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Gary Lambert continues his blog, with only a few days to go before the big ride…

Well the time for playing around is over. I have a few days to go before the big ride starts. I’m happy with my preparation so far but I still want to fit in another 100 miles or so before we hit the canal. The biggest improvement in my cycling has come by accident. I managed to put my bike in the wrong gear and i felt a huge difference. So now I’ve opened my mind to the prospect of using all of my gears rather than just four out of twenty eight. The verbal abuse has also reduced for some reason – which really is a bonus as I can focus on pedalling rather than hitting them with a cutting, witty retort which they’ll never hear.
I really wanted to have got more mileage done though over the last few weeks but I’m struggling with the Seasonal Affected Disorder element of my condition. Looking out the window from my station in bed drains every bit of motivation out of me and I can do nothing at times except lie there. I know a lot of people get a feeling of apathy when the skies turn from a brilliant blue to gunmetal grey, but this is far beyond that.  I find that I don’t think “I can’t really be bothered going to work today” but instead it is more a case of “I can’t move”, until the last minute when I end up rushing around like the ‘leaving for the airport’ scene in Home Alone.  Even if I get out of bed early so that I can drive my mum to work, when I come home I end up lying on the couch in the foetal position until it gets to the mad ten minutes before i have to leave to get to work myself.  The overall effect of this is to squeeze and squash my happiness, my enthusiasm and my self-perception to near nothingness.
There are probably some people reading this who might think “that just sounds like a good excuse for a lie-in”.  I only wish it was.  Lying in bed becomes a soul destroying event,  lying there thinking about everything I need to do only works to magnify the size of the problem.  I spoke about having a problem with communication in my last blog, and  as I’m lie there, text to my mate saying “Pub later?” becomes an enormous source for worry and anxiety.  “What if he says no?  Why would he do that?  What have I done wrong?  Do you really want to drive there?  Do you know how much petrol that will use up?  You’re just throwing money away!”.  If only it was a case of celebrating being warm and cosy.
To combat this, and aid my training, I now cycle to work most days.  The affect of this is huge.  Once I’m at work and I’ve got myself ready for the day there’s a swagger and strut to my morning instead of the usual malaise.  It isn’t an easy battle to win, because it is a fight with myself to get on the bike.  There are a few things I can do to make the process easier.  For one, I prepare my bag the evening before except for my shirt and lunchtime salad.  This means I have fewer tasks to do in the morning and thus seems to my illogical mind to be the path of least resistance.  Also I have separated my car keys from my normal keys.  It is just a small change, but it means now that if I want to drive into work I have to go and get the other keys rather than rely on them being in my pocket.  Considering I can be very “OCD” and touchy over my car keys, I do also have an outstanding ability to allow them to go missing. This isn’t just limited to car keys.  
Somewhere in my house there is a pack containing all the camping gadgets I purchased for my first Glastonbury in 1998.  Putting it away for safe keeping has been taken to extreme lengths. Anyway, i digress…basically simple changes in the morning make a hell of a difference to me.  it’s the little things that make the biggest difference.
I’d like to also use this opportunity to say thank you to all my family, friends and colleagues who have sponsored me thus far.  For this bearded ego, it has been a quite humbling experience.  I’ve felt very, very shy at times when asking people for sponsorship because I know how tough times are for people so I’ve tried to stressed the point of giving what they can and want to give rather than what they feel they should.  This isn’t a bit of humility to make me look better, but it is actually a selfish line to make my feelings of guilt diminish.  There have been some friends and contacts who I have not seen for quite a while who have supported me on this endeavour too and seeing their names pop up on the Just Giving site has meant a great deal to me.
As regular readers will know, motivation is a big problem for me at times, so I’m going to be looking for my next big adventure to ride in the future, because without a goal the bike will quickly start to get dusty.  If you have any suggests please feel free to suggest them either in the Comments section below or message me on Twitter (@TheGaryLambert).  Hopefully in a month or so I’ll have a good few suggestions.  There are criteria though.  I need a good route suitable for a touring/hybrid bike; a nice selection of pubs on route; and no huge hills, as I’m not skinny enough for that yet.  
I would also like to say thank you to the many people who have got in touch with me directly who have recognised similar characteristics in my blogs.  I may not be a trained counsellor and I wouldn’t dare try to give you advice and suggestions on what to do, but if you’re willing to talk to me about it whether you know me or not, shows that you’re starting to take control of your demons.  And that is something worth celebrating!

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