I spent most of my Tour Divide training rides along the canal between where I live and Manchester. 2 hours. 43 Kilometers. Each way, twice a day, up and over a climb gaining me 400m each direction. With work, family, and friends, it was the easiest way to combine training and life with too much of an impact.
From February to June, every weekday morning, I’d get out of bed, step into my cycling kit, use the loo, drink some coffee and walk out the door. Breakfast was forgone most days as I knew I’d not be eating it too often on the Divide. The reverse was true on the way home with a substantial gap between food and riding home every day.
I became lean, strong, and mentally the most capable I’ve been at dealing with tedium and long repetitive hours in the saddle. Perfect Divide training. But, every now and again I needed something to do. After a month or so I started taking photos along the way while riding – usually while having a toilet break. Then it struck me. Why not take a roll of film – 24 exposures – then take a photo every 2km along the route?
I’d forgotten about it, so when I sent a bunch of rolls of film off to Ilford for development, it came as a pleasant surprise to see the images I’d captured. Mundane to others, but reminders of a huge chunk of my past year to me. In a typically film manner, not all came out, or worked out. But here is an idea of the time I spent on the most mundane canal in the world.
All photos taken on a Canon AE-1 Program with Kentmere 400 – mixture of a 28mm f2.8 and 50mm f1.4 lens.