I’m still plugging away and increasing my weekly distance. I don’t mind admitting to having a few challenges over the last week. Mainly doubting myself as the reality of the distance has started to sink in.
3 Days on the bike, the first being mostly on canal up to Chester, about 60 miles. The 2nd across the North Wales coast on the coastal path which is mostly hard standing and I think about 75 miles. The biggest challenge on day 2 is riding inland from Bangor to Llanberis. Then day 3 is up and down Snowdon.
Actually the Snowdon climb now seems like the easiest part, probably due to the fact that I have already had a practice go and I surprised myself and Anne by getting up and down in 2½ hours.
My longest single ride has been 68km (42 miles) so I need to increase this to 120km  (75 miles) with a target time of 6 hours, which will be equivalent to day 2 of my challenge. Once I’m at this level I just need to maintain it, but will probably push past it so when it comes to the actual challenge I will be really ready to take on the 3 days all together.
My Current Bike
It has become obvious that my current bike is ideal for the Snowdon climb, but not the best bike for the distance stuff. I have been training on canals and roads to get the distance in and managed to get myself behind a road cyclist who was obviously out training and was getting increasingly uncomfortable having a mountain bike behind him. On the flat and up the hills I stayed with him, but on the downhills he just left me standing. This made me think a couple of things.
  1. My bike has big knobbly tyres and weighs loads more than his, yet I’m on his tail. How fast would I be if I was on his bike?
  2. How much less rolling resistance would I have if my tyres where slick?
So I started looking at either upgrading my wheels and tyres so I could swap them to give me an edge. I priced them up and it was looking like to get anything worth having was going to be anywhere between £600 and £800 for a pair, and that would be cheap in the world of wheels.
This lead me to look at the possibility of a 2nd bike, now a road bike would not be ideal as some canal towpaths are not that smooth. So the only option was a Cyclocross bike, which looks like a road bike but can do most things that a mountain bike can do. They start at about £800 and go upwards from there.
A 2nd set of wheels or a 2nd bike! Well the thought of replacing the wheels stopped and the search for the bike began. My price range was between £800 and £1000, for that I would have a bike that weighed a couple of kilos less than my mountain bike but would allow me to go faster and more importantly spend less time in the saddle and save some precious energy.
I decided to visit the local bike shops as my timing was about right. The Cyclocross season had just started and any keen rider would be part exchanging their old steed for the new 2017 models that had come out. I could not find any amazing deals online and not many places add their 2nd hand models to their websites.
It Had To Be Done!!!
You know when you see that something that just needs you to own it. Well it was out of my price range by a few hundred, but to own it would make such a difference, and when you look at what you get for that few hundred extra it just makes absolute sense.
So the question was how can I convince Anne that this is a legitimate purchase that you cannot miss. Now that is going to be tough. I even considered buying it there and then and taking the telling off on the chin. After all she would come round eventually and you would have the bike. Well I went home and just laid my passion out for her to see (passion for the bike) and told her that I nearly bought it there and then. I was stunned when she said go and get it. I new I married the right women right there and then.
So back to the bike shop to collect my new (to me) bike.
It is a Specialized Crux Pro, carbon fibre everything with upgraded wheels and an almost new group set. this bike is 3 years old but has been looked after really well by the previous owner. I suppose when you buy a bike from new that costs upwards of £3500 you will take care of it.
This bike is going to make a massive difference to my riding times. It is the perfect bike to ride through the winter and it is so light, I mean pick up with your little finger light. 
1,2,3, And You Are Back In The Room…..
Thats enough about the bike, today is Wednesday and in 4 days time I face my biggest challenge yet. A while ago I entered a MTB Marathon, thinking it would be a good target for me to focus on with my training.
How fast do these things come around. On Sunday I will be riding 75km (46 miles) in Ruthin which is in North Wales. Now the distance does not bother me because like I wrote earlier I am riding about 68km at the moment. However the total ascent is 2660 metres. let me put that into context for you. 
3 times up Snowdon

Now I have ridden up Snowdon once, and I did alright, but I’m not sure I could ride up it 3 times in a day. As well as do 75km.
I would love to do it on my new bike, but at the time of writing this I have not been out for a ride on it. So to enter a MTB marathon on it may be a bit daft. So I will be sticking to my original bike.
It is going to be hard work, and a lot of fun. So lets see how I get on and I will up date you early next week.
Remember I am doing this for charity and really value your support so if you can help me by spreading the word it would really help.
One Final Word

To my sponsors, Swinnerton Cycles at Birches Valley on Cannock Chase. Thank you for your support over the next 12 months. Mark you are a star.

from my blog