Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Dive Aid Sponsored Cycle Ride - John O Groats to Land's End

Training: The Story so Far

Guy and Daryl

Anyone who has checked out the Dive Aid website recently (address below) will know that Guy Venner (pictured left) and training partner Daryl Barnes are to set off on the so-called "End-to-End" cycle ride on September 15th. Guy fills us in on how things have been going.

Things have not been going well. May and the early stages of June were a washout. I've never liked cycling in thunderstorms but when in a violent downpour Daryl casually informed me he'd once been hit by lightning, I found the nearest bus shelter and told him to carry on or at least stand a good way from me. Fifty metres did the trick, "Don't worry mate, it's only rain. Be over soon." And when the storm passed I could have been forgiven for mistaking the steam coming off him for smoke. He's never smelled too good anyway.

If our fitness has improved slowly, our knowledge of cycling vocab' has increased dramatically. I've now considered EPO, Daryl and I have had several bonks in tight lycra and he's always sucking me off. EPO seems to be the drug "de choix" amongst professional cyclists and if I'm not entirely that way inclined myself I'm sure a box of Pro Plus and a couple of cans of Red Bull will help me over those gut-busting hills.

We have to keep fed and watered regularly; before we feel hungry and thirsty in fact, otherwise we "bonk". This appears to be the cycling equivalent of the marathon runner's "wall" and has so far given rise to wide-eyed, vacant stares and interesting hallucinations; fields full of levitating sheep, birds flying backwards, Daryl getting the drinks in on a rest stop.

And he's not the most gracious of training partners, it has to be said. He's developed a nasty habit of wheel-sucking me. Slipstreaming me saves him 20% effort but getting to within half a mile of my home - the start and end point for training runs - and cycling past with a casual "I'll take it from here mate", really has to be putting the cycling shoe in.

Not that it's happened for the last month or so. Whilst on a comfort break in a well-known department store he slipped on a freshly-washed, warning-deficient floor and dislocated his shoulder. Six weeks and the due process of the National Claims Hotline, "Had an accident? Not your fault? Bit of a fatty?" means he's now back in the saddle.

Meanwhile I've been lamenting the absence of a knowledgeable instructor with standards to adhere to. More Clueless than Reese Witherspoon I've just discovered the reason my back's gone out three times in two weeks is that to ride my bike in comfort you should be at least six foot two. I don't come anywhere near. So it's goodbye to the old girl and my video camera housing and hello new bike.

There are a couple of things we really need from readers however. Sponsorship of course (check details online at but if any divers/dive centres can offer us beds/food/massage/Savlon on the way our gratitude would be immense. Perhaps small events - barbecues etc… could tie in with our arrival (time permitting). Remember, all proceeds from the ride go to Dive Aid and then to those affected by the Dahab bombings, which is what it's all about.

And if anyone's ever registered a charity, please get in touch to help me make sense of these forms as it looks like what started as a reaction to the tsunami is going to become a more long-term project.

Thanks to all and please do make contact via the website as we need all the encouragement, good wishes or even heckling that we can get. Well it's time to grease up my perineum, shave my legs again and jump on the old girl...


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