Guest Blog by Ewan Mac<ean
Preparing for the Raid Alpine 2020
0-10%: An honest assessment of how prepared I felt arriving at our Lanzarote training camp to cycle previously unattempted distances and heights over consecutive days in a totally new environment.
25%: Approximately the number of the Cure Parkinson’s Trust Raid Alpine group that met for the training camp. If this bunch is reflective of the group as a whole then despite our different backgrounds, different abilities and different health issues, we will have a fabulous team spirit and a combined will to crack the task ahead! Speaking of will, Will Cook deserves a shout. Will is our leader and oozes calm authority and general niceness. He will undoubtedly be a strong hub to our collective group wheel.
50%: Kit, kit and more kit!! Having experienced the Lanzarote heat and, an issue for me that I’ll really have to address, the daily length of time exposed to the sun, the realisation, although I had a fair idea, that I don’t have half the kit required for the Raid! Many thanks to Alison for lending me sleeves, who knew they would be so useful?, and to Roland, my roomie, for the ‘bum’ butter, to protect my other two bits that are actually slightly in front of my bum! 🙈 🥜
On that theme a new saddle is a ‘must’, new shorts with extra padding are a ‘must’, and I’ll be googling ‘extra strong testicle butter’ as soon as I get home!! 🥴 If it’s not been marketed yet then I’ll shortly be making a pitch on Dragons Den!!!
75%: As a group we cycled many miles and took on some serious climbs. Climbs similar to those that we will have to complete over and over in the Alps. Many thanks to Francis for planning them out. Francis clearly thought through the distances and gradients to make the Lanzarote cycles as reflective as possible of parts of the days in the Alps.
The 75%? Well, I’ll keep training hard over the coming months but a big lesson for me is that the Raid, like life, is a long game: 1. to be enjoyed and 2. best played at a sustainable pace. Holding it at 75% effort up the mountains will hopefully see me complete each day without gassing out and retain the ability to move to the next day in a sustainable condition! Slow and steady will be a discipline but an essential one.
100%: Admiration. Total admiration for those within our group who have Parkinson’s. I would put myself down as a pretty fit 55 year old and I’m taking on what to me is a huge, huge physical, mental and no doubt emotional journey. To have now spent some time with Alison, Janet and Leona and see how they have to strategise what are more usually fairly normal every day tasks, then chose to get on a bike and cycle up mountains over long distances, you could be forgiven for thinking they’re slightly mad! However having spent some time with them and better understanding their condition, they are far from that, they are amongst the bravest and most committed people I’ve ever met. I’m 100% in awe of them. For them to devote themselves to this task and to raise as much money for CPT as possible has got me 100% hooked into doing the same.
0%: Finally, back to 0%, my own personal zero! Despite the recent few days of total bike envy and me consistently talking a good game to whoever would listen regarding acquiring a new top end carbon bike when I get home – 0% is the chance of me being allowed to!!