Rides v journeys – the secret to 2018?


Me, actually taken during the Cinglés du Mont-Ventoux in 2015 but evocative of a journey?

Thinking about challenges for next year, I had a bit of an epiphany – I do quite a few bike rides (and enjoy them enormously) but I do very few journeys by bike. I think that might be the secret to 2018’s challenge.

To explain, I think the distinction is, broadly, that a ride starts and finishes at point A, with a number of miles in between, whereas journeys go from A to somewhere else – perhaps to B or perhaps to Z via B, C, D etc.

I don’t know whether commuting to work and back is a ride or two journeys but, being retired, it’s a merely academic point for me.

Thinking about it, I’ve only really done two journeys – one back from Newbury (42k) after a weekend with friends and one back from Bournemouth (132k) after another weekend away – both times while Mrs Omil drove back.

Even my Etape in 2013 was a circuit from Annecy and back!

Of course journeys, like rides, come in all shapes and sizes. I’ve been following the Transcontinental Race over the last few weeks and have loved it – but I have just about enough sanity left to realise that it would be well beyond me in 2018. Instead, I’m thinking of a journey to the alps next July for my annual cycling week.

Current thinking suggests an unsupported trip, sleeping rough or in hotels booked en route and done in about 4 or 5 days. Preliminary thoughts would suggest cycling to Portsmouth for the ferry to Le Havre on day 1 (150km) and then the remaining 800km in the next 3 or 4 days. At the end of that I’ll know if the Transcontinental Race is always going to be beyond me.

Only on last month’s everesting have I ever ridden beyond 250k in a day. I’ve never done successive days anywhere near that distance nor have I ever slept rough. This could be a bit of a challenge – but that’s the general aim, I suppose.

I have always regarded Philip as the maddest among my group of cyclist friends – I’ve just realised that I’ve taken over that role.

[Post Script – I rode about 550 miles (880km from Portsmouth to the alps in 84 elapsed hours in July 2018. It was hard but glorious!]

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