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

Friday, 7 March 2008

Rosewell 200k

Well, apologies for the delay in getting this post up as I rode this event last weekend. I'd had a nice long weekend with my old uni friend Chris coming up from Warwick with a Thursday night gig seeing Eels (who were fabulously quirky, by the way!) and relaxing Friday and Saturdays before an exceptionally early rise on Sunday to drive to the South of Edinburgh (near the now infamous Roslyn Chapel - thanks to the atrocity that was The Da Vinci Code).

It was a breezy day with steady winds of 20+mph coming from the West. This was the first Audax I'd done for a good few years and I was fortunate to get into a group of four and we toddled along at a steady 15mph sharing the workload fairly well before reaching the first check at 30miles. Bacon rolls and tea made for anice break here but the tiny hall in the rolling hills of the Borders soon swelled with sweaty, smelly cyclists and the view was much more appealing outside so the group of four I had been in left soon after the first group.

The road rose briefly to the side of a reservoir before climbing very sharply over the hills to descend to the next valley. The climb here was 1mile long at 20% and was the toughest climb I'd experienced so far. I had small enough gears and was able to catch and pass one chap and was gaining on another - felt pretty good I must say.

I joined with one of the four I'd been travelling with earlier and we passed the leading group as they stopped to wait for one of their punctured colleagues. We were whizzing along at a heady pace before my travelling partner began to accelerate away as I watched my heartrate. A long gradual climb saw the larger group of fast riders pass me but I soon caught up after a sweeping descent to the second check.

The third leg was lightly rolling before turning left over Witchie Knowe, a pleasantly testing climb which went on for a long while and up which I was able to catch and pass one of the group ahead of me for a good 2-2.5 minutes as I found my climbing legs.

On the descent, I caught up to my previous travelling partner but couldn't hold him as the larger group of faster riders overtook me again. This was the last I saw of them as the weather began to close as I approached Peebles and then headed along a river valley to Innerleithen and Clovenfords where I turned north to head back up towards Edinburgh for the last 30 miles or so up the A7.

The wind was a struggle but I managed home in 8hours 50 with 7hours 50 travelling time at a 15.9mph average. Most of this was by myself so I was pleased with this and enjoyed the majority of the ride though it was a shame not to have more company. It turned out I was over 30 mins ahead of the next rider so the difference in pace was quite significant.

I shall be attempting about 190 miles this weekend, while enjoying my work annual ball on Saturday night and the Rugby on Saturday afternoon - it's a hard life! As if to add to the challenge, I've got to go and find some furniture for the flat as well.

No rest for the wicked!