Setting off on Le Tour - Brest, Brittany

Setting off on Le Tour - Brest, Brittany
Ian (Left) and Matt (Right)

Hello and a very warm welcome to our blog.

We are two amateur cyclists who have decided to follow in the footsteps of our cycling heroes and ride the complete 2008 Tour de France route. This year the most famous cycle race in the world covers 3500km (2200 miles) over 3 weeks in July and takes in some of the highest mountain passes in the Pyrenees and Alps.

We will start two days after the professionals on 7th July in Brest, Brittany and ride the whole thing stage-for-stage, road-for-road, day-for-day as the pros will be. This will result in us arriving in Paris on 29th July, having averaged 100 miles per day. Please click this link to see what lies ahead of us:
Our aim is to complete the whole route and this means that we will not be racing round but riding at a sensible, sustainable pace. As a result, we expect to be in the saddle for 12 hours on some days.

Friends and family will be driving a support vehicle but we will not have the benefit of masseurs, soigneurs, chefs and team doctors that the pros have. And there will be no Testosterone, EPO or illegal blood doping going on in our Tour!

We hope to raise as much money as possible for two very worthwhile charities: Ian is raising money for CLIC Sargent and Matt for MacMillan Cancer Support. Please dig deep and support these charities via our justgiving pages on the right. Alternatively, please email us with your name, contact details and the amount you would like to donate and we will contact you after we complete our tour.

At this time, a friend of Ian's, Robbie Stuart, is fighting Leukaemia and is a supporter of CLIC Sargent's work. A link to his blog can be found here. Best wishes go to Robbie who is currently recovering from a bone marrow transplant.

Please tell you friends about our blog and what we are doing, and please send us words of encouragement and support.
We will update you with our training and we will be keeping a diary on here as we ride the event in July.

Best wishes

Ian and Matt

Monday, 28 July 2008

Stage 18: Bourg d'Oisans - Saint Etienne 196.5km 26/7/08

After a night spent in a hotel with magnificent mountain views, we awoke at 7am for breakfast prior to starting stage 18. We decided that as we had done an extra 5 miles the previous day, we would knock the last 5 flat miles off of this stage to avoid having to travel into busy Saint Etienne. Yesterday’s stage was really the decider and once through that, we were confident that we were going to finish barring mishaps.
A short drive from our hotel to the start close to where we had finished the previous stage and we set off from a carpark onto the busy main road all the way to through Grenoble ( I wouldn’t bother!) to the foot of our first 3rd cat climb of the day, Colle de Parmenie at 70km. So far the route had been pretty much downhill and flat but this 3rd cat turned out to be a long one. After a fairly steep start, it went on and on and with my legs complaining, I decided to take a breather just before the top. We were out of the mounatins now, and the landscape became more green and hilly, rolling rather than mountainous. A few more ups and downs and we had lunch after about 50 miles. I was not feeling good today. I couldn’t stomach the energy bars and I couldn’t manage solids. I think I had mild heat stroke from the day before and I felt decidedly queasy.
After lunch and heading for the 2nd cat climb, Croix de Montvieux at 163km, thunder and lightning started and the temperature began to cool. A quick pot of rice pudding at the foot of the climb fuelled me and I climbed better than I expected the 13km ascent. Matt felt better and summited a couple of minutes before me but I was relieved to have got to the top so smoothly. A wet descent, requiring care on the bends and a fairly grim trek through unremarkable towns to begin the ascent of 3rd cat Cote de Sorbieres, where we finished the stage 5 miles short of Saint Etienne.

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