Tour De Force Training, 1st Entry

Short version: I’ve started training… please sponsor me 😛 For more on what is involved look here

Long version… (I can’t work out how to embed iframes in a wordpress site, otherwise they’d be maps and stuff here)

I did my first training ride on the 11th of Jan. A quick 42.18 miles from my front door to a place called Lewknor. Famous for being where the buses between Oxford & London stop for no apparent reason. Mostly I am putting this ride down as a ‘learning experience’ which is code for what not to do… Things I will try and avoid again.

  1. Starting after Lunch (to be fair I had an opticians appointment in the morning). But in an English winter this leave you chasing daylight
  2. Starting in central ish London. From my house its 10 miles ish to the M25, then another 15 to the other side of maidenhead. Which means 25 miles of traffic & traffic lights before you can really start to enjoy the ride. By which time you’ve been on the bike for 2 hours and are beginning to tire a bit
  3. Apples are not real food… well they are but for bike food they come a distant 2nd to cake.

 

The following weekend was a longer, 71.27 miles. Learning my lessons from the previous week. I started earlier, drove to somewhere nice and went armed with cake.

Last weekend (25th, 26th) was Daffer’s mountain biking birthday weekend. So two days of cycling, adding a few hill reps on after finishing the biking to make sure I was good and knackered by the end…

Anyway, training started so far so good. Need more cake.

Cycling Le Tour de France (for Charity)

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In a moment of questionable genius I have signed up to cycle the last nine days of the 2014 Tour de France (the other 12 were too flat).

The Charity that organise this are the William Wates Memorial Trust whose mission is to help the most disadvantaged young people keep away from a life of crime and violence and fulfill their potential through sport. Which seems fairly in keeping with cycling several hundred kilometres over some excessively large mountains.

Obviously in the end I get to cycle several stages of Le Tour de France which should be tops. But in between now and then I suspect I am going to have to spend more hours on a bike than is enjoyable in an English winter. I might even have to give up beer for a bit…

So this is the sponsor me please blog post.

But I might take some time to point out just what a lot effort this is going to be.

9 Days of the Tour De France

In total this is 1,504 kilometres of riding over some of the biggest climbs of the Alps & the Pyrenees before heading to the party in Paris.

The stages to look out for are: Stage 14

Stage 14

A stage that could be made slightly more epic by paddling the Guisane & the Guil rivers with maybe a bit of via ferrata.

And Stage 18

Stage 18

Where I’ll get to tick off Tourmalet, with a smile of my face, pain in my legs and one more climb to go.

Anyway, the other stages aren’t exactly flat but those are the big ones so sponsor me please. For those who don’t have the money to donate I will also be looking for training buddies. So you can donate some time on a bike that’s also acceptable.

Spain and Portugal

With much thanks to Prince William, Kate Middleton, the creator of Gregorian Calendar & Jesus the UK managed to fit 4 public Holidays into a less than 2 weeks. (Good Friday, Easter Monday, the Royal Wedding, 1st Monday of May).

To celebrate the Royal Wedding myself and Bean (mate from London) decided to hang out at the beach in Portugal. Obviously flying straight to Portugal would be a bit boring, Barcelona is a far more convenient place to start.

I can’t remember anything spectacular about Barcelona, I saw an old church, climbed something tall. Met a German called Fritz with a Bob Marley obsession and some Israeli’s who put up with me over beers for a few days… despite the fact that the only Hebrew I know is “5 minutes Breasts”. My Hebrew Lesson.

5 minutes Breasts

Bob Marley Obsession?

From there I went to Madrid, where I did a few more touristy things but completely failed to take any photos. I will give a recommendation for New Europe Tours. After wandering into town with no plan I found these guys with a big red umbrella offering “Free Tours”. The price seemed right so I tagged along and thoroughly enjoyed it. I learnt many things about Spanish & Madrid history mostly I remember The Habsburg Family who had a fondness for sleeping with their cousins. I believe the Spanish all love their current monarch Juan Carlos too. He did some good things allowing the transition from Franco to a Democracy.

After that I met some guys in the Hostel and we went out and found beers the size of our heads!

Beer the size of your head

The following day wandering around town I bumped into some people from the free tour, apparently the same company run a “tapas tour”. Which is basically a pub crawl with (Spanish) food. Again no photos but it was tops, the tapas itself was a bit disappointing but following on from the tour some of us continued the crawl with less food and more Sangria.

Next Stop, Lisbon! Lisbon was tops I am sure the experience was helped by finding the Alfama Patio Hostel Which is probably the coolest hostel I have ever stayed in, big clean rooms, friendly staff & guests, a well stocked fridge and in an awesome location. Also in Lisbon I caught up with Bean & his missus Peru who compete for silliest nicknames.

Bean

Would you rename your Girlfriend because you can't pronounce her name?

We spent 6 days in Lisbon and made it to the beach on one occasion (it rained). Bean has a theory that if you don’t know the history of anything you should make it up. Which lead to Lisbon having an amusing history of being conquered by just about everyone. Humour was added by our new friend Michael who we met in the hostel who was convinced Portugal was some kind of backwater… he was irritating while he was there, but provided many jokes once he left. Particular amusement when his mum phoned the hostel to check he was OK.

Bean & Michael

I also recommend Sintra and the Pena Palace as places to go if you ever visit Lisbon. Anyway, more photos if people are interested.

SkiFest 2011

… was tops.

Other people took photos

I made a video

HellRunner 2010

… was tops. In all 10 LUCC old gits and associates took on the 18th Toughest Challenge the world has to offer.

It was muddy, the Bog of Doom was smelly. A good time was had by all!

Results are below, Tim ran as Dan Greenwood, Will ran as someone who lost their timing chip, but is claiming 2hrs 5

Adie Greenwood 01:15:18 01:14:57
Lancaster Michael 01:18:02 01:17:41
David Coote 01:29:05 01:27:43
Arlett Schmidt 01:39:46 01:38:42
Chris Crawley 01:41:11 01:39:49
Anna Carpenter 01:46:58 01:45:36
Dan Greenwood 01:53:32 01:52:11
Claire Lancaster 01:58:08 01:56:46
Catherine Turner 01:59:24 01:58:02

The Chicken Wing impression from me is what happens if you run a day after a shoulder dislocation!

When roofracks go wrong

… Go Ugandan.

Ugandan Style Roofracks!

So if you could pick an ideal place to lose your roofracks. A car park at 10 mph or under would be nice. A Motorway, in the right lane at exactly the speed limit 😛 would be less nice.

I can’t be bothered doing the maths, but I am fairly certain that two kayaks is under the weight limit for a decent set of roofracks, and bending shouldn’t happen

Good roofrack on right, bad roofrack on left.

Anyway, now stuck at the side of a fairly major road. With two kayaks that you have had to drag off the road (in a hurry) neither of which will fit inside your car. And you no longer have roofracks. Bugger! Time to get creative.

In Praise of…

Last FM and [Spunge]

So, Last FM is an internet radio style website. That claims to learn your taste in music and recommend new stuff. Basically, I think it does pretty well. A couple of weeks ago it introduced me to Spunge so using grooveshark another favourite internet music site of mine I investigated further and discovered they do indeed rock!

Sunday, they played at the o2 in Angel. Less than £10 for a band I had never heard of 2 weeks ago… they rock.