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

Stage 14: Nimes - Digne les Bains 194.5km 21/7/08


We struck gold with our accommodation last night. The welcome, location and food was excellent. Its funny how variable Logis de France can be.

We anticipated today’s stage to be tough. The profile looked uphill for most of the 121 miles. This coupled with a long transfer to Embrun in the Alpes ready for tomorrow’s stage required an early start.

After a very humid night, we awoke at 6.30am, packed up the car and had a hearty breakfast. We remembered to put suncream on today, having forgotten yesterday morning. The official start today was Nimes. Our logis was in Remoulins and looking at the map the roads from Nimes and Remoulin converged at Beaucaire 18km into the route. As the distances to Beaucaire were identical we decided to alter the route to start cycling from our logis. This also turned out to be a quieter and safer road. We averaged almost 20mph to Beaucaire, a rather pretty town with a small marina on one of the branches of the Rhone. On to Tarascon and we picked up the busy main road D99 for 30km to Cavaillon. We two-upped this stretch both doing two minute intervals on the front against a stiff wind, gritting our teeth as we were passed by masses of high speed vehicles. Continuing on to Coustellet where we had arranged a rendez-vous with Peter and Liz for refuelling, we realised we were about 30 minutes up on schedule so we decided to push on to Apt at 85km. We covered these 53 miles in under 3 hours so we knew we were going well. After replenishing our drinks we decided to continue on a rather plush cycle path parallel to our route, an old railway path. A few miles along this and it veered off route so we got back on the road and summitted our first 4th cat climb of the day, the Col de Mane, at 128.5km. We met Peter and Liz just after the next rather pretty hilltop town of Forcalquier, having negotiated tourists and mad Belgian caravanners. 129.5km in 4 hours 40.

A picnic of ham and cheese baguettes, doughnuts and chocolate mousse at the side of the road and we were fuelled to push on for the next 40 miles. A lot of uphill and strong winds greeted us on our final leg but we managed to average 16mph along these rough, rolling lanes through places such as St Julien d’Asse and Bras d’Asse (what a load of Asse!). The last 10km saw us turning onto the busy N85 to Dignes up a long 4th cat climb ( Col de l’Orme) and then a winding descent into the town of Dignes les Bains where Peter and Liz were waiting at the finish line.

194.5km (121 miles) in 6 hours 54 in the saddle comapred with Oscar Freire (Esp) 4:13:08.

We transferred by car to Embrun after the stage and after some tricky navigating around the little town of Embrun, we were very enthusiastically greeted by our hostess, Christine, at Le Pigionner chambre d’hotes. The rooms were amazing with huge bathrooms and Matt was so impressed he actually took photos! Christine booked us a table at a local restaurant and we ate a huge meal ready fro tomorrow’s mountainous stage into Italy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I still can't believe you are actually doing this, sitting in the chair at your surgery listening to you talk me through it about a month ago, i thought it can't be that difficult a nice little jolly really. however Ian i have to say i'm bloody exhausted just reading the blog.
i feel sure i would find the whole thing difficult in my car never mind on a bicycle.
Fantastic ! Awesome! absolutely magnificent effort. keep going both of you.

Steve Addy....