Trying to keep ourselves motivated to train in the winter months isn’t easy in normal times but with events being cancelled for the next few months, motivation to keep training is even tougher. Like many of us I’m used to a diary booked up with races or adventures, things to look forward to and train for. Some days getting out of the house to go for a training session is hard and I have to admit that on occasions I really don’t want to do it but I force myself out knowing after a few minutes on my bike I’m in my happy place. It’s very easy not to sign up for something “just in case” it doesn’t happen, but my fingers are firmly crossed that come June things will feel a little more normal.
I first heard of Chase the Sun three years ago when a couple of people I knew took part and loved it, so I signed up in 2019 hoping to do it with friends as I wasn’t a very experienced cyclist felt happier doing it with people I knew. Unfortunately the friends were unable to do it and with my lack of experience in cycling such long distances and, if I’m honest, a lack in confidence, I pulled out. Later as I followed some of the cyclists doing the ride I regretted having made that decision.
Chase the Sun has three events, one in the South, one in the North and one in Italy where cyclists ride coast to coast – east to west. The rides are all non-competitive with no rules or route-signs, timings or medals – a good old fashion event. Each ride is approximately 200 miles in length. I’m cycling the Southern route that starts in Sheerness on the east coast of Kent, finishing at Burnham-on-Sea in Somerset on the West coast starting at sunrise and finishing (if you can) before the sun sets 17.5 hours later – we are all chasing the sun.
Having stupidly pulled out of the event in 2019 I signed up in 2020, this time determined that I would do it but sadly, along with everything else in the calendar that year it was cancelled due to the world wide pandemic. 2021 arrives and as soon as entries to Chase the Sun opened I signed up for the South ride and immediately booked my accommodation, now I finally had something in my diary, time to get training!
My journey into cycling started at the beginning of 2018 once I had recovered from my attempt to run across America in October 2017. It took several months to recover both mentally and physically after running over 2,000 miles but I finally took the plunge and signed up for an event to cycle from LEJOG to celebrate my 10th anniversary of my JOGLE run in 2008. I loved it so much that I haven’t stop cycling since!
I’m extremely excited for many reasons to be taking part in this year’s Chase the Sun.
- Firstly the distance, 205 miles is a very long way! The furthest I have cycled in one go to date is 300km in an Audax event, so I know I can do the distance but will need to work on a bit of speed to beat the sunset in Burnham-on-Sea!
- The idea of cycling from coast to coast chasing the sun on two wheels is very appealing.
- Being unsupported makes it even more of a challenge. We will have to navigate our own way along the route using GPS devices as the route is unmarked. Managing ourselves is very important, making sure we eat, drink and if necessary take short breaks (we are allowed to stop at shops along the route to buy food and drinks). This is helped as there is a designated lunch venue where riders have to sign-in and here we can also replenish our supplies then it’s on to the finish.
- Although there is a time limit to try and beat sun-set Chase the Sun isn’t a race, it’s a journey, this is what I love about cycling. On journeys you meet so many likeminded people, travel through some beautiful places, have amazing experiences and learn so many things about yourself, I can’t wait.
Sylvia (my bike) and I have already started our journey/training. This is divided between sessions inside on my turbo and sessions outside, it all depends on the weather (I don’t particularly enjoy training outside when it’s very cold and icy!). As the weeks, months go on I will up my distances and hopefully come 19th June I will be fit and ready to join all the other riders on our journey to Chase the Sun.