Two weeks until Cuba! I am feeling woefully un-cycle fit considering the hours we will be putting in on the saddle. Oh how hard it is to motivate yourself in winter!
Last weekend I went out for a 57 mile ride with a great group of friends. I loved it, despite my frozen feet, but I did struggle. I know that the cold always makes me weaker on the bike. My body expends so much energy attempting to keep warm that it cannot operate as well as it should.
I am hopeful that the heat in Cuba will mean easier riding for me out there. I am also hopeful that we will be riding at a nice steady speed. When I was struggling last weekend Jamie thought that 18-19mph was a good speed to cycle at! In Cuba I want to drink it all in; the lush scenery, the people, the wildlife, the entire experience.
I would be lying if I said I was not at all cycle fit. I cycle to work often, go on a longer bike ride most weeks and somehow cycled from London to Paris in 24 hours a few months ago. However, I certainly could be stronger.
Hopefully yogalates classes are helping. They are certainly strengthening my core and using muscles I didn’t know I had. The running will be doing some good too. But I think a huge chunk of my fitness will be gained whilst on the road in Cuba.
We have bought our panniers and pannier bags as well as lots of bike bits for spares and repairs. It doesn’t add up to the light weight packing we were hoping for. My sister tells me that there are cycle shops on our route but they don’t necessarily have the parts we need, just the skills. This means we will be lugging a lot more weight behind us than we are used to.
My road bike might not be full carbon but it’s pretty light. It’s going to be a shock to the system dragging all our possessions along. I guess I had better only take one pair of high heels on the trip!
My sleeping patterns have been even more haywire than usual the past week. It’s not hard to work out why. I am quite anxious about plans. I like to know what time things are happening, where I need to be etc. So, as much as I am enjoying the winging it part of this trip, my anxious little mind is not.
In the back of my mind is also the flying. I flipping hate flying. Strange for someone who loves to travel so much. A few years ago I spent six weeks visiting Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and India. There were nine different flights in this six weeks, some long haul, some short. You might think I would be over my phobia after that. You would be wrong.
Each time I fly my poor palms take a battering as my nails dig deeply into them. But I will never let it stop me travelling. The fear is worth it.
I do feel as though we have friends in Cuba already. We are staying with Oscar in Holguin when we arrive and before we leave the country. We also have a lovely place to stay in Baracoa; with Roberto and Manuel at Villa Paradiso. The pictures on their Facebook alone are enough to make me want to be there right now!
Whether we are truly ready or not this trip is happening! If we are not organised we will still get there and we will still have an amazing time. This would not be a true adventure if there was no uncertainty!