Day 29 Training - Saturday 21st July: 11.15 miles
Saturday afternoon and I found myself with a couple of hours in the afternoon before going round to see friends in the evening.
The sun was out and it was hot. I parked up at Ocean Plaza and decided to try something a bit different in the 2 hours I had, so I pushed away from the town centre, along the coastal road cycle path up to where the coastal road meets the Formby Bypass, with the intention of coming back the same way. I'd been in a rush to get moving, but when I got within about a mile of the half way point I suddenly realised I hadn't put any suncream on! I've learnt from experience that this back-fires on me if I don't use it. Today the sun was hot but even on other days, I need it to protect my face from the wind. Without it I end up feeling hot as hell with a face like a beetroot! Not an attractive look. So I found a local Spar shop and bought some, and took the opportunity to get another flyer up on their local community noticeboard while I was there. Never miss a trick!
Fully protected again I set off on the return push. A pretty easy 11 miles really, with just a twinge of stinging in my pushing foot by the end, but nothing three bottles of Brothers cider wouldn't cure later on.
Day 30 Training - Monday 23rd July: 21 miles
My last day before returning to work, and the forecast was for it to be dry between Southport and Fleetwood, with rain further north. The wind was blowing northwards, so behind me pushing me along towards Fleetwood. I hadn't really planned to do this today, so I wasn't 100% prepared, but I decided to head off anyway, but with full intention of getting the bus back, and not skating back into the headwind! This was always going to be a one way journey today. I set off from home and skated up to the coast road where I took this photograph...
Some 9 months after taking the photograph on the frontpage of this blog, here I was, pushing along the same route, on what was almost a dummy run for Day 1 of my 100 mile journey, but this time, loaded as I will be on the day. A few minutes later my ride was delayed while I stopped to get another photo at the 'Official' start of The Long Push 2012, McDonalds, Ocean Plaza, but technical difficulties delayed me a while while I struggled to get a 3G connection. Curse you Samsung, curse you!
Anyway, putting my trust in the weathermen, but with dark clouds hovering ominously over Preston, I set off along the rest of the coast road. I even had some success with the Sporting Sail on the far end, but with it secured to my belt this time, not my legs! Pushed through Sector 1 and onto Sector 2 and new stopping point for the Saturday, day 1, Tarleton Library. Stopped for a buttee and to put a poster in the library and back off again. The threat of rain was still there, but it was holding off.
Coming out of Tarleton and back onto the narrow path at the side of the A59, I got a bit over excited at the sight of a bit of a downhill section. My route is mostly pretty flat, so this was a big deal! Had to be careful here because it is very close to the road and the traffic moves pretty fast here. So here was the problem. All the rain we've had here recently has made all the shrubbery and grass grow like mad, and all that has done has made these narrow paths...narrower! I was picking up speed, like you do on a longboard with big ol' 75mm wheels and could see a branch sticking out across the path! Yikes! I was going too fast to bail, just had to brace myself and hope I was going to get through it. I did, but not without getting a load of stings all around my left calf. Ouch! But it could have been MUCH worse!
Just around the bend and bridge the path by the side of the road is still pretty narrow, and every time I got speed up there was a huge kerb to stop and negotiate. This was where I made my most spectacular, ahem, 'dismount' of the day! My mongo footbraking skills deserted me, and I fell back into the bushes, with my board shooting out ahead of me, but fortunately, not towards the road. Very embarrassing but, note made to self, "If in doubt, WALK! It's not worth sending my board out into the road and causing an accident". I'd never forgive myself for that.
I pushed on up to Penwortham and put a couple more posters up in shops. By this time the sun was coming out and the temperature had soared! The long push up the steep hill into Fishergate in Preston was hard and I was feeling the effects of the heat. I was starting to lose my balance a bit and starting with a headache, so once I got to the centre of Preston I decided to quit for the day and go for food at the Weatherspoons. here's my route for the day
View Day 30 Training: Southport to Preston in a larger map
I'd covered a good 21 miles, (not 41 miles like Google Maps says for some reason known only to Google!), which I should be pleased with, but part of me is still wondering if I wimped out on this training and that I should have kept going. I probably could have, but I was also feeling more of a burning in the sole of my pushing foot and didn't see any point in pushing myself into getting blisters, especially not less than three weeks away from my actual Long Push. I got the bus back home, showered and then found myself with enough time to get the Triumph out and do the same journey again, and beyond, to the Monday night bike meet at St. Annes! And give out a couple more Long Push posters at the Fresh Cafe there!
So it was a long day, but good in that I covered my furthest distance since the Blackpool to Southport 39.2 miles. I reckon I've got enough time before the 11th August for one more longish distance training day and then the others will be shorter in the week before. Equipment wise I had no problems today, although I'm going to put a brand new set of the Loaded Jehu bearings into the aluminium cored Orangatang In Heats in the last few days before The Long Push itself. So the next 10 days or so are all about getting everything in place and sorting the last few things out before the 11th comes along faster than I expected.
Full detail of The Long Push final route plan coming very soon.