Sunday, May 11, 2008

Alternative Training

The weather here is coming straight from the Antarctic - and I do indeed have the cold that's been doing the rounds. Sore throat, congestion, achy legs and testy mood. Last weeks training totalled a miserly 5 hours and this week won't be any better unless I come right in a hurry. Still, time off the bike is time to catch up on other preparations.

I'm finally putting together all my gear (with borderline obsessiveness). Carrying only what is needed has to be the key - maybe with some spares thrown in. Photos from last years GDR show a massive range in gear. Some guys looked ready for a day-ride, others for a pleasant cycle tour. One guy had spare shoes strapped to the outside of his pack. Another took a cooker. I wonder what else filled their panniers?

At lunchtime I'll head off to the local metalwork shop to get some work done on my custom rear carrier (an old front rack converted). My load won't be the lightest, but I hope to keep all my gear (clothes, tools, firstaid kit, camping gear, camera, etc) down to about 5kg and be able to carry up to 10kg of food and water. It'd be nice to do some loaded training rides on the new rig sooner rather than later.

Although I won't be on the bike for a day or two, training continues as I've just started a 15 day course of altitude simulation sessions. This involves breathing rarified air on and off for an hour (while catching up with email). Thanks to a voucher won at a race last year it doesn't cost much (although the rest of the clientelle look decidedly well-heeled). How well it works is anybodys guess - scientific studies seem hard to come by, but it seems like a good idea. A fair bit of the GDR is over 10,000 - high enough to hurt for a sea-level dweller. Being well acclimatised knocks one more thing off the 'worry list'. But I sure look forward to getting back on the bike.


Hyphen Tandem Team said...

Simon! Cathy Haagen-Smit here from California. I was checking up on you, knowing I would find something interesting!!! I see you are preparing to race the Great Divide - cool. Jim & I have yet to tour more than a few miles of the Route and keep thinking we'll set aside a summer to ride it with tandem & BOB. Race it? Nah! We'll cheer you on from here. Actually, Jim & I will be in Park City Utah June 16-23, for the World Mountain Bike Summit ( We'll be in the same mountain range - sort of!

The Great Divide Route really is a neat thing. For anniversary gifts, Jim & I purchased a Great Divide Mile (a fund raising thing through Adventure Cycling Association when they were mapping the route). I think my mile is near Steamboat Springs, and Jim's is near Silverthorne.

I don't know if there's anything we can do for you in the way of support? You are amazing! Am sure Sarah and Miro thinks so. Happy trails, Cathy Haagen-Smit

Simon Kennett said...

Nice to hear from you Cathy. You and Jim would blaze the Divide on your tandem! I'll keep an eye out for you mile (x2).


Hyphen Tandem Team said...

You just may have inspired us to ride the Divide on a long, slow tour someday soon! May the most boring bits go by quickly for you, and may you revel in the prettiest parts.

The latest Bike Magazine has an article written by a guy who did the race last summer. If you can get your hands on a copy, you should find it interesting.

And check out - the main webpage has a news article on Kiwi mountain bikers.