This week I went back to work after 12 days off. I must admit that the first day back after being on annual leave is always difficult to get up for. It generally means getting up at 0630 ish and I am not by any means a morning person. I don’t think I really ever have been and I reckon it usually takes me a good hour to wake up properly. It’s especially hard when the sun doesn’t rise until later which only compounds my problem of getting out of bed!
Winter is a season that I do generally enjoy however and in the past year I tried to make an effort to try and learn how to ski. Whilst I am still very much a beginner I can actually turn and stop which for me is quite an achievement. Skiing is something that I would like to get better at and I would like to get back out on the slopes sometime soon this winter. I took lessons at the Snowfactor at the Braehead Arena in Glasgow which seemed reasonably priced and it gives you the chance to learn indoors on real snow. I took the 4 hour fast track lesson which covers most of the basics and by the end of the 4 hours we were introduced to the main slope. I definitely need a lot more practice if I am going to improve at all so a trip to one of the Scottish ski resorts or back to Snowfactor has to be worked into the coming weeks and months! I am keen to go ice climbing again too. I went ice climbing in Kinlochleven (a town near Glen Coe) a couple of years ago and I really enjoyed it. I suppose its a somewhat strange sport to get into but the centre in Kinlochleven is fantastic and there is also an ice wall at Snowfactor. They are fairly accessible and I didn’t think that it was overly expensive! Anyway, I have gotten sidetracked!
Having spent some more time looking at the North Coast 500 route I think I may make a trip up north at some point before the actual trip to get some scouting in on the roads. I am really keen to get up there and cycle the pass over to Applecross which will be without a doubt one of the hardest climbs I have ever tackled on my bike. Given that during the North Coast 500 I will be taking on that climb after around 100KM on the bike I reckon it is probably sensible to head up do some training on the roads on that area and take on the climb itself. I think that will allow me to judge where my fitness is at and allow me to make any adjustments in my training plan that I need to. My preparation for all of my different challenges is going to be really important especially the ability to recover quickly and tackle multiple long days of exertion. The date for the North Coast 500 isn’t definite but I am aiming to ride it around the 8th of July. My holidays for April and beyond should be released by the end of this month or early February at the latest and as soon as I have them I will be confirming everything in my diary. I am really looking forward to being able to firm everything up and share it all with you. It feels like a while since I decided to start this challenge and I told you all that I was just waiting on my holidays! Unfortunately I am still waiting but it shouldn’t be too much longer now! As the saying goes – ‘Good things come to those who wait’. I really hope that this is true!
I am sure that you can all sympathise with the back to work blues and I do definitely experience them if I am honest. But on the flip side, I am lucky to have a job that on the whole I enjoy and which has given me a number of fantastic opportunities. They have been incredibly supportive from the minute that I told them about my plans and I am always extremely thankful for that! This coming Saturday I am going to be doing a bit of work with Cancer Research UK as part of a press release for World Cancer Day on the 4th of February. The day is billed as a ‘photoshoot’ but I just keep telling myself it’s for a few photos! If you have ever met me you will know that I am by no means a model! But I am keen to be involved and if it helps promote World Cancer Day and gets some more people on board and willing to support my challenge then I am all for it.
With World Cancer Day now fast approaching I would ask that you help support Cancer Research UK in one incredible ‘Act of Unity’ by purchasing and wearing a ‘Unity Band’ in support of those who have suffered and those are currently suffering from cancer. The recommended donation is £2 albeit you can donate more if you would like (The pictures below shows what they look like!). The more people get on board and help discuss cancer and it the need for continuing research and funding will hopefully bring forward that the day that we make all cancers curable.
Taking on the 3 peaks challenge is also going to form part of my summer. Planning is in its very earliest stages but it is something that I definitely want to complete. I think I might be able to convince some others to come along with me so we will maybe have a small team to attempt this challenge. I reckon summer is the best time to go for it though using the longer days and nicer weather to our advantage. Saying that, there is every chance that it could rain through an entire attempt during the summer, we’ll just have to take it as it comes.
Have a look out for the press release in the coming week with Cancer Research UK, hopefully it will help boost the reach of my challenge and help raise more vital money for this charity.
“Where there is unity there is always victory” – Publius Syrus