My name is Lee Pearce and I was born + raised in Plymouth, Devon. I've always had a bike. Dartmoor was everpresent. As a kid come the warmer months I'd venture out onto the moor or follow the Plym Valley trail, stopping to take a dip in the freezing waters.
I haven't driven a car since 1994, funds can be scarce. Living in London there is no real need. In London bike is king.
In January 2013 annoyed with my 92kg weight I decided to make some changes. No money for the gym and a love for my cycle commute. In the wake of Bradley Wiggins TdF win. I bought some thermal lycra, cleared my diary, and dedicated every Saturday morning to riding. I still remember quite vividly squeezing my ego into some Decathlon lycra, probably the hardest thing I've had to do. No looking back.
On my rides, my speed and distance improved, I noticed other cycle clubs. In April 2013 I started riding with Addiscombe Cycle Club. ACC is a big club of all abilities, finding a group that rode at my pace was straight forward. It was great to ride in a peloton.
I was still riding flat pedals back then, so I saved up some money and rode over to Sigma Sports to buy some clip-on pedals and shoes. They mentioned everybody has one fall with clip-ons, I was no exception. Luckily nothing was broken.
My fitness and speed increased until I was in the 20mph (average speed) group. My waistline shrank which is still the best reward. In September 2013 I changed my diet and dropped another 8kg over the following 6 months to my current weight of 76kg.
Winter 2013 I didn't cycle much which was a big mistake. clawing back the fitness in poor weather was hard.
September 2013 me and friend cycled to Paris and back in 4 1/2 days. At the ferry terminal we met James Finnerty (http://www.121degrees.co.uk/), he was cycling to Istanbul. He proceeded to tell us about some crazies and a very fast Belgian that had ridden to Istanbul in under 8 days. That trip was a revelation. You can go anywhere you want to assuming you put in the effort.
In preparation for the London - Paris - London I would often read Igor's blog - http://ultralightcycling.blogspot.co.uk/
Winter 2014 - I cycled right through the winter.
Feb 28th 2014 - I fell off the bike, broken elbow, surgery, pins and string. Painkillers, time off work. One of the pain killers was Tremadol, I didn't realise it then but it had an effect on my mood, ellated and effervesant, dreamy. In my time off I'd brows the net and often read adventure cycle blogs. Tremadol and adventure cycle blogs combined with the seed planted by James Finnerty...I was going to cycle to Istanbul when healthy.
It took 3 months for my elbow to be strong enough to ride. The idea had matured. I was going to cycle to Istanbul via the TCR2014 route one week later than the official start. I continued to read the TCR2013 blogs http://www.somethingwemayormaynotfinish.com + www.pointlessexertion.com being my favourites. Then as I trained and got stronger, having watched Mike Hall and his dot transverse in the Trans Am Bike Race, I found myself writing an email... Dear Mike...do you have any last mintute places for TCR2014?
A few weeks later I had a response, was I still interested? Nerves and excitement. Do or don't and regret. I accepted, I had 6 weeks to get my s**t together. Train and study. Equipment and route. I developed RSI in my arm from spending too much time on the computer. I have no regrets.
In the last year I have thought about nothing but TCR2015, equipment, nutrician, training, routes. I hope to improve on last years time of 13 3/4 days. Infact i'm sure I will but i'm reluctant to say by how much. I've never been fitter or more prepared. I'm nervous about riding the Strada dell Assietta on 23mm tyres, currently considering pushing the bike to avoid side wall punctures. Last year I was caught out by the wet and cold conditions of the Alps, this year i'll be taking a few more layers.
You can see my training miles on Strava - https://www.strava.com/athletes/4914169