Training is now well under way as I take up the honoured position of stoker in the Tuffcall team, bringing many years of experience, unfortunately very few of them on the back of a bicycle, let alone a tandem.
The regime is science-based and multi-disciplinary, including HIIT previously mentioned in this blog, and more recently a trip from Limehouse to Box Hill, with several up and downs, a stop at the pub, and back to London.
Endurance is all important so the 70-odd miles of this session was good for confidence building, and apart from generally weariness, painful ischial tuberosities and a raging beer thirst, I came through reasonably unscathed.
The role of stoker is self-explanatory: cycle as hard as you can, while the bloke in front cycles as hard as he can, operates the gears, steers, etc. The job requires a fair amount of faith in the driver which will be at its most tested coming down the mountain on gravel roads with hairpin bends. The fact that you can’t really see much in front of you makes this easier, in an ostrich head-in-the-sand way. So far Tuffs has shown a level of caution and maturity quite beyond his years, which makes me think I’ll make it in the end.