Monday, 30 January 2012

Mr Tony's First 100

Being stir-crazy after three weeks off the bike, I was not going to be denied the opportunity of riding the Windrush Winter Warm Up in the balmy three degrees centigrade forecast for last Sunday.

Tony's training seems to be coming along well too, so he signed up as well, together with my wife and Geoff from Tamworth CC.

Thus the four of us arrived in the temperate South (well, Cirencester) to revel in the lack of frost which had greeted us at home. Having said that, it still weren't warm. Tony, being hard, was standing around waiting in his shorts! Discretion eventually took over and he donned his waterproofs to keep out the wind chill.

Starting out, we had gone but 5km when we noted that the fog was thickening, and our gloves were coated in something close to frost (thankfully only very cold condensation). Catching the group, we were looking forward to a little peloton riding until one of their number punctured, and we were again down to 4.

Exiting Fairford, a moments inattention dropped me into a bike-swallower of a pothole. Breath was held, but wheels didn't collapse. I thought I'd got away with it, but within half a mile, my rear tyre was flat, and I was stopped at the side of the road making repairs. I sent the other three on secure in the knowledge that it wouldn't take long to fix. Wrong!! I was on the winter bike with it's harder to re-tyre Fulcrum 7's and it took 15 minutes.

Commence the time trial/pursuit. Despite the fact that this was punctuated by a couple of phone calls (kids, who'd have them) I caught them before the first control, after 25km of very hot pursuit. This included a 10 mile stretch in 31:47, not bad on the Winter Steed.

Tony was at this point quite enjoying himself, and about to become acquainted with the audax cyclists love of CAKE.

After the first stint of 48km, and with cake consumed, we set off into the picturesque Windrush Valley, visible now the fog had lifted. By the time we arrived at Great Barrington for pasta (76km done) we were still going well, but ready for a rest.

Unfortunately, the biggest, longest climb of the ride comes straight after the final feed when legs are still cold and stiff. By the top, Tony had done his longest ever ride, and was venturing into unknown territory. As the rolling countryside continued, the kilometres took their toll, and thus provided proper training.

The weather exacted its revenge on Tony's unprotected toes, and he is now considering overshoes. I hadn't the heart to tell him that it's the top of a slippery slope and he will soon be clad head-to-toe in close-fitting multi-coloured lycra, and venturing out around his housing estate looking like an advert for the local fetish shop.

6 hours and 15 minutes after starting, we finished. 108km, or 67 miles in real money. Not hugely fast, but with stops and punctures included. Most importantly, 67 valuable winter training miles, and a trip into unknown territory. Better yet, Tony wants to do more.

Game on!

The Rhino

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Nutrition Help!

I rode 70 miles at the weekend (including fish and saintbury hills) but really bottomed out towards the end. I barely made it home in the end. Therefore, I'd lilke to open up the forum on nutrition for all you seasoned long distance travellers!

During the ride I consumed one nature valley bar, some brazil nuts and raisens, one banana, 2 portions of soreen, a dairy milk bar, 2 750ml bottles of water (one including a berry zero tab). Ride time of just over 5 hours. I'm looking into improving my nutrition before, during and after riding, but just thought it might be a good topic to discuss.


Sunday, 22 January 2012

Get Your Votes In!

Right then gents, I have been very lenient (and lazy) to extend the charity pool until this weekend so the choices are as follows:

1. Cyclists Fighting Cancer
2. Acorns Children's Hospice
3. Spinal Research
4. Uniting World
5. Shakespeare's Hospice

By my reckoning, CFC has 3 votes, no's 2-4 have 1 vote each and Mr Lover couldn't make his mind up so I've included Shakespeare's Hospice as that was one of his many choices!

Therefore the people who I need a decision from are Guiseppe, Filippo, The Colonel & Mr Lover. The final results will be announced at the end of this week (29th Jan) as we need to start planning fundraising events.

Thanks Brett

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

First Post

I feel I should put a bit of effort in and have a go at this blogging business, since I haven’t seen any of you guys in a while now and I want to keep in touch.

