London to Brighton

Running away with it

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It is not something I am very good at and which is probably why I have refrained from running in the past. However this changed last week when at work there was a 10km charity team relay. Basically team of five members who ran two laps of the school field on a course which had been measured out at 1km.

As the winter approaches and the evenings become darker it isn’t as easy to get out on the bike in the week. The dark evenings also provide a suitable amount of cover for when I pull myself around the streets close to my house. If I manage to continue to keep this going it will really help with the winter training which until now has fully stopped due to the pressures of work etc. I have managed 2 runs since the weekend the first being quite frankly horrible. My breathing was out and I had to walk more than I felt I should and I managed 3.5km in a very sorry 26 minutes. At least the second run last evening was better as I managed 4km in 25 minutes so at least there has been some progress. I know these figures are hardly earth shattering (that is just the effect when my heavy body smashes into the ground), but I suppose it is a start and we all have to start somewhere.

What do I hope to achieve? I hope the end result will be less weight which will help when on the bike (and running) and improved cardiovascular ability which means I can go further for longer. This combined with the full on training programme come the spring should have me fully prepared for 2014 and the rides which I aim to complete, Ride London 100 (if I get through the ballot), either London to Brighton or Dunwich Dynamo and the possibility of the school cycle event which I will need to organise.

So there could well have been a shift in activity, along with a change in the season, but the end goal is still less weight and go longer on the bike. All through hard work and more hard work. No turning to the dark days of cycling to help me through the long dark winter which faces us.

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4 hours 38 minutes (part 2)

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The second part of this story is just as important as the first, but for many different reasons. When you finish the London to Brighton bike ride you have to somehow get home. You can pay for a truck and bus service to transport you and your bike back to London, which is the only real option as the train companies won’t allow you to take your bike on the train. Alternatively you cycle back again and I’m not ready for this yet. The bus it is. The last morning bus leaves at 8am and this was not going to be a problem we decided upon the option of the afternoon service as this allows you to enjoy what Brighton has to offer, a beach and bars on a very hot summers day. Tired from the ride this was a good call.

From part 1 you will know of the slightly annoying PA announcer who was only doing his job, but I know, but he managed to remind us of the 3pm bus service will be leaving at 3pm from the finish. It was near the finish, about 500 yards away and when we arrived at 2.45pm we joined the queue to get home, hoping it would be a quick journey as I just wanted to sleep. The bikes were loaded onto a lorry and we boarded the bus.

old bus Whilst this is not the exact bus, as I didn’t take a picture of it and for other reasons, it is good enough to set the scene. Remember Sunday afternoon was the hottest day of the year and back in the 1980’s when I assume the bus we used was built “air con” was just something you would find mentioned by Del Boy in Only Fools and Horses as a new Business venture he was getting involved with, or just a con which he had fallen for! As you can imagine the environment on the bus was about as warm as a volcano when it was erupting and the humidity was around 400%. Moist was an understatement. If I had shower gel I could have taken a shower right there on the seat. Anyway i was tired and the journey wouldn’t be too long so get some sleep and just get on with it. Oh the windows opened about as far as the Royal Mail will allow for a standard small letter today!

We finally leave about 3.20 and the temperature drops to about 40C and I think I fall asleep. I wake up on the motorway in a long line of traffic somewhere Gatwick. Phone battery is running low and the same is occurring on @GrabsNowBlog mobile too. The driver did understand to a degree and eventually he did stop at a BP garage where we got some water and a large Twix, We had every window we could open except for the ones which had been screwed shut. The bus was obviously used on the school run during the week, so I can only assume they were screwed shut to stop the young people throwing things out from the upper deck. We were up stairs too, and I think it was marginally cooler here, but the margins were about the same as a bunch sprint in the tour when Cavendish won his last stage a few days ago – zero! At one point I turn to a fellow rider/passenger and say we need a hashtag for this experience. It now exists and is #stuckonaveryhotbus. If nothing else it should be used to unite those people who were together on “that bus” on “that afternoon” as we all shared “that horrible experience”.

