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, 24 July 2008

Rest day 1: Bagneres de Bigorre 17/7/08


While the pros had spent their rest day at nearby Pau, where the previous stage had officially started, we spent ours based at Bagnerres. I had booked three nights accommodation here so that we could relax and not have to pack and unpack the van so much. It was also near the start of the following stage in Lannamezan.

After the previous two day’s glorious weather, we had high hopes of a sunny day: some sunbathing by a river or maybe even a gentle canoeing trip. Sod’s law it rained and rained and we were pretty much stranded with little to do.

After a lie in,listening to the rain outside, and leisurely breakfast, we headed into town and found a laundrette to wash our smelly kit. While this was taking place we popped across to a supermarket to stock up on provisions.

A little look around our quaint hotel, revealed a very old fashioned drawing room/lounge and we had lunch in there. We laughed at the old fashioned decorating, stained headrests on the chairs, and the way the carpet had been roughly cut to fit around the furniture! On the bookshelf was a telephone directory from 1965! Indeed, our rooms were also something out of Fawlty Towers with wallpaper on the doors! That said, the place was comfortable and served us well but really could have benefitted from a clean. At one point we saw the chef painting the hotel sign and reminded me of Inspector Clouseau: “What is this? A chef who thinks he is a gardener??!”

That afternoon we felt we had to do something, so we made a trip up the road to a local cheese shop we had passed a couple of days earlier. After finding the local caves shut we decided to go and have a go at crazy golf before getting some food at a local pizza takeaway.

It was sad that the day had been so miserable but the golf had definitely been a highlight!

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