What a difference a day makes!

The relentless countdown to my Tech Bikers Paris to London charity bike ride continues. We plan to raise £100,000 for Room to Read, but right now my focus is on just getting to the end! My concerns about a very real physical lack of preparation have been rather dominant so far.

But for the first time since starting this blog I have actually felt a weight lifted from my shoulders and a sense of optimism.

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Ness Knight – Endurance Adventurer

Spending an afternoon with Ness Knight can do that to you. I previously mentioned the privileged position I’m in with WatchFit and the fact it gives me access to our incredible ‘family’ of health, fitness, nutrition, training experts and sports people all over the world – some of whom are kindly advising me on how I go from a standing start to being in decent enough condition to tackle a 325km weekend bike ride!

Just being in the company of Ness immediately brought a comforting sense of perspective to my impending challenge. Her numerous achievements are incredible. Just two of them are:

First woman in history to swim the length of The Thames River

First woman in history to stand up paddle board 1,000 miles

Oh yes, and four days after hopping off her paddle board she climbed on a bike and rode right across the USA!

“When I did that ride, not only had I just SUP’d 1,000 miles, but I’d not really ridden a bike for about five years and even then it had only to potter around and do things like ride out for a picnic.

“After day one I literally could not get of the bike. I’d totally seized up on it. I more or less had to lean to one side and fall off it. Days 1-3 were like that and it was torture. But the body has the capacity to adapt incredibly quickly even to quite extreme things”.

Fascinating to hear and a great leveller. I’m worrying about not having put in the miles for 325km of riding and here is somebody who’d done no prep work at all before cycling across the vastness of America having just paddled the equivalent of the length of Great Britain plus 125 miles!

Having said that it was uncomfortable to hear how she had got stuck in an almost rigor mortis state at the end of the first day and this continued for the first three days. My ride is only three days long…

parisa louie ness knight watchfit“So you mean I could be reduced to an agonized waxwork-like figure trapped as a freeze frame of a cyclist for the whole duration?

“No don’t worry, providing you do something beforehand you will be fine”.

“But I only have two weeks left. Might it be too late for anything meaningful?”

“Not at all,” assured Ness. “The body has the most extraordinary capacity to adapt, particularly if you have known good fitness and conditioning in the past. Just fire it up, get it functioning and it will quickly follow. Believe me, something is better than nothing and just make sure that something is as effective as possible”.

This is encouraging. So all may not be lost…

Ness then talked me through a detailed HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) programme that she would apply in the remaining time frame. All of which is designed to ‘shock’ the body whilst having the room to ramp up the intensity by around 10%. Concentration must be on a dynamic activation of my glutes and quads.

And as luck would have it, WatchFit has recently published a few glutes based workout articles by some great trainers, so I’m not short of good reference material!

I’m aiming for short and sharp, activating key muscles, taking them into an intense burn and shocking my body into what it is going to have to cope with on September 18th. And hopefully I won’t have to be chiseled off my bike and carried away on our arrival in London on September 20th!

The true value in working with Ness Knight has perhaps been more mental than physical. If I should start faltering, just thinking about some of what she has pushed herself through and succeeded in should be more than enough to buck my ideas up!

Read more about Ness Knight here with part 1 and part 2 of our Expert Interviews.

Check out the rest of my journey in Part 1, Part 2 and Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 and Part 7

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