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:
http://www.letour.fr/2008/TDF/COURSE/us/le_tour_2008.html
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 19: Roanne - Montlucon 165.5km 27/7/08





Photos

This was quite fortunately a shorter stage as we were by this time totally knackered and a little jaded. With only three days to go to Paris we were by this time feeling that we’d broken the back of this Tour and it was almost a little hard to motivate ourselves this morning on leaving Roanne.
We left from the hotel adding on about 12km before reaching the start (we agreed to cut this off the downhill finish) to ensure we completed the right distance!
We were met early on by a very gradual 3rd Cat climb which we used to clear away the cobwebs of the previous few days – we seemed to be racing up the climb and for the first time in about two weeks we actually completed a sprint at the top of a climb! Great fun it was!
The route was an undulating one today and so another few kilometres later we hit a 4th Cat climb (only two more to go now until Paris!!) before a descent towards the town of Vichy (home to the exiled French government during the war). Seemed like a good place to hide out to me – if the Germans had ever got there they’d have got lost for sure and never found them (i.e. we got lost and ended up leaving on the wrong road)! At one point we even were on a road which was signposted to both Roanne AND Montlucon – very confusing indeed!
Anyway we found our way back on route and continued on our merry way across quite uninteresting rolling farmland to the small town of Bellenaves where the road kicked up on a long 11km stretch of unclassified climb in the searing heat which necessitated a cycle off the road and into the shade for Matt in order to cope with the excessive heat. Upon reaching La Bosse (no doubt they have a regular Bruce Springsteen tribute night) at 720m we had a mainly downhill stretch to the finish and the knowledge that we had only the time trial (53km) and the final stage (93km) to manage!
Huzzah! Off to Saint Amand for the night in preparation for the final two days of winding down!

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