Angela Kirwin, 28, Dual Diagnosis Lead – HM Prisons from London, won a place on Deloitte RAB in Outdoor Fitness magazine. It will be her biggest cycling challenge to date.

In April I started cycling EVERYWHERE… until my bike was stolen! Within 24 hours the offenders I work with kindly offered to find me a moody replacement, but I politely declined, swallowed back the tears and set up my fundraising web page to raise money for the Prince’s Trust, who do amazing work rehabilitating ex-offenders. My wonderful friend, Jenny, also offered me a long term loan of her almost new bike and within 48 hours I was back on the road!

I’ve started to log some longer rides now, combining a visit to friends in Bristol with a 110 mile ride, followed by 85 miles over Bristol and Bath’s finest hills as a return journey. 

my new bike

My new bike!

Putting some running into my training

It wouldn’t have been April without a little bit of the London Marathon thrown into training. After failing to get a place (again) I cycled the route at 2am before running the route in reverse at 4am to finish in Greenwich just as the elites were lacing up. Running probably isn’t the best training for Deloitte RAB but I do believe that developing mental strength will be vital when it comes to the ride. Cycling and running the London Marathon route when it’s raining, there are no crowds to cheer you on, you won’t get a medal and you are all alone in Deptford at 6am helps to prepare the mind for what I am starting to realise will be some tough days on the road.

marathon

Mile one of the London Marathon

My running coach at Chasing Lights Collective has had me working on core stability and correcting issues with my pelvis, glutes and hamstrings since January and I have really noticed this paying off now I’m clocking longer rides on the bike. By May, I really noticed the improvements I’d made when I joined the Threshold team on the 185 miles, two day Dulux Trade London Revolution ride. The weather was perfect, the challenge just challenging enough and the organisation was perfect. I loved every minute of it and it gave me a really good feel for what Deloitte Ride Across Britain will be like, allowing me to practice my food and fuelling on the bike, my morning routine and, perhaps most importantly for me, my bike handling skills on skinny tyres. I’m slow but I made it up all the hills without having to get off and push and even managed to smile up most of them too.

At the start line of Dulux Trade London Revolution

The Dulux Trade London Revolution also allowed me to test out the set up on my borrowed bike. I haven’t been able to get it quite right because of the injury around my pelvis and regardless of how high or low I have the saddle one of my knees always ends up in quite serious pain after a long ride.  I’ve taken the plunge and booked a proper bike fit for next week so by the time you next hear from me, I should be perfectly fitted. The next month will involve clocking some seriously long miles at the weekends whilst pushing speed and strength in spin classes midweek. The fear that there are just under 100 days to go until LEJOG is a huge motivating factor now and I know I just need to get my head down and follow the plan from now on.

If you would like to donate, here is my JustGiving page: www.justgiving.com/Angela-Kirwin1 

Follow my training updates on my Instagram @akaall and my coach @chasing19 or @chasinglightscollective

 

Read about Angela and her reasons for entering Deloitte Ride Across Britain in her first blog post