March 2020. Living and training with COVID-19.
Updated: Aug 24, 2020
Pascal here. Wow, just wow. I don't think anyone saw that coming! I don't think I've ever seen the UK change so fundamentally in such a short period. Now, I just want to qualify this monthly summary with the caveat that any impact on our training and preparations pales into insignificance when compared to the feelings of anyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one during this time.
The month started with a number of 100 mile rides achieved, and with a real sense that spring was arriving. Rides were being completed without having to wrap in multiple layers of tops and gloves, and with being able to actually feel our feet throughout - so different to the long winter rides undertaken at the beginning of the year! What a joy, momentum was building nicely. In fact, at the start of the month, we'd never even heard the phrase 'social distancing', and I couldn't have told you who qualified as a key worker.
Those days seem like a distant memory....COVID-19 is here now.
China first, and then onto Italy, Spain and France - the writing was on the wall for the UK, and sure enough COVID-19 arrived on our shores in mid March. Those early March days suddenly seemed like halcyon days. As I now sit here in my central London flat, I'm only able to leave it to buy essentials from the supermarket, pick up medication from the pharmacy or for my one daily helping of exercise. As you can imagine, this is going to have a pretty significant impact on our ability to train for an endurance ride across a continent - latest government guidance suggests that daily exercise should be limited to an hour in duration. There's no limit to how far or fast you can run or ride within that hallowed hour, so I guess I'll be sprinting around the Common (in a socially distanced responsible manner) until it's time to go back inside. This must be what it feels like to be a prisoner, allowed outside only for daily exercise. Except my prison yard is Clapham Common, which as far as prison yards go, is pretty mega! Presumably? I've not been to any prison yards, so I don't have a reference point really.
Staying with the positives, it's great to still be able to get out and about on the bike. It's amazing the positive mental health benefits of doing so brings; it makes you really appreciate the simple pleasure of riding around - the sun on your back, the birds chatting away to one another in the trees and the every present danger of being taken out by a big red double decker on Clapham High Street!
The current situation isn't going to last forever. We've had to re-schedule a number of planned challenges and move them to later in the year, such as cycling London to Paris in 24 hours, but it's really not the end of the world. Best to stay positive, stay cheerful and to stay 2 metres away from all other humans for now....
PS: The NHS is amazing, and all who work for it are total legends. But then we always knew that!! Thank you for your efforts in these times of COVID-19.