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Less than 3 weeks to go – training update

September 21, 2009

A marathon, a half iron-man and a quick swim across the channel….all in a weekend. Who said I hadn’t been doing enough training? 

OK, I lied about the marathon, and the half iron-man….and the swim. But I did go for a bike ride in the Surrey Hills, and it was beautiful.  Those of you I have spoken to about my “training regime” will know that my philosophy has been “laissez faire”, that I plan to get fit on the route.  After all, there seems no point in getting oneself into peak physical shape for a 14 month cycle ride. I am not trying to break any speed records. All I need to do is get to Australia in time for the Ashes. I say all I need to do…..

I have been doing the odd bit of training. Apart from a 9 day two-wheeled jaunt to Paris in April with friend Laura, I have secretly put in a few miles on my old mountain bike – don’t tell anyone though!  But was I ready for “The Killer Loop,” a 28 mile off-road route taking in Box and Leith Hills, which I’m told are the highest hills in Southern England? If I wasn’t ready then I was in a spot of bother.

four sweaty men and their bikes

Four Sweaty Men and their Wheels

It was a great day. I haven’t forgotten how much I used to love mountain biking, but I certainly haven’t done enough of it in recent years.  I urge you to load the car up with a few bikes, get down to Dorking train station, park the car, and have a great day exploring the stunning and unexpected countryside less than an hour from London.  The ride was really tough, and it seemed we were forever climbing, so we split it in half with a bowl of pasta and a nap on the lawn of a village pub at lunch time.  You may notice in the photo opposite that my bike is the only one without front suspension, meaning that as we hurtled down hill after bumpy, rutted hill, my wrists took a beating. This is something that I’m hoping won’t happen with the new bike – details of the bike sponsorship deal will emerge right here in the next couple of days…she really is a beauty. 

Anyway, thanks to Dan, Dan and Pete for excellent company on the ride at the weekend!

On a separate note, I will be writing for a number of publications during the journey, and Cycling To The Ashes’ first appearance on the Wisden Cricketer blog ( will come very soon. If you’re a cricket fan, keep an eye out. If you’re not a cricket fan, become one and then keep an eye out.  I hope you enjoy them.

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