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, 2 March 2008

Bristol-Gloucester-Monmouth-Chepstow-Bristol (A hilIier alternative!)

Firstly, well done Matt for having the balls to appear on live radio! Must have been a fairly nerve-wracking experience but you sounded good matey!

This week training has been somewhat limited as I had a wedding to go to. Congratulations to Chantal and Doug! Twas a very nice day!
I did a couple of turbo-training sessions mid week, and thought that I’d better make up for the lack of training this week by putting in a tough ride today. I was partly spurred on by the fact that Matt was going to do an extremely hilly 200km event so I altered my Gloucester-Monmouth-Chepstow circuit to make it hillier and longer. No events available to enter today so it was going to be a lonely ride!

Essentially the first leg from Bristol to Gloucester was fairly similar, though I navigated my way around the lanes rather than time-trialling along the A38. This turned out to be a lovely route, stolen from an Audax event I did a couple of months ago. The route goes via such places as Littleton On Severn, Olbury on Severn, Berkely, Slimbridge and Framton on Severn. Although windy, these lanes are reasonably flat and I averaged just under 17mph for the first 45 miles.

From Gloucester, the route was identical to my usual, going along the busy A40 before turning off left onto the A4136 to Monmouth. This bit is hilly and unfortunately I was riding right into a fairly stiff headwind. After the swoop down to Monmouth I had a choice, either to go along the A466 Wye valley road which I normally do, or cross the river and turn left along the A40 for a bit before picking up a hilly B road to Chepstow. I decided to do the latter and make the route tougher. About a third of the way along this road, between Mitchell Troy and Trellech, the is a long winding hill, the closest I have seen to an alpine ascent for a while! I remember cycling along this road in December, although I didn’t realise before I got on it today. Once over this the undulating road continued to Chepstow. From here it was a case of crossing the old Severn bridge and heading back to Bristol. I decided to take the lanes rather than the monotonous straight roads back through Avonmouth. Hillier but infinitely more interesting.

All in all, quite a testing route and a really nice day. Sunny, not too hot but very windy! 109 miles, averaging just under 16mph and a decent alternative to the usual loop.

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