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Frankie

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Although I will be undertaking this trip solo I do have a ‘chum’.  While scouring the Interweb for useful information I stumbled across:  https://frankburns.wordpress.com/.


As best I can tell, he is NOT Major Frank Burns from the 4077 MASH, but a fellow cyclist from Cambridgeshire who is undertaking the virtually identical journey but starting on Jan 19th.  It seems we are kindred spirits and have BOTH cut the handles off our toothbrushes (a ‘sawn-off’ is the true mark of a serious touring cyclist).

I contacted Frank and he was kind enough to share all of his research including many useful pointers and I hope that, in return, I have helped him a little with my own meagre findings.  Frank is fortunate enough to have a little more time for his trip and it turns out that the day he flies out of Invercargill (bottom of South Island) is THE SAME DAY I am due to arrive there.  At the moment we will miss each other by a few hours but I have a very strong inclination to put the hammer down and get there in time to shake his hand.  This game of chase is completely the wrong way round;  in 2012 Frank managed to ride 10,000 miles while I probably managed only about 1/3 of that figure.  If anyone is fit enough to spend 2 weeks chasing the other it is him not me. 

The goal of catching Frank may be an important motivation for me when the miles are hard, as I fear they will often be.  In the good old days you just turned up and took the miles as they came but then Google invented Street View.  I have sampled the terrain in many places and the results are a bit worrying.  Hills, lots and lots of them.  Against all expectations the worst are on North Island and in that respect it is rather like Land’s End to John O’Groats where all the bad hills are in southern England.  I suppose South Island (like Scotland) is just so rugged that they only built roads where they could find reasonably flat bits. 

My training programme is showing some results – I have lost 7lbs and am managing to clock up 150-200 miles per week, though mostly on the turbo trainer ( a device similar in concept to a hamster wheel whereby you can thrash around on a bike without actually going anywhere).  Opinion among cyclists is divided on the subject of turbo trainers; some people hate them and the rest REALLY hate them!  This instrument of torture is set up in my office (OK…dining room) in full view and I do attract some odd looks from the postman etc. as I thrash and sweat and curse.  NZ may be hilly but I can’t wait to ride for an hour and actually be somewhere OTHER than were I was when I started.

21 days to go, 7lbs to lose!  

Oh yes, and good luck Frank, leave the place tidy for me!

 Steve

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