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, 16 March 2008

Kingdom of Fife 210km

This ride started through in Edinburgh so I travelled through to stay with an old school friend, Simon, and his girlfriend Anna the night before. A big thank you to Anna for a splendid dinner once again - she looked after me before I did the marathon 3 years ago as well!

Simon's friend Ben came along as well for the ride which worked well - the more the merrier! The route started just shy of the Forth Road Bridge before heading out (unsurprisingly, by the name of the route) to Fife through Cowdenbeath, before heading to the coast South of St Andrews and hugging the coast all the way to Newburgh where we headed South and back to Cowdenbeath, the Forth Road Bridge and Dalmeny for a very welcome feast of tea and soup!

The route was not hilly, but undulating with only two proper climbs after about 25 miles and 85 miles. We'd started about 5 minutes late and ended up picking up a number of riders on this climb - Simon and Ben disappearing into the distance as my excess weight (bodily and bikily!) showed.

We kept together throughout the ride and had a really pleasant ride, even meeting up with a couple of guys short of St Andrews and getting into a 5-man team time trial-esque bit of riding for about 8 miles! This was fun but my legs complained too much and we let the two chaps head on in St Andrews while we grabbed some lunch.

Had we know what awaited us another 33km up the road we may well not have done as George and Margaret Berwick put on a wonderful spread of tea and cakes at their house - many thanks indeed. We sat on benches outside enjoying some very welcome rays of sun with a cuppa and some flapjack. This is what Audax is all about! CAKE!

It was around this point that we had started to head back with the wind having had a mild but persistent headwind for the best part of 75 miles. This was some relief and the average picked up from a low of about 14.0mph at 25 miles to 16.1mph by the end of the clocked 131miles.

Many thanks to Simon and Ben for sticking with me today - we worked really well together (though maybe more of them on the front than me for a lot of it) and it was great to have company on the ride for a change.

It's now less than a week before Ian and I head to Majorca for our week of training in the sun (hopefully) and no wind (even more hopefully!). Looking forward to that, I'll tell you.

I'm now half way through my 32 week training schedule for the Tour and have completed 140hrs 36mins training, of which 97hrs 41mins had been on the bike. These 97hrs odd have taken me 1,500miles at an average speed of 15.4mph. So basically, in 16 weeks I've not even cycled 75% of the distance we'll be doing in 23 days. Hmmmm - a little worrying. It is still the most training I've ever done, though - so that must count for something, eh?

Keep the sponsorship rolling in as well folks, we're over £1,400 and counting, but still have a long way to go - if you'd like a sponsorship form to pass round your office/friends/acquaintances/strangers you meet on the street just contact us and we'll e-mail you one.