Thinking ahead

Four months to go, before the start line. It’s time to train hard on the bike, but also to think about the navigation, the equipment and the almighty unknowns.

As with the picture in this blog post I’ve likely broken 10 Velominati rules (no kit, unshaved legs, facial hair, tan lines, coloured socks, red shoes…and yes! I went swimming after the ride),

I feel guilty and kindly apologise to the purists, reciting:

Rule #
Free your mind and your legs will follow.

Your mind is your worst enemy. Do all your thinking before you start riding your bike.  Once the pedals start to turn, wrap yourself in the sensations of the ride – the smell of the air, the sound of the tires, the feeling of flight as the bicycle rolls over the road.

I have saved most of the thinking before rolling through Europe, from Belgium to Greece, via Poland!

Yes, the real challenge of the #TCRNo6 is the careful planning that goes before the rolling starts. In these hot days of March (if you live down under) I’m frantically thinking about every mile ahead.

Every road turn and possibly every meal has to be accounted for, because I don’t think I can survive such effort on a gas station diet.

What if my chain brakes? what if I cut open a tyre? what if I injure myself? what else??

My Bianchi steed will need to be at 100% for the race, while I will have to carry every tool that allows me to pull her apart (and put her back!) if needed.

In total, I’ve considered spending about 100 hours performing “the thinking bit” during my weekends, I’m sure it will pay back.

In 2013 I took part in an expedition to the North Pole where I learnt a great many skills in planning and training (ski), which are coming in handy today, thanks Eric Philips! you’ve been a good mentor, bummer I’ve never learned to play guitar as well as you do!


A word or two about high tech…

As per previous blogs, if you aren’t a bike geek, I will excuse you if you stop reading now…

Time to talk about the flight deck of my Bianchi Intenso.

Here it is, simple, neat and and well fitted to match my position on the bike. The bars are alloy in-house Bianchi Reparto Corse, while the Stem is a Deda Elementi Superleggero, also made of aluminium. The bar tape is rigorously black, matching the Campagnolo hoods.

The right hood controls the rear deralier up/down shifting and the front brake…it’s wired the other way around, because the bike was assembled by an Australian mechanic.

The left hood controls the front deralier up/down shifting and the rear brake.

Right on the centre line is my Garmin Edge 520 head unit, which I’m carefully choosing a TCR specific data field configuration. Thinking of all those years I’ve spent on board a ship, fighting with misbehaving electronics, I’m amazed what a bike computer can do these days. It interfaces with a wireless speed sensor, a wireless cadence sensor my heart rate monitor strap and it can be a source of any sort of metrics and data.

Data produced during the ride and loaded on Strava can bring me some pride and satisfaction as every morning I transition from been an imaginary champ to an NGO mid manager…