We arrive back at Clapham Common and then pile off the bus, much to the annoyance of the local road users (in cars) who after waiting about 1.1 micro seconds started on the horns to move the bus. The road was blocked with a bus one side and a lorry the other. At this point, however I couldn’t see their point. The bus did move when everyone got off. It was only a few minutes. The lorries also moved, and the annoying thing about this was they contained our bikes so it was another half an hour waiting for them to return, before we could cycle north across London to get the train home. At this point I think I had lost more weight on the journey back to London than on the ride itself. If only the journey had taken 4h 38 minutes. It certainly felt longer although in reality it was about 3 hours.

Eventually the bikes were back in our possession and we started the ride back on the cycle lanes of London to the station north of the river. Luck would have it the train was there and we only had about a 5 minute wait. At last the final leg of the journey was here, well apart from the 3 miles cycle from the station to the house but that was the easy bit.

I hope you have enjoyed both parts of the 4 hours 38 minute story which is just my reflection of the experience. I have no doubt edited bits as my memory struggles to remember them and have not been as close to the mark as I could have been. Although saying that the ride was excellent, the travel back was very mush a chore.

 

London to Brighton 2 weeks to go!

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The 14th July is just under two weeks away (at the time of writing) and its the time I will attempt to cycle from London to Brighton (#l2b) in sub four hours raising money for The British Heart Foundation. There is still time to get in a few more training rides this week, a big one at the weekend and then taper it off next week before the big day (or night). There is still time to show your support by visiting my fundraising page and push me over my target. I know you’ve been busy, but go on do it now! Every little helps.

 

As well as the training for the event I have had to look again at my equipment, train with it on so we know how it feels and how it and I perform with it all in place. Earlier posts refer to the bike, shoes, mits, pedals and jacket which will be the main part of my equipment for this challenge. Within the last two weeks my ride pack has arrived containing my number, map and other useful information. I also need to have alternative footwear for the time in Brighton before the travel service back to London, and therefore a small back pack to wear on the ride. Lessons from last year are this needs to be small as last year my rucksack was too big and didn’t help. I had thought of not having a bag and just use the pockets on jackets and saddle bag, but no space for footwear.

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A solution has been found. I have managed to pick up this bright, reflective and very light backpack which is big enough to contain my jacket, flip flops (very stylish I know), wallet, keys and the mobile. This will leave the pockets in the jersey for the gels and food. The bag is also waterproof, especially as it has now been sprayed with some very good waterproofing spray from Millets before they disappeared from our high streets.

 

 

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I have ordered my nutrition for the event from Wiggle who had a good deal to get the water bottle free. £3.19 for 5 energy bars is i thought a good deal so ordered two. This means ill have two bottles as well so ideal for the ride.

 

Also on order are some arm warmers as I will be wearing a short sleeved shirt and these will be easy to roll down when the weather gets warmer as we reach Brighton. I have checked the long range forecast and the Sunday afternoon could have sunny weather and 25 degrees C! Image If that is the case there will be a need for me to use the other lenses which will arrive with my new cycling glasses. The clear lenses will be ideal for the dark, or I could use the lo light ones, before changing them again for the sunny weather we could get come Sunday afternoon. Again these were available on Wiggle with an offer. The fact these have been recommended by Cycling Plus and you get the interchangeable lenses included, what a bargain (£32).

 

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It would get cold without the jersey. It was a present from my last workplace and I now have an opportunity to wear it other than on a normal ride. It is tight, but then again cycling clothing is supposed to be, but this is the most snug I have ever felt in a cycle jersey. It isn’t too small (at L) and i have some idea of what the pro riders feel like when their wear their skin suits on time trials. I say some idea as this jersey is certainly not a second skin, but very close to it.