I am very much excited about the prospect of the greatest ride of my life so far! Training is coming along nicely and I have ventured out into the great British winter most weeks since we signed up. Anytime I feel I’m flagging, I have this motivation that I’ve never had before, and this comes from the fear of the dreaded broom wagon sweeping up the stragglers on the big day! I have waited my whole life for a reason to train for a specific event, and the Etape seems to fit the bill.

With regard to the fund raising, I hope I’m not too late Mr Brett Geldof-Green, but I would like to throw another idea for a fund raising cause. During my travelling to Africe in 2005, I worked for a local mission in Zambia (a small village called Mwandi) where they look after orphaned children in the local community. The Australian lady that began this in 2004 (Fiona who has received an Australian Member to the Order of Australia for her efforts ) has managed to build a drop in centre, a playground and develop the medical centre. These children now depend on the support that they give so any funds that they receive go directly to help people that really do need it. Even a small donation to this can make a difference. Just a thought.

If I haven't said it before, without Clive and everyone that's helped organise this, I probably would have been too lazy to do it myself, so cheers. I look forward to the time when there is no longer gritty, slippy, dirty roads, but for now I’ll be out as much as I can, on my bike, pedalling along …

Monday, 16 January 2012

I love it....

....when a plan comes together.

Eurotunnel reservations are in place for the 5th July outward, and the 14th return. Both crossings are at about 10p.m. so we have time for a leisurely depart at either end (depending on whether you boys insist on working the 5th July, which I shall probably not).

I have a copy of the Gite contract to run past our friendly neighbourhood French person, so all that seems to be left is the training. 173 days to go, in the words of Mr Jeremy Clarkson "How hard can it be?"

Thursday, 12 January 2012

The Poor Student

Clive's traditional New Year opener, this is a basic level 200km Audax event starting and finishing in Oxford. This year's event was on Saturday 7th January, and thankfully the weather relented from the grot of the preceding week and granted us fine weather.

Arriving early at the Park & Ride, there was only limited faffing and we were ready for an early getaway. Sneaking off a few minutes early, we were noticed by the Audax Gods who, frowning upon our 'cheating' dispatched the Puncture Fairy to enact their vengeance upon us. A puncture after just 400 metres is NOT the best start to a year.

Patched up, we headed through the 'official' route under the Bridge of Sighs and through the ancient University Buildings before heading West into the fresh and persistent wind. The first indication that "weight loss is good" was that I arrived at the top of Cumnor Hill in the main group, and without the customary lung hanging out. Ray, who was accompanying me, was already struggling after being ill all week.

Shrivenham and Swindon came and went, the wind remained. Long draggy bits were climbed more easily than normal, but Ray went off the back a couple of times, normally he's another one who is a nightmare to keep up with uphill. As we arrived in Malmesbury after 80km, we caught Marmite Geoff who had started even earlier. I was up for a quick "grab and go" stop at the garage control, Ray decided completing the event with Geoff was far more sensible, and let me go. Despite the wind, the first leg had only taken 3 1/2 hours for 80km and I was keen to see what time I could finish in.

Having refuelled at the garage with the obligatory dirty pasty (Cheese & Bacon Ginsters Mmmmmm) and first of the day's 3 cans of Relentless (really must check if that stuff is on the UCI list of banned substances) I left quickly and was soon blasting along the main road. I credited the refuelling with my speed increase, but it was probably due to the fact that the first bit of the second section went East with the wind.

Flashes of brightly coloured lycra could be seen way ahead on occasions and through the Cotswold Water Park to Cirencester, I managed to reel in many of them. Even when we reached the long drag of the WhiteWay no-one came past. Approaching the "Compton Abdale Alps", 3 steep climbs one after the other, I could see a largish group near the top (probably 5 minutes ahead). On each climb, they were a little closer, and it may have taken 6 miles, but eventually I caught them up, and we cycled into Chipping Camden together. I realise now that no-one overtook me on the second leg over the Cotswolds. Previously, I've been on my own, save for the few seconds of respite when passed by others.

