Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Planning and Prep - 6 weeks to go

Hi everyone,

Its now only 6 weeks (43 days technically) until my ride gets underway and I'm getting both excited and nervous.

I've done some planning of when and where I will need to stop and suddenly the reality of what I'm undertaking has become apparent... its a bloody long way in 24 hours.

Below is my draft plan, based on my riding experience and guidance from the experts, of what I think I will be able to achieve. I'm going to be getting up about 4am to pack the bike, get some breakfast in me, and get down to the Lands End Visitor Centre from my hotel ready for paperwork signing and the launch at 5.30am... so before I start I'll already have been up for over an hour.

By the time I've usually finished the nursery run and starting work I should be ~150 miles in and at my first stop at Taunton... then by lunch time I'm hoping to have hit the 300 mile mark... which is usually a substantial and fairly long day from my previous rides.


By the end of the working day at 5pm I should be near Stirling in Scotland and the end of the motorways having done nearly 600 miles, which in itself will surpass my previous longest days ride of 550 miles when I rode from the top of Denmark to the Netherlands on Day 20 of my Arctic Ride.

Then in the evening I have the task of riding another 'full day' of nearly 300 miles to get from Stirling to John O'Groats in the Highlands, hopefully before midnight and I certainly hope before the 5.30am mark which will be the cut-off for my 24 hour window.

Looking at it now I'm thinking this plan is looking slightly optimistic and that I'll either have more stops, especially in the evening on the highland roads, or even a power-nap somewhere along the line. Either way I'm looking at this and realising just how much of a challenge this really is going to be and the dangers involved in pushing oneself to the limit.


Now I've been a bad lad so far when it comes to training and life has really been getting in the way... The weekend just gone I had planned a practice ride form Newcastle down to London (a mere 300 miles) to visit my sponsor Devitt at their office in Romford, and link up with some of the YouTube MotoVloggers at the annual 'Monkey Meet'... however I ended up travelling with work which put an end to that.

Regardless of my work schedule I know I need to get some big miles in before the ride at the start of July to get me back in the mode for long distance riding. So in a few weekends time I've planned a day trip up to Glen Lyon, via the Loch Lomond National Park. This route will see me take on motorways, 'A' roads, and some twisty unclassified roads which should be perfect practice for what I will experience on the Iron Butt. The route there and back from Newcastle is around 500 miles which will be a big day. I'll also be riding Scotland's 5th highest pass, the beautiful Lochan la Lairge, pictured below.

 Lochan la Lairge
So that's my plan for the ride and getting some practice in. Whilst I'm looking forward to the challenge I'm also apprehensive but I know that I'm challenging myself and my riding skills to raise money for an amazing charity in the Tiny Lives Trust. Before I depart in July I'll share a little more about my daughter Islay's story and why I feel so indebted to Tiny Lives and the staff at the RVI hospital in Newcastle.

To find out more about Tiny Lives, visit their website.


Big thanks to all the recent donations which sees my total sitting at nearly £600. I know that times are tight and there are lots of great causes and fundraising events going on but any donation to my total is appreciated and will go towards helping babies like my daughter Islay at the most precious time of their life as new born babies. And please think about how cold and wet (I'm making assumptions based on that I'm travelling through Scotland) I will be after nearly 900 miles on my bike and just how sore my backside is going to be... surely that in itself if enough for a few beans to go into the jar?

To donate please visit my virgin money giving page.

Thanks for reading and ride safe.

Gordon