Went the day well.

The wind was light and although the cloud was bubbling up it may not come to anything other than the odd shower, was my read of things. I was setting out towards Pitscottie, and from there I would head over the hill and into Cupar.

My niece had e-mailed me to say she had now moved into her new house, best go and have a look. Their new home is a bungalow, her husband, now an invalid, could not make the stairs in their old flat.

Ann had seen me as I approached and come to the door to greet her guest, I deposited the bike and moved back to take a photograph.

“I have not come to help with the flitting, just to see what you have and go tell the neighbours”. I greeter her.

The wife next door is flitting, do you ken,

keek cannie through the window bell and see”

Ann of course is overjoyed with her new home.

Her bairns were over to help out, cutting the grass and putting up shelves, so I only stayed long enough to have a cup f tea and guzzle down a teacake, I just could not resist.

Home and went to work, hanging a picture for my neighbours, it was one of those that needed a nail at both sides, so a bit more tricky and the measurement hand to be spot on, a wee test piece for Hamilton.

I started on “The man who cycled the world” even with all the advice and back up it was clear from the start of the book he was not a long time cyclist and was making all the ‘Schoolboy Mistakes’ of a non-touring rider. I recognised much of his faults he was making from my early day of long-distance riding. HSS (high saddle syndrome) giving him knee trouble. The sickness I sure was more down to not eating regularly and not taking sufficient water on board.

In my early days of Audax riding I experienced much the same. I had done many long trips before this but not at a pace, where you were riding against a clock so had to keep a constant mileage regardless of the terrane and unable to take long rest periods, for it you did that time would have to be made up further down the road. So you tended to push on in too high a gear rather than settling into a steady cadence and change up and down the gears to keep that cadence regular. Once you learn how to do this you can travel for hour after hour in a sort of Zen like manner.

When I first moved up from 200K to 300K rides I suddenly got myself into all sorts of trouble, I was being sick and could not hold anything down, even water just came right back up like a fountain. I would stop and rest, feel better then start again and as soon as I started to cycle the sickness would immediately return. With only 50K to go back to my parked car, I persevered, not much choice really.

I arrive home early on Sunday morning and when mum saw me she insisted I call the doctor. You did not say no to mum.

The doctor was not my normal doctor being Sunday and when I arrived in his consultant room and explained what had happened, he told me he had been a doctor for the British Olympic Team, and put me right. He told me that my body was eating itself. (fall backwards in my chair) I had to drink more, and snack more often as I went.

I went onto the internet and looked up a company called Oz who sold, energy bars at much reduced price to the local cycle shop, I bought a boxful and chowed on one every hour, later I was able to reducing this as I got better able to cope and was drinking much more water and taking the odd energy drinks, throughout the day.

The other mistake I felt Mark made was thinking he could constantly do a 100-mile day after day without building in a rest day. Doing a 200K day is not that great a problem all you have to do is turn peddles for something like 8 to 12 hours, but get up the next day and do another 12-hour stint and carry on like that day after day and you will soon run into trouble.

I have done 200K days every day for a whole week – but only at a pace averaging 10mph and on a very light bike, carrying only the bare necessities. Also because I was not in any race against the clock I stopped off regularly to sight see, lots of breaks recharges the batteries at every stop, this makes all the difference even if the days is a much longer one. No mater so long as you are comfortable.

Still, Mark is a smart kid so I’m sure by the time I get into the book he will have sussed all this out for himself.

Keep safe.       

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