 

I think I am ready. Well I know i am ready. Just a few emails to chase by return coach and truck ticket, but I am sure this is in hand, and with a few more rides then it show time. Watch out people no. 2091 will be on his way in an attempt to complete 60 miles in sub four hours, in the process raising more then £250 for The British Heart Foundation. Please if you have read this and not get sponsored me please visit my fundraising page and help me make a different to people we don’t even know. Heart failure can affect anyone of us at any time, and I sure want a cure, so in the future, I am diagnosed with heart failure I might have a chance of living a different life to those present sufferers from the disease.

 

Thank you for supporting this great charity and fantastic cause. Also thank you to all the people who have wished me luck with my own personal challenge.

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What a (cycling) weekend, in la Tour and elsewhere

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Well on Saturday the 100th Tour de France go under way in Corsica. And the first stage was eventful if nothing else. This was a stage which was targeted by the sprinters as their chance to wear yellow for a day, but chaos marred the stage.

 

As the image shows the team bus of Orica GreenEDGE was stuck under the finish line Imagewhich caused the finish to be moved to the 3km to go stage, but then the bus was successfully removed and the finish was able to be used. However there was still a bit of panic in the peloton and a crash ended the hopes of many of the sprinters of taking the stage including Cavendish who was caught up in the delay rather than the crash. As a result the times were neturalised and the yellow jersey was on position. This meant that David Miller was in fourth on the second stage and his team were working hard to try and put him in yellow for stage three today.

 

A potential nightmare nearly played out in the final stages of stage two with a Scottish Imageterrier lose on the road and it just moved out of the way as the fast approaching peloton came around a corner. Thankfully the riders didn’t crash and as far as I am aware the dog is fine to. However if you take a dog near a sporting event keep it on a lead please, as Carlton Kirby mentioned in commentary.

 

However before the do incident on the final climb Chris Froome send a message to his rivals and it could be a big one. Up the final climb he injected pace which took him out of the wheel of team mate Richie Porte and made an attempt to catch the lone Europcar rider and bridge the gap. The peloton didn’t, chose not to or couldn’t respond. After the stage Froome said it was good to keep people on their toes and he went to make the decent safer as he was alone. This may have been the case but it is a clear message that Sky have the option of the explosion which wasn’t seen in last years tour. We knew Froome was in the form of his life, but this really sent a message.

 

So with the third stage today and the final one on Corsica before the Team Time Trial in Nice tomorrow it will be another interesting stage and who knows what will happen today. It might just be a “boring” day of breakaways and cycling skill, rather than stuck buses and wandering dogs. Lets hope so.

 

Away from the tour on a personal note I was out again on another training ride and with just one more weekend before the London to Brighton Nigh Ride, which will be a long one, I am feeling ready to go. This week I’ll cycle to work, put about  in my legs this week, before tapering off the training in the final week to limit injury and ensure I am in the right place to achieve sub 4 hours. Until then its tour highlights just to keep the cycling juices following.

My fundraising page is still active and I am so close to my target, just £20 required before event day. You can show your support here. Thank you it means a lot to me but even more to The British Heart Foundation.

Images from http://www.metro.co.uk and http://www.telegraph.co.uk

Its real.

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I knew our challenge was real as I experienced the ride last year. However when talking to another participant of this years ride yesterday they said they had received their pack, and mine had not yet arrived. As you can see mine came today. Again like last year the fact I will cycle from London to Brighton has really got home again.

The strange thing is I feel ready for the ride and knew it was coming. The sponsorship is getting there (£40 to go), the bike is a dream to ride and I feel good about attacking the route for a sub for hour time. It’s not until your pack arrives that it seems task and I don’t know why but it is.

I have to say the pack is a great improvement from last year. The map us in much more detail, taken from an OS map. It is the size if a map too which is good but lets face it you are unlikely to get lost just follow every other rider. Saying this we did take a wrong turn last year due to a marshall not being in the right place.

