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

Thursday, 14 February 2008

A new county

Well it's taken me a while to update the blog from my ride at the weekend but I managed just under 112 on Saturday starting just after dawn and heading South on a new route which took me through Darvel, Sorn, Auchinleck, Cumnock and New Cumnock. This was all into a headwind (for a change) but I prefer to go out in to the wind to get the easy ride back.

I'd planned the route in advance on the old computer so I knew I had 2,700m of climbing to look forward to so tried to keep the old heartrate down as much as possible but with a couple of short sharp climbs in there it wasn't possible! I'm beginning to feel a bit better on the hills now and have found some longer hills as well.

Having passed through New Cumnock I then headed down into the valley of the River ???? and passed into Dumfries and Galloway (a county I had yet to cycle through in the course of training) which made me realise how far I'd gone!

It also represented the point at which I would shortly turn back to head with the wind. Travelling along the rolling A76 I wasn't feeling all too great and turning North with what should have been a healthy tailwind and struggling up the lower valley slopes of what I knew was a 13 mile climb was not inspiring. However, I soon picked up the wind and was whistling along at 20mph up the valley and the average was shifting up from a miserly 13mph to crest 14mph by the top of the valley and some more sharp climbing. I was now on known roads around Muirkirk and North to Starthaven and began to enjoy myself - except for feeling a little bit of the bonk at around 95 miles.

I stopped for some jelly beans purchased the previous evening from my freindly corner shop and I canhonestly tell you that I've never felt food work so fast. The sugar took about 30 seconds to kick in and I suddenly felt gloriously awake and ready to tackle the remaining 15-16 miles.

By the end of it all I had reached 15mph and had been going for nearly 7.5hours and felt really good (stupid endorphins confusing my body again!)

I managed to drag myself to an excellent Richard Hawley gig that evening though with Mark (and his parents) and partied into the wee small hours - I thought I'd earned it after all!

So a good ride all-in-all.

Two shorter rides this weekend as I'm having a "tapering" week (i.e. recovering by riding less - I've only done 2.5 hours on the turbo so far this week - it's been a joy!)

Till next time folks!