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Thank you to everyone who came along to ask James your questions about cycling, beating cancer and fundraising. He said that he really enjoyed the chat and it was lovely to chat with you all.
For those of you who missed it, here's the transcript with some useful links for further information at the end.
Q: What are you thinking about when you are training?
A: What do I think about? so many things go through my head and at many time I often try not to think too much Sometimes on big trips ill think about my blog and what I’m going to write,most the time though I try to think about who I'm doing it for and what I've been through.Q: Do you listen to music?
A: I do listen, always unless I’m riding with friends, only ever have one ear in though and always make sure its the verge side (NEVER USE BOTH EARS WHILST RIDING)Q: Thank you James - any favourite bits of music?
A: Favorite music... I don’t suppose there is one band really, depends on the roads, how I feel, what sort of training I’m doing... anything from chill out stuff to Linken Park, drum n base, everything really!Q: James, I've recently started cycling (not across America mind!) and I was wondering if you had any tips for beginners?
A: Tips: relax and go at your own pace, find products the you get on with (clothes, drinks, bikes, everything) and most of all enjoy! Get used to riding on quiet roads and then progress at your own pace.Q: I have prostate cancer and drugs give me very bad fatigue - and can't walk fast or far. Would bicycling be an easier way - or would my lack of stamina be an issue
A: I would say that cycling will give you a lot more satisfaction because you'll get a lot further, you might find that will help you stamina after a while. I would say give it a go, I couldn't walk in March/April 2009 and I started very slowly, I still can’t walk long distances and I can’t run but I can ride for hours and 100's of miles. And I get a great satisfaction from it. Start slow and ride to the end of the road and back and see how it feels. If it feels good, go a bit further, maybe around the block try and go a little bit further each week. Have a go once a week then twice a week and so on.Q: James - did you find your physical ordeal made the struggle of getting up for the next day's cycling that little bit easier on CycleAcross? I imagine when you're recovered from being that close to the brink you can push yourself to do that little bit more than you would have before?
A: Yes definitely. Compared to my illness the cycling challenges are a piece of cake!Q: Hi James, I have signed up my business to raise lots of Money this year for Macmillan, one of the challenges I am planning is a cycle ride to each of the bars in our company. It’s a round trip of 276 miles, and I’m looking to do this in 3 days. Have I bitten off more than I can chew? [Certainly not after reading about you!, what an inspiration you are... I have 6 months for training, but would like to get an idea of pacing/training and getting additional help] The thing is I am used to cycling up to 10 miles, no problem as I commute, etc. But 100 miles is a different beast. How to I get from here to there?
A: That can be a long conversation but you have done it the right way around, decide on the challenge say you’re doing it and then train towards it, not train train train then decide. It just doesn’t work like that, what you really need to do is find out where you’re at now? Find out how many miles you can do in a day and how long it took, then you work out where you need to go to.Q: What kind of cancer did you have James?
A: I had a tumor between my spine kidney and bowel but also had my complicationsQ: How soon after the beginning of treatment were you able to cycle again?
A: I didn’t ride a bike until the August / September after coming out of hospital in May.Q: I am training, but have no event in mind yet. Will this be a problem?
A: If you do that way round motivation will always be low because you have nothing to aim for. You don’t have a dead line so if you miss and training session or you want to take it easy, you can because "there’s always tomorrow.Q: Do you do urban cycling, as well? Or just country lanes, tracks and across America?
A: I ride as much as I can, it’s the freest most efficient way of getting around. Street riding, downhill, cross country you name it, I love it! although my focus has and will be for a while on the road bike.Q: James, on hearing we have cancer, many of us get extremely depressed - how long was it before you decided to fight and live for every moment?
A: Day one, straight from the start. Don’t get me wrong I had days (and still do) where I asked why was I saved? What am I still doing here? I still have dark days and nightmares very often but there is no point letting something that, in many cases you cannot do anything to avoid get you down. Getting upset makes it worse, I had no control over the cancer being there I couldn’t make it go away so I had to let the doctors do their bit. It sounds easy to say but that’s all I could do.Q: Do you have any tips for stopping the aches and pains you can feel after a long bike ride, so you can get up and do it again the next day?
A: Aches and pains - you do get used to them after a while and the more you do the less it hurts! My main advice would be eat properly, wear the right kit and don’t do more than you can manage but making sure you push yourself a little always helps.Q: Hi James what keeps you motivated during a long cycle ride?A: Mainly who I’m doing for and compared to the lives of people affected by cancer riding a bike 145miles a day is a walk in the park without meaning to sound arrogant.Q: Do you have any specific recommendations for what bike to use - I’m looking at a hybrid that can go on farm / forest tracks as well as roads. Not a mountain bike though.
A: I think by the sound of it a hybrid would be ideal, without meeting you it’s hard to say. Just make sure the bike frame is the right size. I see lots of people with the wrong sized bike and then awkward riding posture. When buying clothes remember: cheap doesn’t work! You don’t have to spend a fortune but make sure what you buy is good quality. It’s the difference between riding for miles or minutes.Q: What do you think of 'ladies' bikes?
A: Personally I’m not a fan. If you make sure your bike is the right size and a relatively good make there isn't really any need for a drop bar. I would recommend visiting a middle to top end shop and being fitted, maybe even visit a couple to cross check what info you are being given.Q: What is the best way to raise lots of sponsorship for my bike ride? I’d love to get even 1% of what you raised James! Other than friends and family how else can I raise lots? I have seen there is a way people can donate to you online? Does that work well?
A: Sponsorship is really hard to get, you will probably spend more time trying to get sponsors than you do training and its actually the hardest part. My main advice would be to make sure your challenge really is worthy of people’s attention. If it’s something that anyone can do many people won’t give you money. Make your campaign as professional as you can, and in a way run it as much like a business as you can and create a brand. Write to people and keep writing!There are some ideas for fundraising here. Do also get in touch with your local fundraising office who will be able to help and support you.Q: As far as kit goes, what are the things to prioritize on?A: You must get good shorts and good gloves AND A HELMET! Don't forget everyone, we have cycling groups in the Community where you can chat to others in the same boat, or swap tips and kit recommendations.Also, James is on Twitter and Facebook And the website www.cycleacrossamerica2010.com
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