Wednesday, 21 September 2011

A surprise weigh-in

This morning after breakfast I decided to step on the scales just out of interest, to see whether my weight has changed since I last weighed in.  I haven't really noticed any difference visually, but Anny said that I was much skinnier since I came back from climbing Kilimanjaro.

Well it seems that Anny is right.  Before I left to Rwanda I was 79kg, and now I am weighing in at 77.6kg even after just finishing my breakfast.  This is great news for the up and coming cycle ride as power to weight ratio will be very important when crossing over the Andes.

It is very easy to explain why the weight loss occurred.  In Rwanda, DR Congo and Tanzania I didn't consume any processed foods at all.  Everything was natural and fruit and vegetables replaced the processed foods that I usually consume.  Climbing Kilimanjaro must have burned a few calories too, but the cook did his best to make sure I didn't lose any weight during the climb.

If I am 77.6kg now, I am predicting that when I finish the bike tour I will be under 75kg, which will put my body fat % down towards 10%.  That would be a great racing weight to maintain for the marathon des sables next year.  The only thing I have to be careful of is spending xmas with Anny's family in Peru.  I have already been warned that is rude to turn down offers of food in Peru, so I guess I will just have to make sure that I try at least a small portion of everything, although I will try to make sure I don't try too much.

A racing weight of 75kg and a body fat % of around 10% would make my dreams of a top 100 placing in the MDS a little more realistic.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Purchasing bits and pieces for the Vuelta Sudamericana 2011

Good morning folks,

Well I still have a bit of a cold at the moment, so I have had to take a few days rest.  In the meantime I have been buying the equipment I need for the Vuelta Sudamericana 2011 bike ride.  I bought a really cool tent - the Exped Polaris II.  It is a single layer expedition tent, so much quicker to erect than a typical double layer tent.  It is also extremely light, although this is not so important this time, as it will be transported on the trucks and not by me.  Still nice to have a super light tent though, as maybe in the future it will be me that needs to carry it.

I also bought a new sleeping bag.  The one I used on Kilimanjaro went down to minus 10.  But on a couple of nights I was wearing clothes and still freezing.  I decided I would purchase something that is comfortable at below minus 10 and not on its limit at that temperature.  South America is not known for being freezing cold, and it is spring/ summer, but the altitude factor will come into play quite a lot.  Many times we will be camping at between 3,000 and 4,000m above sea level.  At those kinds of altitude it can certainly drop below freezing.  Also I may decide to build another snow cave one of these days and then I will need something seriously warm.  So the one I bought is the Wraith SL, made by Mountain Hardwear.  It has a comfort rating down to minus 29, so that is seriously extreme.  It means that I will be snug in my sleeping bag whatever happens outside.

We are not meant to bring hard suitcases with us, as space in the transport truck is limited.  So we were requested to bring soft bags instead, that can be compacted down as necessary.  I purchased a 140L bag so that should give me enough space for all my stuff without my clothes getting too squashed.  I always have a habit of bringing too many clothes so I am going to try to limit myself to 5 shirts, 5 T-shirts, 5 trousers, a couple of jumpers/ fleeces and 10 pairs of underwear and socks and my cycling clothes.  With regular washing that should be enough to last 3 months, although I can always buy a few more items of clothing out there if needed.

The only things remaining that I need to purchase are additional cycling clothes, and hiking trousers for doing the Inca trail after the bike ride finishes.  I will try to get those today. I currently only have one pair of cycling shorts and I figure that I need at least 3 sets of cycling clothes so that I am not constantly "ripe".  The cycling shorts I have at present are made by Aesos and designed for long distance riders.  They are seriously comfortable and I will probably go for 2 more pairs of those.

Well I am off now, as I need to disassemble my bike and put it into the box that the bike shop is providing me with.  Enjoy your day wherever you may be and I will be posting more updates shortly.