I mentioned in EyesUp Rolling #1 that cyclists seem to hang out in cafes early in the mornings. In fact you could be forgiven for wondering if some of them have actually ridden anywhere at all before the coffee stop, perhaps they just put on the lycra and pottered down to the end of the street for that first morning fix. But the fact is stopping for coffee is an essential part of the cycling ritual. It’s that moment you get to reflect on your ride, relax for a moment and of course whip out your phone and analyse every section you’ve covered on Strava.
I’ve known several keen cyclists over recent years – and a number of them are massive coffee drinkers. This always surprised me as I assumed the amount of exercise cyclists get through meant a constant flow of happy endorphin hormones would make caffeine irrelevant.
It’s taken me into my 7th week of hard training to realise that when you ride a bike this much, coffee is not only a nice habit, it’s an absolute necessity. In fact on big training days I suddenly realised the words “double shot please” were starting to roll off my tongue as easily as “I’d love another glass of champagne thank you” usually does. The fact is, training this hard is bloody tiring and some days caffeine is all that is going to keep you upright. I’ve actually worked out that stopping for a quick double espresso two thirds through a hilly training ride gets me home pretty nicely – follow up with my energy gel of choice, a couple of Clif bloks which surprise surprise, have added caffeine… and it’s downhill all the way.
Whilst out on the road struggling through a long hill ride this week, I reflected on the experience of one of the people I’ll be riding for in the Tour 200, Steve. He had just turned 40 when he was diagnosed with a melanoma, which he thought nothing of and had removed in almost routine fashion – but it had spread and was particularly resistant to treatment. He had 2 boys similar ages to my own, and was just expecting twins with his beautiful wife – they were renovating their home to fit the expanding family. Steve played the hand he had been dealt. He was realistic about his situation, but eternally optimistic, never afraid to discuss the real details but determined to live every moment. He tried organic food, yoga, and signed up for experimental treatments where offered. I have no doubt these extended his life so he saw his daughters turn 2; but undergoing those treatments no doubt also contributed to better outcomes for future patients. This is why funding research is so important.
For every cancer patient and their loved ones, there are different angles to each story. But as a friend, I saw from a distance the amount of pain and tiredness he went through during treatments and as he became less and less well. How it was a struggle to do the things he used to do, how his family had to adjust around him. This is why funding for grass roots cancer charities providing support for patients and their families is so important.
Right now I am fortunate to have a supportive family, good health and the opportunity to raise funds to make a difference. It is hard work but a small sacrifice for a few weeks – so please take a minute to donate to my Tour 200 page – I’m nearly half way to my target with 6 weeks to go so every bit helps!
EyesUp remaining Wide Open thanks to the double shots……