So, I had these great ideas about doing a blog post a week before I left but, time seems to have run away from me and I seem to be suffering from writers block so here is my attempt....
Why Belgium? Hmm... Well, why not. Belgium hosts the oldest of the cycling classics and is a country I have vague memories of from when I was 6 years old so it just seems right.
Why a big race instead of a touring / slow adventure? I don't have the answer. I think it had something to do with the influence of the person I am traveling with. I had never thought of doing a ride anywhere but in Africa but Andy took my sense of adventure and helped me expand on it and showing me thst food and adventure is not limited to SA and I think with my new fitness and drive, it was a good fit.
So what preparations did I have to do? Well, I had to get fit and start enjoying climbing. I now love climbing and oddly enough on Sunday Andy mentioned a climb he wanted me to do and I got a big smile on my face and got excited!! I couldn't wait. I felt like a kid on Christmas. I am perhaps not as strong or fit as I would like but... Are we ever happy with our fitness? I also had to adjust my mindset. I have become more focused and oddly it has affected my home life. I see that because I have to be more structured with my fitness, I have had to become more structured and organized at home. Personally, I feel I have grown as well. I am more positive and focused and I think I have learnt a lot about myself.
I have spent an insane amount of time over the last few months on my bike and have racked up more kms than I have done in ages. I have also met and become friends with some fantastic people.
The packing... A friend once said to me I have obsessive compulsive list disorder. It's true of this trip again. But the list saved me again because once a merry time ago, I went away and forgot my wallet at home. Think I have everything this time - and possibly a bit more. I have taken my favorite Gearup cycling bag and packed my stuff in it. It's not a big bag but it is my traveling bag so it adds a sense of comfort. Packing tip: get duplicates of shampoo, deo etc so you don't have to pack those last minute.
I also have Rex packed. Rex is my bunny who goes on all my adventures with me. A race is not an adventure without the bunny so he is with me. When the going gets tough in a race, its having Rex that can sometimes be the difference between laughing or feeling horrid. I know I am gonna rely on Rex on Saturday. Just hope I can get an extra stamp or 2 in his passport!
How about flying? I enjoy it. As a student, I loved flying in and out of George which is an insanely short runway surrounded by mountains on one side and the ocean on the other... In fact, for a 737 its the shortest distance it can land! Haven't flown in or out of Europe since I was 8 so don't know how I am gonna handle the length of the flight. Part of me thinks I am going to enjoy it since I usually settle in the second half of local flights, then part of me is worried about how well I am going to handle the long flight with not moving around a lot. This is the great unknown!
The funny or random thoughts in my brain are the best... We need to see the main cathedral in Brussels cause this is the host of 1 of 3 embarrassing stories from when I was 6 years old that I know of, so it will be cool to see this place. Then, I have these memories of what my aunt and uncles home looked like when I was there and I keep wondering just how much is spot on.
So, tomorrow Andy and I are off on this adventure... I can't wait!!!!! But, I know this would not be possible without some rocking friends who in their own small way have motivated me. I cannot forget my colleagues who are manning the fort whilst I am away. All the best guys!
Then, last but not least my family. Mom and Dad you are always there got victories and down days. I wouldn't be able to do this without you. Thank you. To Gareth and Danielle, thank you for playing driver for me. You are gonna be part of a road cycling first with my strava segments!!
Thank you to Jason and the team at Ballistic bike trading for the opportunity to ride for you guys!! I know I am racing for a winning team on an awesome bike! And in Decca kit which is made in Belgium (a factory which we fully intend on visiting)! Thanks for welcoming me into the Bryton family.
I know I have forgotten some people but I have writers block so sorry, but thank you
Next post will be from the road!