Equally, last year I left Chipping Camden in the dark, this year we were in and out by 2:45. Fuelled by double Relentless intake our group of 5 stayed together over the lumps and bumps to Moreton-in-Marsh, and I climbed Dorn Hill near Draycott for the first time on this event without walking. It helps to be doing it in the daylight, and to be able to see how much of it is left. We arrived at Shipston-Under-Wychwood, only ??km from the finish before stopping to put on lights, and had the energy left to sprint up the chevronned climb in Finstock in the big ring after 180km ("weight loss is good"). The last few kilometres is gradually downhill or flat, but I was still amazed (and dead chuffed) to arrive back at the start at 17:03. A personal best by three hours ("weight loss is good").

My phone threw a wobbly about operating Endomondo in low power mode, insisting that I had travelled to and from London several times in the day. However, my trusty GPS functioned well, and I managed to upload the stats here. A great ride made better by an unexpectedly good performance.

Ray & Geoff finished too, by the way.

Posting to Static Pages

Dear Tour de Mercredi

Only the Home page on this Blog is capable of taking 'dynamic' posts from you boys. All of the other pages are 'static' and can only be edited by logging in and selecting the "design" option.
You can only do this if you are a blog administrator, so as of this evening you all are. So, if you wish to post to the static pages, please log in, go to 'design' and select the "Updated Blogger Interface". When the blog dashboard appears, select the 'Pages' icon on the Left to list the Blog Pages.

Select "Edit" next to the page you wish to amend, and place your post at the top, above the existing text. This will ensure all recent posts are near the top. Alternatively, post your content to the "Home" page as normal, and I will copy of move it to the requested page.


Tuesday, 10 January 2012

A Worthy Cause!

Happy New Year to all you Etappers out there, I hope you've kick started those training plans as we enter, what I hope is a memorable year for all of us!

I have take it upon myself to become the official sponsorship organiser for our L'Etape event as one of the goals I set myself at the start of the year was to raise at least double what Clive and I did when we entered back in 2008. For your information it was £3,426.50 so £7k would be a tremendous effort and I genuinely think this is achievable as there are 10 of us going which equates to £700 each or £100 per person, per month....come on you know we can do it!

I will be looking to organise a few events before our trip such as a charity bike ride, quiz night, sponsored leg wax, plus any other ideas you guys want to throw at me, so get your thinking caps on. In my experience the organised events tend to raise the most amount of money so I want to get the 1st one planned fairly soon.

Which brings me to the final point of the post, which is we never agreed on a charity to raise money for so here is my suggestion of how we organise this in a fair manner:

If you wish to put a charity into the "voting pool" then please post the name of your charity along with the reason why you've picked it, by no later than Friday 13th January. If you don't have a preference then please post a nil return or if I haven't heard from you by the deadline I will also take that as a nil return. I will then get Clive to summarise the selections on the blog and everyone will then have one voting right to pick the charity of their choice. The charity with the most votes is the winner and if we have a tie we will split the money according to how many charities shared the most votes.

I hope everyone's happy with the rules but any suggestions or improvements, let me know ASAP!

Brian Camembert / Brett "Geldof" Green

The T-Bone Returns

So the honeymoon periods over, literally, and its time for me to drag myself onto Joanne (the bike) and begin what is sure to be a prolonged period of pain.

I'm totally out of shape and about as rock bottom as can be cycling wise so should be fun to see where this goes.

Thanks to Agent Rhino for to comprehensive document on preparing for this. You are the Mourhino of cycling.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Tips on Nutrition & Winter Training

Just in case you haven't received the email, there are a couple of interesting articles on the l'etape du tour Mondovelo website in relation to nutrition and winter training.......every little helps as they say:

I will do my best to be a bit more active on the blog this year, I promise!!!

I managed to complete 2000 miles last year which wasn't a bad effort but way off the pace compared to some of the other Etappers so I am aiming to complete this distance before we set off for France in early July along with getting to a target weight of 12 stone.

I always find it good to share your goals with the group that way we can all help each other and keep the encouragement/motivation levels high. Clive - maybe we should have a separate page on the blog which shows everyone's goals and progress?

Keep those legs spinning, Brian Camembert :-)