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, 10 July 2008

Stage 2: Auray - St Brieuc 165km 8/7/08


Well, we’re just settling down for the night after a splendid dinner courtesy of our hosts Rosie and Paul ( and a German family who were also staying in the Bed and Breakfast. A sumptuous four course meal has fully sated us and prepared us for the forthcoming day of 208km (thankfully with no hills).

So to the story of the day. Having stayed overnight in the start town for today’s stage (Auray) we set off direct from the hotel to the start at 8am. We were making steady progress until 11km out when Ian’s bottom bracket (the thing that holds the cranks and pedals on to the bike itself) undid itself. This required a call to the support team who were just raising a well earned coffee to their lips.

1 hour later, with problem solved (and feeling rather guilty for having again taken Mum and Dad away from a well-earned coffee), we went on our way through more rolling Breton countryside. The route took in 164km, including our first 3rd category climb – a really killer called the “Wall of Brittany” which just went directly up and over a steep hill – very painful I have to say.

Ian and I were both suffering a variety of complaints – some mentionable and some not so – which will add to the horror and pain of this ride as time wears on.

Anyway, we met up with my parents for a substantial picnic lunch on a green hillside overlooking a small cottage and pond. A very pleasant respite indeed. On we went and said we would meet up again at the finish (103km up the road) in Saint Brieuc.

We struggled initially with a tough crosswind and very rolling and agricultural terrain, before some sweeping descents and a strong tailwind brought us to Saint Brieuc and the finish where we managed (luckily) to meet up with Mum and Dad in what was a very sprawling city.

The countryside to date has been very attractive and while the attention tends to waver somewhat as the day wears on, cycling certainly is a great way to se a country.

We are learning as we go in terms of organisation and the role of the support team has been key as this allows us to get the miles done in an efficient time and also helps in complicated towns as they can go ahead and help us through via our walkie talkies which we are carrying.

A hard day’s ride at an average of 16.2 for the 103 miles – taking 6:23:00 compared to the pros 3:45:00 – led by Thor Hushovd.

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