Aggie Cycles Kenya!

28/10/2011 23:58 BST | Updated 28/12/2011 10:12 GMT

Never one to be shy of taking up a challenge (Dancing on Ice, Total Wipeout, MasterChef to name a few), my next death-defying adventure is a 400km cycle ride in Kenya, on behalf of Women V Cancer (Breast Cancer Care, Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust and Ovarian Cancer Action).

65 of us women are meeting at Heathrow this Saturday evening to fly to Nairobi to begin our tough five-day ride.

Many of us met up for an information day last December, where we were left in no doubt about the amount of training we would have to put in if we were going to be able to complete our challenge successfully.

In June around 25 of us took part in a hilly (and very wet) weekend ride in the Cotswolds. It was hard! Realisation set in, but did it mean I was going to be on track with the training? Of course not.

I'm not a complete slouch, though. I drag my carcass around the park most mornings, hangover willing, and go to yoga at least once a week.

Apart from that I get in the saddle as much as possible. I had a good bit of advice from one of the trainers: if I didn't have time to do the miles, then at least do the hills. So lately I've become fairly familiar with the stretch between my home in Stoke Newington and the top of Muswell Hill. And yes, it's some hill.

Last weekend I was invited to a 50th birthday party in deepest Surrey, somewhere south of Guildford. I had written in my diary on that date a few months before, "60 miles Saturday, 40 miles Sunday." Eek, there was no way round it but to cycle to Surrey.

So I got on the Transport for London site, marked out the route (59.9km) and printed it off. 65 pages of instructions, so there wasn't much room in the panniers for a too-fancy outfit, or even a jacket.

Luckily it was a sunny, warm day, but I did set off feeling slightly in trepidation. I understand the theory of changing a tyre, but actually doing it is quite a different thing. I knew I needed to leave in time (noon) to arrive before dark.

I hadn't realised how many hills Surrey had! I arrived at my B&B almost five hours later (map reading's not my forte), shortly before dark. Just my luck that I overshot the B&B drive, only to ride down a very steep hill...then to have to struggle all the way up again.

I had intended getting the train back the following day but it was so warm and sunny and all I had to do was follow the signs to London, so I made it in just over four hours.

I felt very tired on the Monday, but kept thinking, "In Kenya, this will be like Day Three, which is the hardest day, with the longest ride and the steepest hills!"

I only hope it won't be too excruciating, and that some other participants will have done less training than me...

I'll be blogging about the journey from Kenya from October 30-November 7 right here on The Huffington Post, so check back for daily updates.

If you would like to sponsor me and help to raise funds, please visit

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