So now it’s time to put the finishing touches to my ride preparations. Time to get my gels from the local bike shop, get the bike serviced in the final week before event day and arrange two light rides for the final week. Also need to eat chicken with some pasta on the Friday and get some sleep Saturday afternoon. This I didn’t manage last year as it was so got on event day.

I now feel part of the team now my pack has arrived. It real. I am doing this and helping make a difference. I have been able to combine raising money for an excellent cause by completing an activity I really enjoy. I really am quite lucky to be able to have this opportunity. Sub for hours here we come. Fingers Crossed.

Its real.

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I knew our challenge was real as I experienced the ride last year. However when talking to another participant of this years rife yesterday they said they had received their pack, and mine had not yet arrived. As you can see mine came today. Again like last year the fact I will cycle from London to Brighton has really got home again.

The strange thing is I feel ready for the ride and knew it was coming. The sponsorship is getting there (£40 to go), the bike is a dream to ride and I feel good about attacking the route for a sub for hour time. It’s not until your pack arrives that it seems task and I don’t know why but it is.

I have to say the pack is a great improvement from last year. The map us in much more detail, taken from an OS map. It is the size if a map too which is good but lets face it you are unlikely to get lost just follow every other rider. Saying this we did take a wrong turn last year due to a marshall not being in the right place.

So now it’s time to put the finishing touches to my ride preparations. Time to get my gels from the local bike shop, get the bike serviced in the final week before event day and arrange two light rides for the final week. Also need to eat chicken with some pasta on the Friday and get some sleep Saturday afternoon. This I didn’t manage last year as it was so got on event day.

I now feel part of the team now my pack has arrived. It real. I am doing this and helping make a difference. I have been able to combine raising money for an excellent cause by completing an activity I really enjoy. I really am quite lucky to be able to have this opportunity. Sub for hours here we come. Fingers Crossed.

I just can’t wait…

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For the Tour De France which has its grand depart at the end of June and for my own challenge if London to Brighton at night for the second year running.

Let’s start with my own challenge, London to Brighton. The distance isn’t a problem, 60 miles, it’s can we do it in sub four hours. This involves a moving average of 25kmph. Sounds straight forward enough, especially on a road bike which I an becoming very comfortable on. Stock up with water, gels and a Jaffa cake or two and as long as we don’t need to stop, the target is on. Even with the big hill, Devil’s Dike at about 48 miles the rest of the ride should allow time to be made up before we reach the climb. I know this as I know the route from last year and I know what shape I’m in with my new bike. Plus there is still four weeks left to lose a few more pounds (as he puts the lovely point of Adnams down). Monday will see the serious diet and proper food prep I tell myself. The training ride in the morning will help, as we are going a power hour. This is a short warm up then go hell for leather in one direction for 30 minutes, then turn as around and come back. The plan is to build the power and operating at a high tempo. On another point good luck to all doing the day ride tomorrow. Your doing a great job well done. I can’t wait for my chance to see if I can achieve my goal of sub for hours, as I know I’ll be raising some money for The British Heart Foundation to find a cure for heart failure. You can show your support by sponsoring me a few pounds, Dollars, Euros or whatever your currency is here. Thank you your help is really appreciated.

As I complete my challenge the greatest cycle race will be two weeks old as the Rogers prepare for the final week. Hopefully Chris Froome will be in yellow and with the support of Team Sky will hold off any final attacks from the likes of Contador et al and we can have another British winner of Le Tour. With a bit of good fortune, which you need in cycling, winning The Tour Dr France could be like waiting for a bus. You wait for ages then two come along at once! Come on Froomy make your great form count now! Last year they said the course was perfect for Wiggins, well I said when this course was announced it was suited to Froome. Only time will tell but I hope he does the business.

I know there are many others who are just waiting for the Tour to start. At least we age nearly there. Let’s cross everything and hope for a great double, sub four hours for me (& reaching my target) and a second British winner of The Tour de France.