2016 started a little differently for me this year. Instead of a lazy day on the sofa recovering from the excesses of the previous night celebrations, I was out riding my bike on New Year’s Day. My first training ride for the Prostate Cancer UK’s Football to Amsterdam event.
This will be my first epic cycling challenge of riding 145 miles in just two days from the Olympic Stadium in London to the Ajax Arena in Amsterdam, with over 400 hardy (maybe a little mad!!) riders, whilst raising money for the Prostate Cancer UK charity.
Now, I’m a fairly recent convert to road cycling, buying my first road bike in the spring of 2015. Although I have been a keen and enthusiastic mountain biker for the last 8 years, so the joys of two wheels has been a passion and an activity I’ve always enjoyed.
So I worked out that if I started my training on the 1st January, there would be 150 days before departure at the Olympic Stadium on the 3rd June. I needed to learn how to ride a road bike for long distances. As well as climbing hills and maintaining a good average speed to ensure I had the stamina and endurance to complete this epic event.
So riding 145 miles in two days will be a challenge, both physically and mentally as I will need to learn and adhere to new skills of riding in groups at close(ish) proximity! As my riding history is generally riding solo or off road with a couple of mates. Road cycling is a lot different from what I am used too of riding a mountain bike!
Training in January and February was challenging at times, especially with the wind and rain, plus the cold spell. But with each ride I feel I am improving both my fitness and confidence in my bike handling skills. Learning new things with every ride, from what clothing to wear, to gearing and cadence, to how to plan rides so I can most out of them as I can only commit to riding twice a week.
With the slight improvement in weather during March and into April, training rides have become a lot more enjoyable and rewarding. Plus I even entered and completed my first ever Sportive!
My training mileage from the 1st January to 25th April has now reached 761 miles.
The equivalent of my riding from the SaddleDrunk HQ in London to Turin in Italy!
Aside from the amazing and generous support from SaddleDrunk of providing me with my bespoke cycling apparel, another piece of great news was that AFC Bournemouth really wanted to support and help promote me and my participation in the ride.
With the added bonus of Scotland international and fan's favourite player Matt Ritchie personally endorsing me. Matt who is a very keen cyclist himself and even has his own range of SaddleDrunk cycling kit on sale in the club shop, as well as on the SaddleDrunk website.
An exciting and engaging idea from the Media & Comms team at AFC Bournemouth was the “War of Miles” challenge. Where I will compete to make my training miles higher in the month of April, than Matt Ritchie and the AFC Bournemouth midfield players can run in the five matches they play in April!
You can read more about the War of Miles challenge and how I am progressing on my blog at http://londontoamsterdamcharitybikeride.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/War%20of%20Miles
Aside from the training, the other most important aspect was fundraising and donations. To help I created a blog, a Facebook page, started tweeting specifically about the ride and posted a few images on Instagram. Plus AFC Bournemouth and Prostate Cancer UK have provided some amazing coverage on their website as news stories and content across social media. Plus I was featured in the AFC Bournemouth match-day programme for the home game with Manchester City!
With less than 30 days before we depart the Olympic Stadium on Friday 3rd June, my training will continue throughout the month of May. Plus with the improving weather I am looking forward to looking resplendent in my SaddleDrunk cycling kit both during the last few weeks of training and most importantly as the best-dressed man on the start line!
You can follow my ride via my blog or social media at…
Google+: search Gary Trudgett
To donate, please visit my Just Giving page at : https://www.justgiving.com/Gary-Trudgett or you can text a £3 donation via JustTextGiving by texting LNAM47 £3 to 70070