Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Ice Time

It's been another day on the ice rink today. I can't believe I leave 2 weeks tomorrow!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Another media day and back on the turbo

Luckily, I'm feeling better so my day began with a few hours on my turbo trainer to get back into the swing of it. I've never read so many books before and am getting through one book for every 3 sessions I do on the turbo. Brilliant training for both brain and body. I know all about the Trans-Siberian Railway now!

Today, ITV Wales were here filming some of my training and asking lots of questions about my kit. I even showed them the bottle I will have to pee in -  I wonder if they'll cut that bit!

My flight tickets came through today and my visa application, so far is progressing well so it's all getting very close to reality now.

I'm still getting so much support from the adventure community and everyone is willing to lend a hand or advice so I'm very appreciative.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Down with flu!

The last 4 days I've been somewhat house bound with a terrible cold, cough and all over flu symptons. At least it's happening now and not a few days before I leave.

I've still managed to progress my gear preparation and am probably 95% of the way there with getting together everything I need for my trip. The bike is fully loaded and riding well. On Friday I was down at the Ice Rink with Wales on Sunday and here is the outcome in today's paper.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Haglofs - Clothes that are up for the job!

Following a meeting with Haglofs yesterday I've decided on the following items to keep me snug and warm!

Actives 1 Q Hood
Actives Longjohns 

Primaloft 1 piece

Qnair Softshell with Primaloft
Suta Pants 

WS Balaclava
Expedition Mitts
Merino Gloves 
Fang Gloves 

Monday, 20 February 2012

Up North!

I've come up to the Lake District for a few days to get some variation in my training and managed to find some ice to play on over the weekend!
To break up my continuous cycle training I spent Saturday evening ceilidh dancing the night away at the adventure racing annual ball. It was a nice change and a damn good work out. My heels only lasted about 10 minutes before I switched them out for a pair of inov-8 f-lite's - quite a sight, matched with my ball dress!

Friday, 17 February 2012

Today on Lake Baikal

I found this satellite image of what Lake Baikal looks like today. A little cloud and snow accumulation in the far south and North of Olhon Island.....I'm hoping I can find the ice roads amongst it all!

Planning..what's that?!?

When I go out riding, I never plan where I'm going to go.

Basically my rides comprise of two phases. The outbound journey, which is fun and free as I turn left and right without a care in the world and no end goal in mind until my legs get tired and I'm hungry. My inbound journey then involves trying to figure out where I am and then how I'm going to get back. As you can imagine the outbound is far more fun and the inbound never fails to be painful....for me, it's a perfect way to train as I'm training my mind and body.

I'm now in the Lake District and not knowing the areas too well, I had over 5hrs of exploring today. After about an hour it began to rain and still hasn't stopped.

The bike is going very well but with only a front break on, some of the descents were interesting as the break began to scream!

I'm hoping for some snow tomorrow so I get get some snow biking in!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

It's all about the feet

My boots have arrive and they are huge!

I had some very strange looks today as I cycled up and down the lanes testing them out. They actually worked surprisingly well and within 10 minutes my feet were boiling. I tried to savour that thought for my cold days and nights in Siberia.

Monday, 13 February 2012

First hurdle cleared!

I managed to stay upright today at Cardiff Ice Rink! Chris, the manager, very kindly allowed me to cycle my bike around the rink before the afternoon session began. The ice tyres worked wonders and I was even able to break without skidding (too much) in a reasonable amount of time. It felt totally wrong but once I'd rounded the rink a few times I then cycled in figures of eight and zig zags with a reasonable amount of confidence. Once I've got all my gear together I plan to go back for one more session.

I actually only just made it to the ice rink in time as my 3hr ride this morning turned into more of a 4hr ride with a time trail sprint at the end as I'd miss judged how far I'd gone....I love it when the kilometres just fly by.

Some of the things I thought of today when I was cycling were:

(1) New inventions....I've come up with a great one today and it's cycle related!
(2) Whether or not I'd like to live in the villages that I cycled through
(3) Going to Ikea for lunch....I missed lunch all-together today due to my mis-judged time
(4) Whether the muscles in my thighs will ever snap through over use
(5) What the lake is really going to be like. If there is loads of snow then I won't be able to ride and hence I should run more in training and work out some method for pulling my bike

Tomorrow I'm actually going to go climbing for a change, that's after I've cycled to the climbing wall!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Going Nowhere!

