209 days to go... yes that is 209 days until I fly out for the great unknown... well chicago anyway to begin my journey over 4 weeks to Santa Monica Pier.
I have spent the last 6 months since my last bike ride planning this in my head and now the plans are slowly starting to come together... a few bumps in the road aside.. it has gone well.
So to address the bumps...
I am now doing this solo... not a problem in my book but this seems to be a big hurdle for a few of my (very good and well meaning) friends. The big problem in their book is the danger aspect of being female and cycling solo. I try to cite examples of those who have done similar things before and survived to write books. I say that I know people in the USA who will help me in an emergency... I say that I could just as easily be hurt or worse cycling in this country. All these arguments fell on deaf ears and were met in some cases with glares!! Now i know they mean well, and it comes from worry but I will be fine. It's not as if i haven't undertaken some bike touring solo already (Snowdon to Ben Nevis and South to North Wales, ok so it's on a bigger scale), and I'm not going to some war - torn country or the jungles of Belize or Everest (though I'm not ruling any of those out for the future!).
However if I wanted my life to be bearable for the next 209 days, i had to think of a solution to ease their worries. Enter SPOT, a device that will enable me to send messages to friends and family to let them know i am ok , without the need for a phone signal. It can call emergency rescue wherever you are in the world to your exact GPS location and can track where you are at any given time. Expensive but well worth the lessening of glares and the guilt at making them worry!
Next bump... Am I capable of this ??? So now i have to carry my kit, which means buying a bike that is more durable and less light and speedy, making the task harder. Cycling 100 miles a day is not a problem for me... cycling for 2/3/4/5 days in a row of 100 miles a day, bit tougher but still doable in my book, cycling 100 miles a day for 4 weeks, we shall see....
Time to train.... Anyone that knows me knows that I have little spare time... I seem to have something to do most days. Fitting in work, climbing, studying, Alarm gigs, and some sleep take up most of my time. The key will be organisation and just getting on with it. Easier said than done but I must fit in time to train otherwise I'm in danger of keeling over more than a few miles from Santa Monica!!!
So those are the bumps.. now to concentrate on the positives....
I have booked my flights, so no turning back.
I have mapped my exact route.
I have started to organise a gig in LA at the end of the ride and have the incredible Joe Silva playing with a couple of other musicians TBC
I have done some training
I have done a bike maintenance course (just in case)
I have wonderful friends and family that will support me even if they are worried
I am going to get to see America the proper way
I will raise money for a good cause and hopefully sign people up to the bone marrow donor's list along the way!!!
So watch this space for updates, a day by day blog of the agony when I start, and other musings of a long distance cyclist!