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

Monday, 23 June 2008

Brecon Reservoirs 102km

Firstly, some more interest in our tour from the media. We have been contacted this week by the Daily Record, a Scottish national paper, and the Evesham, Cotswold and Tewkesbury Observer. Hopefully this will spread the word a bit more.

Saturday was supposed to be the local Avon Cycleway 130km for me but on rising at 7am the weather looked less than settled and set to be a bad day. I decided to give this ride a miss, seeing as I was going to ride the next day, but I regretted this because it turned out to be a dry day.

Sunday required a reasonably early rise of 6.30am to drive to Merthyr Tydfil for the Brecon Reservoirs 102km audax, spurred on by Chris' excellent 6.5 hours for his 100 mile Iron Mountain Sportive the day before. Driving down the M4, spots on my windscreen made me wonder whether I'd chosen the right day to cycle but it was good to see the friendly faces of the orgnaisers at the start who recognised my from the Dic Penderyn 100 a couple of months ago which I rode with Chris and Dave.

Heading out towards the first checkpoint at Trefechan I realised it was going to be hard going with the wind. In fact I heard later that trees had been blown down across the country. I pushed on with two riders, who found the pace heavy going and fell off the back after Llandew. This left me to cycle on my own to the control at Sennybridge (56km). As I was about to set off again, the next chap turned up so I set off again with him. I dropped him after 8km up a really long drag from Crai, straight into a headwind. Turning off towards Heol Senni, I recognised roads from the Dic Penderyn which took me over the Devil's Staircase. The slightly uphill road leading to it was a real struggle against a direct headwind, slowing me to 6mph but I persevered over the top. On through Penderyn and some long hills and on to the finish at Merthyr rugby club. The organisers weren't expecting anybody back this early and weren't at the finish so I had to ring them to come and meet me! The next guy came in 15 minutes after me.

I completed this 64 mile ride in a total time of 4hrs 25 minutes, an hour faster than the Dic Penderyn and averaged 15mph which I was pleased with in the wind. A tough, testing ride in beautiful scenery.