Why do you ride your bike?
Why do you train like you do?
Why do you love to race?
Questions many of us probably ask ourselves in the depths of winter or after that (all too regular!) bad race!
A good friend of mine, Cat Archer (pictured) is just off to start JOGLE (John O’Groats to Land End) today. She choose the less common route (as you normally have a headwind nearly all the way !) ‘because she has already done the other way’!
Cat is a great person and is a great inspiration. She has a history as a successful ultra runner and has been taking part in Ultra Cycling events for the past few years. Myself and my partner, Helen, met Cat, and her partner James at the UMCA World 6-12-24 championships in Borrego Springs California two years ago, I was racing the ‘baby event’ the 6hr, Cat went straight for it with her friend Jasmijn Muller entered the ’24’! Ever since we have struck up a great friendship and kept in touch. What was a lovely surprise for Helen and I when returning from LA after the 6hr was Cat & James (As James is a BA pilot) had arranged an upgrade for us to Business Class on the way back – wow that was fab!
So what drives someone to just hop on a train (as Cat did this morning) for a very long journey, 3 stops to get to John O’Groats where she will hit the road, aiming on 150-200 miles a day to make it to Lands End?
Cat Leaving the station 7am today
Cat loves the adventure, for me she is in it for exactly the right reasons to….
- Enjoy it!
- See different places
- Create great memories
- Do something that ‘normal’ people just don’t do
- Push yourself, find new limits and then go through them
- Challenge herself
I cycled down to See Cat & James on Good Friday (*a bad idea it was about a 140 mile round trip… my poor puppy was left too long and was not a happy bunny!), Whilst there over a home made soup and brownies lunch, we discussed her plans her preparation and her goals. We also discussed the next ‘adventure’, we are both (me via Cat’s inspiration) thinking of heading to India in November to do a 400m ultra race that ends in Goa – A nice place to end a race! Why repeat the same thing when you can experience, new places, new people, cultures and dramatic cycling scenery?
Cat hasn’t any ‘lofty’ goals of breaking records, although her schedule is demanding to say the least. Cat wants to enjoy the journey, enjoy the process.
The planning, as people such as Michael Broadwith (UK 3 x National 24hr Champion) who is planning his own LEJOG record approach shortly, Steve Abraham who has just done the ‘One year Time Trial’ – yes it is what it says – cycle as far as you can in a year (!) – know what that is about. As does Cat’s good friend (and Mine) multi Ultra race winner Jasmijn Muller.
The planning, prep, excitement and ‘process’ is such a part of it – Its a journey that starts on day 1 when the idea is conceived, it didn’t start for Cat at 7am today when she jumped on the train.
Planing such an event is no mean undertaking, there are all manner of logistics and practical considerations, the bikes, spares, routes, lodgings, clothing (it is UK in spring after all!)
Cat’s travelling light!
And making sure she is seen!
She has mapped every possibility
So today is Day -1! We wish Cat all the best and will be watching out for how she gets on!
Thanks for reading