T minus 5

Five days left until I get the train down to Penzance to start the ride.  I broke the cardinal rule by futzing with my bike just before starting the ride.  I added SKS mudguards, and replaced the sprockets (42/22t) and chain.  Mudguards should make any rainy day less bad – although I’ve ridden through countless winters without them.  The new spockets and chain make everything much smoother, and make life noticably easier (at least going up Craigleith hill on my one test ride).  I don’t like making big changes without a decent shake-down period.  But I have two rides to work to do, and I’ve been doing all the work using only the tools I’m taking with me.  This leads me to add a couple of extra tools – an 8mm spanner (because the mudguards have many nuts on them) plus a tiny jewelers screwdriver (to lever off the snapring on the rear sprocket).

I have spent a lot of time with a road atlas and highlighter pen this week.  I originally mapped out my route on mapmyride.com so that I can have a version on my GPS unit.  But I also want paper maps in case the GPS dies – and also because the GPS really only shows a line going across a mostly blank screen without much context.

I’m initially following the CTC recommended route, along tiny country lanes – although I wonder if I’ll get bored with unsignposted roads after a while.  Certainly, as I get to north England I’m going to start doing my own route.  From Lancaster, I’ll follow the A6 up and over Shap.  It’s apparently a fairly quiet road nowadays (since the M6 replaced it) but the ascent up and over Shap is legendary, and I want to collect that one.  Later on, I’m going to do the east side of Loch Ness – another seriously steep ascent, but it means I avoid the main road on the west coast.

Dang, I just want to get on and do me some cycling.  I’ve kinda enjoyed the preparation phase up to a point – doing a solo unsupported LEJOG ride requires a fair amount of planning.  But now I’ve crossed a line and I don’t really want to ‘do’ anything LEJOG related unless it’s actually doing the ride itself.  I’ve been ready to go for weeks now.