It's been a turbo day today...3hrs on a turbo is far worse than 3hrs on the real thing but it's great for mental training.  I wanted to leave the Qoroz Mountain Bike in the freezer for a good 24hrs so tomorrow morning I'II see how it fairs.

I'II be out on the road all morning and then heading over to Cardiff Ice Rink at lunchtime for a quick spin around the rink in between hockey matches. I'II be sure to capture it on action......all I want is to be able to stay upright at this point.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

The morning ride

I'm busy testing kit at the moment. This morning I heading out when it was minus 2 degrees and was delighted to feel in control of my body temperature. I'm focusing hard at the moment to ensure that when I go out riding I don't sweat at all so I adjust my effort level and clothing appropriately. I've never really had to think too hard about that before but when it's minus 30 degrees, just slight perspiration could mean the end of my race.

Next week I'm meeting with Haglofs to discuss clothing and to kit myself out with the very best. I need layers for riding in minus 10 degrees and minus 40 degrees as well as clothing for when I'm stopped at minus 40 much to think about.

I'm getting very excited now!

Weather in Irkutsk

I'm starting to study the weather now. Makes me feel cold just looking at it! I'm rather pleased though that by the time I'm out there racing, there will be 12hrs of daylight each day.

Friday, 10 February 2012

It's chilly tonight

At 1am last night I was on skype chatting to Chris Pike who lives in Chicago. In 2010, he and 5 friends circumnavigated Lake Baikal and he was kind enough to share some of his knowledge with me. 

Today I've been busily removing my back break as he explained it's not going to be of much use to me in Siberia, particularly when the disk gets clogged with ice and snow and I don't expect to be using it must anyway. I'm very pleased to have removed a 1lb or 2 from the bike also!

I've also decided to subjected the Qoroz bike to a night in a freezer (pictured above) to see how it fairs. I'm pretty sure all will be fine.

I'm still trying to decide on the pulk, pannier or go fast & lite options. I met with a friend of mine last night, an experienced Arctic runner who has kindly lent me her pulk to see what I can do with it. The concern I have is that if strong winds get hold of the pulk, I'II be off the bike in a flash as it will have no traction. I was rather pleased when Chris said that even he, an experienced mtber, fell off his bike 50 times in one day due to the winds.....that won't make me feel so bad when I hit the deck for the 100th time! 

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Loading up the bike!

Following my training session this morning I spent a few hours trying to work out how I'm going to carry all my kit on the bike. So far I've strapped the tent & sleeping bag to the handle bars, the roll mat on the top tube, food, fuel and cooker in the frame bag and warm clothes behind the seat. Where I'm going to put the shovel and ice axe I'm still not too sure! I haven't tested it yet so not sure how balanced it is...that's tomorrows job!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Siberian Black Ice Race - Lake Baikal Preparations

I can't actually believe that something I've been thinking about for the last year has finally become reality. Last week I sent in my entry fee for the Siberian Black Ice Race and I now have a confirmed place!

7 weeks to go and training is well underway. I'm running and cycling for about 3hrs a day and yesterday I collected the Qoroz Titanium bike which I shall use to get me across the lake as fast as possible.

It's a 600km race across a frozen lake in - 40 degrees. We've got 18 days to complete it but I'm hoping for between 7-10 days. The more I find out about the conditions, the more accurately I can set a target!

I went on a 30km road ride today to work the ice studs properly into the tyres and luckily enough the roads were icy and the snow began to fall so it was good training conditions also. I was happy with my clothing, footwear and gloves (having said that is was only -2 degrees!)

I've been spending hours a day on the internet researching kit and clothing and how I'm going to get it all to fit on the bike, is anyones guess! At the moment there are 3 options, panniers, towing a pulk or loading up the handlebars and using a large seat bag. There seems to be pros and cons with everything so I guess I just need to get testing.

Next big challenge is working out whether I can actually ride on ice at all and hence I'm trying to organise with Cardiff Ice Rink to let me come and cycle round in circles until it begins to feel natural!

Working out what boots to wear is becoming problematic as I've been recommended to get minus 100 degree boots because with cycling your feet are still and hence freeze very easily. Problem with this is that a boot with these properties weights a ton and is bulky so doesn't make for easy cycling.

I've been fortunate enough to be introduced to some very knowledgeable people so my note book is filling up nicely with lots of good tips that I would never have thought of!