Today, we had the good news that the vessel doesn’t have any orders for cargo or to sail from port over the festive period. So, I’m in port in the north-west of England with some of the countries finest cycling terrain, the Lake District, in view and right on my doorstep!

Sadly for me, as the duty officer, it  requires that I remain onboard at all times so there’s still no opportunity to get out and ride. It’s torture being able to see what I’m missing. It does however, reduce the number of hours worked per day and therefore gives me a little bit more leeway in how I approach the Festive 500.

I usually only manage a maximum of one hour when using the stationary bike as it’s all the time I can spare and squeezing in three was always going to be a  so last night I tried something new – I used the machine for an hour and a half.  I’ve just gone wild, I know. I also now know why it only allows programmes of an hour – any longer and it becomes extremely uncomfortable. I’m still feeling it now nearly 24 hours later.

That has served as a reminder as to why I used my previous set up (until the company provided us with a new treadmill which has since taken up all the room – how selfish?!) Please note the hi-tec turbo mat made entirely from recycled, natural materials which is in turn, recyclable. As turbos are explicitly outlawed, this loss hasn’t affected me. And yes, that is my 500 machine in the background….

Now, since this is supposed to be a challenge, I also want to not just put in the time, but put in some effort too – I certainly won’t be pedalling on the easiest setting!

The levels are set between one and twelve and I chose the level seven hill climb option which is simply a series of increasing intervals repeated 5.8 times per hour between a warm up and cool down period. Each interval is one minute. I shall add more details of his later. It’s a series of flats and hills without the reward of a downhill in between and, a little like riding fixed gear, I always have to pedal. No matter what the setting, speed is always calculated at 34.8km/h so this is what I’ll be working on.

I would describe the levels from nine onwards as extremely difficult – an hour doing this programme on level ten and I’m done, level eight is still a pretty good ride and level seven is, I have concluded from last night,  going to be difficult enough for three hours per day – it’ll certainly require more effort than if I was riding one of my normal routes.

I’m hoping all this wasn’t too exciting and I wish anyone following to be able to rejoice in the monotony as much as me so there will no doubt be some statistics to follow.