South Downs Way – final prep

As is usual the calendar has rolled by and I’ve run out of time to improve my strength and fitness. I don’t seem to have done the miles that I usually do. Let’s hope that less ok more holds true. I have, however, dotted just about all of the “Is” and crossed all of the “Ts” in preparation.
The major things were my break off the bike , the Scott Spark RC 900 World Cup and the personal trainer (it worked for N1NO). I’ve worked on nutrition and even tested shorts. Tyres have been changed for tougher versions as what is the point of having the fastest wheels if you puncture? I’ve got a better helmet Scott Centric and even got a K-Edge Garmin mount.
There is one thing that I have been doing for month’s and that is to visualise every climb and section. I used to do this as a windsurfer and I know it works. I’d visualise a manoeuvre sometimes for month’s before the day arrived with the right wind and waves.

I’d seen my toes, knees, the droplets of water on my thigh, the spray in my face, the sun, the muscle pain in my arms….. everything in HD slo-mo perfection. Each time no matter how hard I’d pull it off. No problem. Job done.
I’m doing the same with the South Downs Way. I run through every bit on the OS map or Google Earth. Nothing will faze me on the day, no climb too long or too steep. However, I do not know the first section: Winchester to QECP. All I know is it’s the fastest and easiest bit where I can make up a 30 minute safety buffer. It is also an add on so it lacks the flow of the rest that follows the spine of the South Downs. It’s poorly marked, zig-zags all over the place and it is easy to take a wrong turn. I don’t get it. So today I’m getting the train over to ride it. Then I will be able to “visualise “ and ensure my 30 minute buffer without wasting any energy need for the finish.

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