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

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Gospel Pass 160km and Dunkery Dash 102km

Firstly, I'd like to second what Matt said, and say a big thank you to everybody who has sponsored us and helped us raise £1000 so far. This is really motivating us to train hard!

Following on from Thursday's hilly 65 miles, I decided to make it a weekend of hilly events:

Saturday's "Gospel Pass" 100 mile event started at 8am in Chepstow, just over the bridge from me, and headed out to Hay on Wye, Abergavenny and back to Chepstow. The first 30 miles was fairly undulating but the fun started after Hay on Wye. After turning off the main road you head into the Black Mountains and over the Gospel Pass. This is the second highest road in Wales going up to 582m. You really wonder where you're heading as the route becomes single-track and just goes on and on! Once up the top the wind was unbelievable. It was hard keeping upright, several times the gusts nearly blew me off the road. Even the downhills needed constant pedalling just to keep moving. It was here, apparently, that Gerald of Wales preached the Third Crusade in medieval times. Once over the top, the wind died down for some very impressive views of the Black mountains. After Abergavenny, the route was very undulating ending with an 8km drag to Chepstow. Somehow I managed to average 15mph with 2500m of uphill.

Sunday's route started in North Petherton, near Bridgwater. Basically an out and back route heading out to Dunkery Beacon in Exmoor National Park. This event included 1300m of climbing including about 2 miles at 18% before the long drag up Dunkery Beacon. Just when I thought it couldn't go on for much longer, the control loomed into sight on the top - a 4x4 with horsebox! I took this opportunity to scoff some delicious home-made bread pudding and spiced apple cake. I did this route in just over 4 hours. It certainly wasn't a dash! My legs really ached today but I managed to climb the hills strongly. The first bloke back did it in under 3 and a half hours which is impressive for that distance, especilly over that terrain.

So I've clocked up 227 miles this week with a serious 4000m of climbing. With 4 months to go, this is looking hopeful!