12 Days to go! Camino de Santiago preparation.

12 days left on the counter! Have you registered your email address for the ongoing prep and progress updates yet? (prep and progress? Catchy!)

So I’ve got to the stage where parts are arriving daily for the bike. I’m rekindling my love for this sport and in doing so realised that a lot of my kit was wearing out anyway. Like the cleats for my pedals. I needed new shoes but in transferring the cleats across realised the metal on most of the surfaces needed to grip the pedal had just worn away. At £15 for new cleats and only £40 for new pedals plus cleats it was a no-brainer, now because of the extra set of pedals all my bikes have pedals and I’ve got general shoes plus winter boots with cleats. Sorted.

I’ve also bought something I was very conscious I didn’t have with me last time. A spare rear mech hanger for my bike. At £15 for a small bit of aluminium it’s so vital it’s stupid not to have it. It’s the weak link between your gears and your frame. If something snaps you need it to be that. The only issue is you can’t replace it with a generic part, it would take a week on mail order from a shop on the Camino and won’t be in any bike shop on the shelf.

Brake pads. The cannondale runs hydraulic disc brakes and I remember a little brake fade on the long decent to the coast last time I was in that area so this time (and because on the last ride I finally finished off the rear brake grinding metal to metal!) I’ve bought and fitted new pads. Just debating whether to bleed them or not.

I’ve gathered all my bike tools together and am condensing them down to one tool, for example, my Allen keys fold out from the housing which then doubles as a handle, I’ve noticed my bike has torx drives but only in a few sizes, so I’m getting rid of the screwdriver bits and replacing them with torx to save the weight of taking too many tools with bits that my bike doesn’t need. Plus I’ll have my leatherman so I can go all bushman and survive off the land at any point……

I’ve got spare spokes but I wish I had a thread cutter in that size, I’d just take the longest spoke and wind a load of thread onto it so that if I need a small spoke I can just cut it to length. Something for the future maybe.

I bought a cheap waterproof jacket for the manchester Blackpool trip. My old trusted raceface jacket is just not waterproof anymore. The rubberised backing to the fabric has peeled off and I’m fed up of spraying it with waterproofing spray. I saw and bought a cheap poncho. I’ve seen photographs of cyclists wearing these and fancy the idea of being dry underneath, like a bike umbrella! just hope it’s not windy.

I’ve plotted the route on map source for garmin. The software I have is antiquated and only has the main roads, in fact I think the software pre-dates the camino…. The last blog post was my jubilant outburst at having completed it. Only took three days!

I’ve finally bought a point-and-shoot camera. Something I’m not afraid to take anywhere unlike the rest of my camera kit. It’s got HD video too so look out for YouTube diarys! (maybe not….. Hmmmm, maybe!)

I’m still playing with ideas on food to take. We drive to Stanstead from 04:30am and arrive at St Jean all being well around 08:30pm. Without chance to gather supply’s we’ll be straight into the ride the next day so I’d like a ration of useful food with me. Going with gels and flapjacks (home made by “Ma Hemans”) in other words I’ll be giving the ingredients to my wife and the kids will taste test them, I’ll measure their effectiveness by the amount they climb the walls compared to usual. much cheaper than shop bought energy bars and very similar ingredients to ensure GI balance and burn (balance and burn? Catchy!)

I’ll leave you with a list of must see places for the Camino Frances I found ages ago. I’ve no idea of the source so if it’s yours I apologise for not attributing and will do if you email me the link!

20 highlights of the Camino Frances de Santiago.

• Roncesvalles’s awesome historic monastery-refuge
• Pamplona’s bull-running culture
• Ridgetop views west of it
• Eunate’s odd church
• Puente de la Reina’s historic bridge
• Cirauqui’s original Roman road surface and bridge
• Free wine fountain at Irache
• Parkland outside Logroño
• Storks in sandstone cliffs at Najera
• Hens in the church at Santa Domingo de la Calzada
• Burgos centre
• View from ridge overlooking Hornillos
• Romanesque church at Fromista
• Ancient bridge at Hospital de Orbega
• Maragatos villages
• Abandoned mountaintop village of Foncebadón and downhill after
• Mountaintop village of O Cebreiro with ancient thatched huts
• Descent after it to moved-and-rebuilt reservoir town of Porto Marin
• Farming villages around Ligonde
• Arriving at Santiago de Compostela

This blog: Tony Hemans and Glen Eccles cycled the Camino Frances from St jean Pied de Port in France to Santiago de Compostela covering 845km in 6 days in October 2012.  If you are trying to get fit, planning an adventure, long distance cyclist or just curious about my mid-life crisis then subscribe and share!

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