1,600km is a huge distance to cycle, what was your preparation and training like beforehand? Is there even a training plan for cycling almost 100km a day!
Preparation??? Training??? I only stopped working 3 weeks before I set off. For a couple of weeks I tried to ride every day – even if only 10kms to the shop. I did two longish rides to see friends. I did one ride on the Monday of the week I set off with panniers with approx. weight in – and a climb or two. The rest was blind faith! If you say you are going to do it – and people have donated you have to do it.
I had no worries about the challenge ahead, the only concern was that it might be hotter than I had anticipated. It was hot!
Can you pick out a particular highlight, or the most memorable day of the challenge?
I couldn’t pick out just one. I loved it all – Yes there were a few really hard days when things didn’t go as planned – when it was too hot, when I had an upset stomach, when I missed a turning, when the roads were very rough and the ride was longer than I anticipated but you have to expect that. But rocking up somewhere new every day, being welcomed by friendly Spaniards who thought I was mad, staying in small villages and towns, visiting interesting cities – eating and drinking well on local food, speaking Spanish, seeing the landscapes change was just brilliant. It was a whole experience – it wasn’t just about riding the bike.
What was your feeling when you first saw Cadiz on the horizon?
“I’ve f..ing done it!” It WAS on the horizon too – for a long time – because you come all the way round a bay and then over a very long spit of land to arrive. It was just amazing seeing it there.
Do you have any words of encouragement and advice for anyone who is thinking of taking on their own challenge. Be it a huge journey like yours or even just a 5km run for charity?
Live the whole experience – don’t see it as a physical challenge in isolation. Let the whole purpose and the whole environment – and so the whole context fill your head – and your senses. Smell touch and hear it all – as well as feel the physical effort – and pride in the effort.
You must have you eyes on another challenge now that you have recovered from this ride. Maybe Spain to Greece?
I will be doing other physical challenging stuff – I am encouraged to test myself further e.g. I am hiking the Andes in spring but not a challenge that is for charity or that attracts attention.