21 Jun Training for the Elevation Challenge
Getting fit for an expedition like the Elevation Challenge can seem like a huge task, and although Ben and I try to keep in shape, we both knew that a 5,000km cycle and then a 5642m climb meant that we would have to take our fitness levels to the next level.
Somewhat surprisingly, Ben started his training with Hot Yoga. Whilst attempting to keep up with me on a late night run, he managed to run into a car, and unfortunately damaged his knee. The physiotherapist prescribed a month of stretching sessions, so Bikram Yoga was the way forward.
I wanted to get on the bike as much as possible. Before our touring bikes arrived, I often found myself in the LSE Gym, catching up on my netflix whilst spending hours getting cycle fit.
However, the arrival from Halfords of our Cinelli Bootleg Hobos heralded the end of the gym sessions. We began to take on the slightly terrifying adventure of London cycling.
Learning to navigate the rush hour traffic is all part of the fun, and once we had become comfortable overtaking the London Bus, we began to enjoy the experience. It’s a great way to see the capital and our training has taken us all across the city.
Ben’s post exam family holiday to Lanzarote presented an opportunity to train in a renowned cycling area under realistic temperature conditions. Renting a road bike, he managed to get in several long sessions out in the sun, and whilst it wasn’t the forty degrees plus we will have to face in Turkey, it was certainly a more testing environment then that of the UK.
Curving climbs and deep descents negotiate the elevated volcanic centre of the island, and when the long and flat straights that exist further towards the edges are added into the equation, it is easy to see why the island is a favourite for cyclists.
The UK’s distinct lack of 5,000m mountains did make our preparation for the climb slightly less straightforward. We decided that walking about in our mountaineering boots would not quite cut it. Ben went on a the Conville Trust winter skills course, whilst I took myself off to the National Mountaineering Centre Plas y Brenin on their Alpine Preparation Course
Situated deep within the Snowdonia countryside, Plas Y Brenin is blessed with some of the most amazing views in the country. It is a fantastic organisation which has inspired many young people to explore the wilderness, and this is an aim that Ben, I and Big Change are all passionate about.
Our training consists now of long bike rides, gym sessions and stretching, with a high calorie and protein diet. From the 1000 squat challenges to cycling up and down Highgate Hill, hopefully we are in the right shape to make it to the summit of Mt Elbrus!