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 8: Figeac - Toulouse 172.5km 14/7/08


We set off in straight from our hotel in the morning and in thick, thick fog. This necessitated an extra climb out of the town of Figeac before we actually reached the route which was a shame but did help on the old warm-up (though the downhills were distinctly cool!). Matt’s parents set off later (after finding a launderette to try and dry some of our clothes which we had attempted to wash the previous night in the bath) and were due to pick up support team #2 (Team Kate – made up of Ian’s girlfriend Kate and her friend Kate!)

The stage included two 4th cat and two 3rd cat climbs overall, but stacked towards the beginning of the day. As the fog cleared the day became increasingly hot – it was good to feel the sun after so many days of distinctly average weather.

We aranged to meet after having completed all of the day’s climbs and managed to do so for lunch after the village of Cestayrols. A little spot by the countryside road next to a field of corn and overlooking some blooming sunflowers provided a very pleasant setting and a first meeting with Team Kate.

The roads today were very quiet due to the fact that it was Bastille Day. We didn’t see any evidence of celebration but maybe everyone was steeling themselves for the forthcoming evening.

Over the course of the day the landscape changed noticeably to become more Mediterranean.

From lunch we set off to cover the remaining downhill and flat miles to Toulouse and accomplished this ahead of schedule – all in all a good day. We had passed through Gaillac – a noted wine region, some of which we later sampled a couple of bottles of in an excellent Moroccan restaurant with very poor service!

We were late to bed which was a shame as we had to be up very early the next day to set off on the mammoth 224km stage from Toulouse to Bagneres de Bigorre in the heart of the Pyrennes.

It had been unfortunate not to see more of Bastille day celebrations but we were too tired and knew we had to be up early.

Finished in 6:49:33 (average of 16.3mph) compared to the pros (led in by Bristain's Mark Cavendish, picking up his second Tour stage) who finished in 4:02:54.

No comments: