from Cherbourg to Roscoff in Brittany.  I’d planned to add on each day to make the ride up to 150-200k, but after the first weekend, I cracked – the offer of a beer at 3 o’clock in a quay side café, or another 3 hrs riding…. Hmmm.

However, the end result is I’m still keen and motivated for the final 4 weeks, rather than blown and exhausted.  

I’ve been trying to hit 200k rides when possible – not as many as I would like.  However, I’ve felt generally pretty good while riding – As long as I keep eating I feel I can ride at a steady pace – I don’t feel quick, but I do feel solid.

I did use my French trip to help firm up ideas about what kit I am taking.  

I had bought a full frame bag and used a camel back bladder with it.  The results were not good. I liked the volume of kit it could store – however, I did not enjoy using the camelback.  It took too much suck to get any water – so much so that I was just not drinking enough. Not too much of a problem on an easy 100k with the missus in france with 16 degree temperatures.  However, I think it would be much more of an issue when the temperature is 30+

So, I’ve gone for a apidura half frame bag, and 2 side mounted cages each holding 750ml of water.  I tried a third using a Louri strap to hold it on my downtube just above my cassette. The water bottle was not too successful, but I’ve had better luck with it holding a canister of tools / inner tube etc.  The bottle was too soft meaning it deformed so did not grip well.

The loss of the full frame bag means I am tight for space – last time I carried a front bag holding my bivvy and sleeping mat.  I was trying to avoid that this time to keep things a bit more aero at the front. I have a bigger rear bag but may need to store something small upfront.  I’ll keep experimenting over the next few weeks.

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