Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Seriously knackered!

Helen here: Well, nearly at the end of our training and I’m not convinced I’ll ever be ready for this challenge. I did a big push this weekend cycling about 60 miles across the South Downs on Saturday and over 30 miles to and around Richmond Park on Sunday. My thighs are still feeling it 2 days later! How I’m going to keep it up for 5 consecutive days I don’t know. Certainly don’t think I’ll be very sociable on the trip as all I can do when I’m not on a bike is sleep (and eat like a horse).

Just 3 days to go now until we fly out. I’m winding the training down (only cycling into work each day) and planning to rest after tomorrow. Also getting together all the necessary equipment: blister plasters, pain killers, diarrhoea tablets – they’re all on the list. Sounds like a great trip, doesn’t it?!

Like Will, I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who has sponsored me. Your support has been fantastic – I’m sure £13,000 will help get computers to a lot of Kenyan children.

And if you haven’t sponsored us yet, there’s still time to do so here - .

Monday, January 29, 2007

Sponsorship pouring in...

Will writes... Thanks to everybody who is sponsoring us still - it's much appreciated and we're getting closer to our target. (You can donate or keep up with our fundraising efforts here.)

Thanks to the guys at MessageLabs who have now sponsored us, and to people digging deep in their own pockets, such as my mate Simon who weighed in with a very generous £200 which his employer, CA, is kindly going to match. Thanks also to the lovely MacLaverty family who've chipped in with £200. That takes us over the £13,000 - and we must stress that, thanks to the generosity of our bosses at CNET Networks UK who have covered all our costs, the vast majority of that money will be going directly to Computer Aid International.

Nearly there...

There's no getting away from it... we're but four days from heading to Kenya. With our training over, it's now time to rest up and get on with the less strenuous preparations such as packing, buying insect repellant and taking anti-malaria pills (which should be fun, side-effects permitting...)

So I find myself lying awake asking whether I've done enough training - it's too late now if I haven't. Four laps of Richmond Park was pretty easy on Saturday and I felt as though I could have kept going but for the descent of thousands of fun-runners and some kind of cross country championships.

For the first time in several weeks I also saw the famed deer in Richmond Park. But deer in a freezing cold and blustery Richmond Park is a far cry from what we can expect in a roasting hot Kenya next week. Though dodging dogs running across my path could prove useful practice.

I was delighted to hear from our team doctor this morning, filling me in on what we can expect next week... in the worst case scenario none of it sounds fun. He didn't have to tell me about the saddle sore though... after weeks and weeks of training I'm very familiar with that particular problem and will be enjoying my 'week off' this week if for no other reason than because my backside will not be anywhere near a bike saddle until Saturday morning.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Find us on ZDNet UK Blog too...

Exactly a week till we go now and time for some last minute training. I have mostly been hitting the gym this week as the weather has been miserable here and actually as the air-conditioning in the gym is pretty crap, it's almost hot enough to simulate conditions in Kenya (that is my excuse and I am sticking to it).

Interestingly we have been asked to pack rain-coats for the trip which is not what I was expecting but then again we will probably be grateful for some rain during one of our 90km slogs.

Will probably make it out for a long ride at the weekend - but four laps of Richmond Park last weekend means I am kind of fed-up of my usual training circuit so may head East this time -- maybe Hammersmith to Docklands or something like it.

Got to take my first anti-malaria tablet next week so get to see how it affects me - hopefully one of the side-effects will be massively increased stamina and instant Matrix-like bike mechanic skills but I'd settle for not throwing up!

I am going to be mirroring this blog on my other work blog on ZDNet UK which you can see here. We are going to be doing some video diaries and other articles and it's easier to integrate it all together using the ZD blog system.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

Who'd have thought all this training would be tough?

I can honestly say I've never been so tired. The 6am, starts are beginning to take their toll. Walking across Tower Bridge this morning in the wind and rain, in order to get to the gym I felt the definite twinges of somebody's will power being sorely tested. But there's not long to go now and I think being well prepared will be well worth it once we're over in Kenya - though at the moment the idea of 30 degree heat seems a million miles away.

Currently I'm using these weekday mornings to get on the exercise bike and do an hour or so before work, I'm also doing a lot of leg weights... and then another hour at lunchtime. While getting out on my bike during the week isn't easy, replicating the stresses and strains we might be put through in the artificial environs of the gym isn't much easier. However, the legs are aching so I'm taking that as a sign that some of this training is sinking in.

As we get into the final few weeks now there are some logistics to take care of. I had all my jabs on Tuesday and am putting in for my visa next week. All that will be left to do then is some final training rides over the coming three weekends, more time in the gym and then a week of resting up ahead of the off. Sounds easy when I put it like that. (posted by Will)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Less than a month to go

Aching legs, vaccination-punctured arms, we're all feeling the strain and we haven't even started the challenge yet. However the training schedule is beginning to bite now with around three weeks to go, the realisation that we have to cycle about 90kms a day for six days is hitting home. We're trying to ride as much during the week as possible which mostly means to work and back as the short winter days preclude much else but the weekends are when we can really do some long rides to try and get our bodies ready for the shock of 400 km across African roads.
I (andrew) managed to do some biking over Xmas while visting my parents but the -10 degree conditions of rural France probably wasn't great conditioning for the +30 degrees we're likely to find in Kenya.

Similarly, a New Years spent in the Brecon Beacons seemed to offer the chance for some real hill climbing action but the impressive persistent rain – it didn't stop for four days straight – meant that one soggy 20 miler was all that I managed.

Pool comp nets £550

Big thanks to all CNET staff who took part in a recent pool competition and raffle. Congrats to the raffle winner Roshan Gonsalkorale who also looked set to win the pool comp too until he was knocked out by the eventual overall winner Timothy Buisson. Both winners received an iPod for their troubles.

The latest event brings us closer to being able to supply our own CNET shipping container of re-furbished PCs which will make a massive difference to the lives of the local children in Kenya.