In the first episode of “Aidan Goes Epic for the Good Cause”, Aidan told us about his venture and the reasons he is fundraising for Extreme Ride 4 Hunger, a 1400km, 10-day Epic Ride.
However, what seemed like a fairytale at the beginning has had its first challenges popping up. Mate, what did you think?
As Much Aidan’s Epic Ride as His Family’s
Aidan’s wife was the one trying to convince him to take on the challenge in the first place. “One would think I’d be stupid not to immediately accept, how often does something like this happen?” says Aidan.
Many of us can relate to the fact that when we enter in such ridiculously time consuming projects, most of the time our family and relatives are even more affected than we are.
“It wasn’t an easy choice, however. In my case we have two small children of 1 and 3, not the easiest of ages, and leaving my wife to fend for herself for 10 plus days, while she works a full-time stressful job and manages the responsibilities which we usually split. I think if we didn’t have a support structure with my in-laws always helping us, my wife may have not been as open to the idea.”
Very quickly Aidan came to realize that the real difficulty is not so much the ten days of the Epic Ride itself, but the year of preparation before, during which the routines of the entire family are impacted.
“Preparation for the tour, started with getting back into cycling IRL and building some endurance, then with the introduction of Zwift in late January 2022 my fitness starting increasing from a D rider, and moving up into C and B. I focused my training on a traditional approach of riding long Zone 2 base rides for the first few months, then slowly transitioning into different phases of training. In November I moved towards peak, where I was hoping to take a short break during early December, before I started to increase my endurance training gearing up towards the ER4H tour to enable me to cope with the high mileage required each day.”
Such dedication implied both AIdan and his wife became experts in time management.
“Having small children has not made the daily routine of training easy, but I’ve been able to adapt and schedule accordingly, as not to disrupt their routines which are tricky at this stage.
My day usually starts with coffee of course then with helping to get the children ready, taking them to school or Nenna’s day care for our youngest of one years old.
Then when I arrive home I try to get as much work done as possible and where possible slip in some training. Depending of course on the type of ride, I try to keep abreast of work while riding especially if I’m trying to do more mileage.
I try to schedule evening rides from around 20:30 to give enough time for their bedtime routine (we’re strict with it). Weekends are tough, as the kids do not go to school so on these days I usually cycle only once they are asleep. Though as my training progresses back to endurance I will need to spend more hours on the bike and this will require some further sacrifices, and many foot rubs.”
Challenge Number One: Aidan’s Butt Will Suffer Big Time
I believe there is almost nothing more ungrateful than being a cyclist butt. Being the butt of a Zwifter who does not own a rocker plate and is preparing for an Epic Ride might be one of the most disgraceful curses in humankind history.
“Overcoming the reality that my butt will need to be on a saddle for multiple days for prolonged periods, your legs being sore and tired is one thing, mind you I’ve learnt the preventative and healing powers of Tea Tree Oil, and some good “burning” your butt off anti-inflammatory creams can help lessen the pain.”
The Discipline of an Epic Ride Preparation
Preparing an Epic Ride requires the rigor of a Tibetan Monk in his learning journey to eternal enlightment.
Step One: Time Management
“Finding enough time during our busy schedules and day-to-day routines to train, and trying to do quality over quantity where possible.”
Step 2: Food
“Eat right, a major challenge for any foodie especially if you are trying to cut-down and lose some weight, and when your mother in-law makes the most delicious dishes followed by dessert. I tell myself, ‘going to have to put in another 3 hours this week…'”
Step 3: Sleep
“Sleep right, well when you have just finished a late evening Zwift race, the adrenaline still pumping, results pending, who can sleep? Then to wake up early and confirm that your kids are morning people. Sleeping has been kind of a fail.”
Why not streaming? Another super good idea, right?
Trying to get more exposure to his fundraising efforts, Aidan believed it would be a good idea to start streaming his Zwift sessions and workouts. As a newbie streamer, Aidan thought it would be a piece of cake…NOT!!!
“First you need to learn how to use a good streaming software, most use either OBS or Streamlabs. Found there to be quite a learning curve, fortunately there are lots of YouTube videos to help figure out the basics.”
Guys, if there is something I have learnt about Youtube, it is that most tutorials are fake. I learnt it the hard way with bike mechanics. Aidan got his own challenge with streaming.
“Streaming however seems to have many obstacles. As soon as you figure something out you notice that you are missing something else, and come across all sorts of technical issues you need to try and figure out. For someone who is not very IT savvy, it can be quite frustrating. Trying to figure out what rendering lag is, and why my stream keeps lagging, is very confusing when you read that rending lag refers to CPU capacity but OBS says your CPU is operating at less than 2%, which is good…”
Can you perceive the frustration growing between the lines? Wait for it…
“’Might it be my network?” is the next question, as I’ve been running everything on Wi-Fi, but read that a direct Ethernet connection is far better, but my laptop has no Ethernet port?
Started off using my laptop camera but after only a week or two of using my laptop camera it all of a sudden doesn’t work any longer.
Had to then order a web camera, the same day I had just received a microphone and wireless keyboard. AND NO I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE NORMAL DELIVERY LEAD TIME, IT MUST BE EXPRESS TO KEEP UP WITH MY PLANNED STREAMS!!! AND ALL THIS SO PEOPLE CAN WATCH YOU SWEAT AND SUFFER LIVE!!!”
The learning curve is not only technical, you have also to start branding your channel and be attractive.
“If you really want to be fancy you start adding Tip Jars, Emotes that pop up when you get new followers, stickers that viewers can stick on your stream, examples “Fart” “Wow” etc.. The Streamers start raiding your stream, where they redirect their viewers to your channel. But at first when you get raided and have no idea what this means, you are pretty worried that something bad has just happened to you and you have no idea what this thing is!”
Last thing, there is always something you are forgetting in the path of streaming, the same way we always forget things in the path of riding. Therefore Aidan created not one but two checklists. Aidan is hands-down the “Manic List World Champion”! I guess it takes him close to two hours to get through the list before even starting to pedal!
Join us on 26th December!
While Aidan is still checking on his Stream List, allow me to invite you to the event.
On December 26th at Triple Flat Loops, Coalition is organizing a 104km group ride to raise awareness of Aidan’s fundraising. This will also help you get through your Rapha Festive 500 challenge.
Join us to learn more about him, about South Africa, even about streaming now that he became an expert. Coincidentally, you’ll burn off some of the calories from Xmas dinner!
Best of luck Aidan – I did a Lands end to John O Groats on Zwift a few years ago! Got through a load of netflix 🙂
Did have to change saddle mid way – I gave myself an injury!
Check my blog for details.
That’s spectacular David, well done on completing your challenge and also for raising money for blood cancer UK.
I take my hat off to you!
Just completed an outdoor ride just shy of 150km – Headwinds, Crosswinds, All sorts of crazy Winds, amidst some rather warm temperatures, made me miss my Zwift. The shoulders and neck are not happy!
I see you finished on the PRL in under 5 hours!!! That’s a great time! Did this ride a week or so ago it’s a long one for sure.