Lee Patmore: 24 days and counting down

As of today, I have 24 days until I turn the first turn and start my journey of 1,400 miles. Each week I want more progress for the next week, but still feel that what I have achieved isn’t enough. It is one hell of a mental battle as well as a physical battle whilst managing my disability and illnesses.

Sunday 2nd April I managed to do my best distance of recent training. 26.6 miles in 2hr 13mins with an average speed of 11.9mph. Trouble is, I think I could have done another 6.5 miles (1 lap of my training route). I could have pushed it to possibly another 6.5 miles after that, but the last lap would have been slow and reduced my time. The reason for not getting at least one more lap was due to running out of time, and to be honest, I wasn’t actually expecting to be able to get the distance in I did, let alone more.

Next week there are going to be more changes. To help me with my challenge and journey Help for Heroes have help get some upgrades to my Handcycle. It will be going Di2, yep, electric gearing. This will be a massive help, it will mean coming off the cranks less to change gear, and less time reducing cadence to ensure I hit the gear change lever accurately so it changes gears correctly. Currently, the Front Cassette (rear cassette on a normal bike) is controlled by one lever. A short push on the lever changes the gears one way, a slightly (and very slightly) longer push changes the other direction. In a nut shell, coming round a corner, needing to change gears to a lower gear often results in me changing in the wrong direction into a harder gear which then basically stops me dead. Then I have the issues to get from a harder gear, into a lower gear to be able to restart my accent on the hill. The new Di2 system will remove these issues and changing gears will be more accurate and simpler, meaning I can keep on the power into the hills, and not be stopped dead in my tracks keeping momentum going and no reduced speed due to gear changing issues.

Only issue next week will be, actually climbing the hills! I can’t worry or blame it on gear changes, the only issue (which I admit is a problem anyway) is my ability to attack the hills. One good thing is, now I can start to look at hill training more, and have no worries about problems with gear changing. This should remove much of the mental battle I have with hills.

Yes this is a very physical battle and challenge, but it will only be achievable with the mental battle winning. This is so much more than being fit and ready. It’s about believing I can complete it, that 40 – 60 miles per day is possible. Along with knowing, this isn’t going to be easy, it is going to really hurt and knacker me, it’s not going to be all fun and laughs, it’s going to be yet more pain and battling my body and its current limits than I currently deal with. But, it will be fun (maybe not at the time) and what a sense of achievement it will be.

Yes many can do this journey and probably a lot easier than me, but not many with Fibromyalgia would even think of doing such a challenge, let alone actually plan to make it a reality. My other issues will also play their part in challenging me as the journey progresses along, but it will be the Fibro that will be my biggest enemy during this, and this is going to be both one tough physical, but more importantly a mental battle and a mental battle of self-belief.