It has been an emotional and busy week with my fathers's funeral and the ups and downs that go with it. The support for our family has been immense and we are incredibly grateful.
Thursday was a beautiful sunny day and the 50 miles I rode to Ipswich was a great time to reflect. I called in first at my mother's to grab a drink and touch base, before calling into Foxearth to thank the staff there for the care and attention they had given my father over the last year. Inevitably I had a headwind to contend with, but recognise this now as something to be grateful for. A better workout.
Once in Ipswich, I had a spare hour, so stopped in to see a couple of the countries great football managers, standing proudly outside Portman Road. Sir Bobby Robson used to live in our village and was not above picking my brother up in his Jaguar, if he passed him as he walked home from school.
He and Sir Alf Ramsey, would no doubt have been excited by the prospect of the up-coming play-offs between Ipswich and Norwich, starting next weekend in Ipswich. I hope to be there.
Since the bike was having a little rest on Friday
, I sent it in to Andy at Specialised Cycles, in Norwich and I collected it again yesterday, having had a really deep clean and another new chain. He very kindly offered to give it the once over before I leave in July, 'on the house'. Generosity like this has become the hallmark of this event, with people picking up on the sense of adventure and running with it. We may not actually be allowed to take a support team, but we all have one in the background, willing us on.
I have spent a large part of this morning booking train tickets from Norwich to Harwich, taking out insurance with www.dogtag.co.uk and researching trains from the Hook of Holland to Geraardesbergen, via Rotterdam central and Brussells-Midi. The journey from home, starting at about 05:00 will take about 16 hours, so I am glad to have booked a sleeping berth on the ferry over.
Since it's the start of such an amazing adventure, I may yet look at taking the whole family with me to watch the start. I hesitate only because I like to be in my own zone at the beginning of something so demanding.
The latest edition of the race manual is available to read on the TCR website as is a complete list of all the riders. There is a lot more information to be scoured and preparation continues on all fronts.
A recent article on training encouraged me to continue with 'core' strength exercises, not least having also read a review of the most demanding climbs in Europe, naturally included Mont Ventoux!
The anxious-making problems with the GPS were resolved yesterday, with George, my eldest son, safely navigating me from home to Thetford by car, using a route planned on basecamp yesterday morning. My greatest fear, would have been arriving in Belgium, without complete confidence that the GPS wasn't working properly. It appears that a recent software update included the need to select navigation mode. i.e Direct, Automobile, Cycle, MTB etc. The default setting of 'Direct' left you with maps covered in straight lines, without a road in sight!!
I did manage 70 odd miles during the week and will put in another 80 ish on the way to work this afternoon.
The total to date is 2285 since 31st Dec 2014
Useful paces to go.