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, 21 February 2008

Tasty Cheddar Gorge

This week Evans Cycles have kindly offered us 10% off all cycling components and accessories from their stores.

Today I adapted the “Tasty Cheddar” 101km Audax, that starts near my house, to make it a little tougher. This is a fairly undulating route anyway but I thought I would stick a long, hard climb in right at the end to really hurt the old legs.

A very scenic route (scenic = hilly!) starting at my house, crossing the Clifton suspension bridge and cycling through the lanes to Clevedon and past the sea front. From Clevedon you get a fairly flat secton across the Somerset levels towards Weston- super-Mare, turning off to Winscombe. Powering along the lanes into a headwind, a very kind muck spreader driver decided to pull out in front of me, and being as wide as the lane I was stuck behind him enjoying the lovely aroma that was passing into my nostrils with every breath. Turning onto a wider road, and him travelling at around 15-20 mph, I decided I’d had enough of this and promptly shoved my bike into a big gear and powered past him, leaving him to drip “muck” all over the Somerset lanes.

On to Cheddar via the lovely little town of Axbridge. On joining the main road up Cheddar gorge, this time an open-top tour bus pulled out in front of me. He could have let me past but no, he had to go first and stop every time he came to a car coming the other way. Luckily he buggered off as the road started to climb and I could get into a comfortable rhythm without having to suck in lungfuls of diesel fumes. I climbed Cheddar gorge without any problems, feeling strong all the way up. At the top of Cheddar gorge, you fork left and then the fun starts, with some real short, sharp ups and downs before reaching Dundry and a very long climb up to the top. From here you can see the Clifton suspension bridge and both Severn bridges. Today I wasn’t interested in the views and continued back to Long Ashton and the long climb up to the top. At the bottom I passed some mountain bikers walking up and decided to go for it and ground my way up it. A fairly flat run in back to Clifton finished off a decent ride. 65 miles. A good warm up for some serious events at the weekend.