Sunday, 15 August 2010

Update on the road

From Matthew:

It's been a long wait but we are now, finally, on our journey to Lourdes.

We left Islington yesterday at about 11.00am and had a relatively smooth ride out of London.

Patrick had ingeniuosly included the South downs as part of the route to Portsmouth, so we traversed some incredibly beautiful and enchanting forest roads coupled with extreme climbs and brisk descents through the ridges of Midhurst and Petersfield.

We arrived in Portsmouth about 7pm and the bike computers were reading 86 miles in 5.5 hours. (Not bad at all :)

The Travelodge hotel was a welcoming sight and our brilliant support team (Dail, Alex and James) had already checked us and our luggage in. (Thanks guys)

Today we spent squeezing everything including the bikes onto, inside and around the car and getting the 14:45 speed ferry to Caen, which got us into France at 7pm.

Tomorrow's a hard day so I'm having an early night (mustn't forget we're riding on the other side of the road tomorrow !!! ')Bon nuit xx

Saturday, 14 August 2010

They're off!

They're off! Patrick and Matthew have started on their long 600 mile journey to Lourdes. Thank you for your sponsorship so far! Please sponsor us at:

Monday, 9 August 2010

5 days to go

From Matthew:

Hello supporters of Patrick and Matthew’s big bike ride to Lourdes.

Well in less than 5 days we’ll be heading off from Islington, London and in 13 days we’ll have arrived in Lourdes, France.

Somehow I’ve clocked up about 800 miles in three weeks, assisted by a particularly punishing 126 mile marathon with Patrick last Sunday. We decided to emulate a ’difficult’ day by cycling from London to Cambridge in 4 hours, a 45 minute lunch (lasagne courtesy of my mother x) and then a gruelling dash back to London - chasing the setting sun. I haven’t really experienced leg muscle pain like this before and found that, towards the end, the stopping and starting at traffic lights became a much more painful experience than going up any of the hills. It sometimes feels that what I’m attempting to do is beyond me - the body just isn’t going to cope with this 6 days in a row. But it’s remarkable how the muscles rejuvenate and recover so quickly over night, proving that our bodies are capable of doing so much more than we think!!

The great bonus of all this training is that I get to eat loads and loads of cakes and pasta. I also routinely prepare a selection of chocolate raisins and jelly babies that go in my jersey back pocket. (Patrick prefers his wine gums) It’s quite an art form twisting the left hand round the back and into the pocket for a handful of goodies :) For me, it’s the ‘raisin d’etre !!! (sorry).

I’m going to leave you with a few impressive statistics from Patrick’s bike computer report from his last 2008 bike ride from London to Lourdes:

Amount of time: 6 days
Total Distance cycled: 635.12 miles
Time in the saddle: 44hours 57 minutes 20 seconds
Elevation Gain: 33,077 feet
Average speed: 14.1 mph
Average bike cadence: 72rpm
Calories burnt: 34,570 calories (how many bags of wine gums is that Patrick???)

Please, please sponsor us xx

Lots of love

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Hear, hear

From Patrick:
Hear Hear Matthew! Thanks for introducing me to Richmond Park - I really don't know why I hadn't encountered it before.

It's a fantastic setting and allowed us to ride unbroken for a decent amount of time - no traffic lights! plenty of grazing deer though.

I liked it so much I went back on Monday and did another 40 ...miles.

I'll be going back again today to see if I can fit in 50 miles post work before it gets too dark!Once again - thanks to everyone for all your support so far!!

non, je ne regrette rien

From Matthew Sharrock:

I hope you’re enjoying the glorious sun and have managed to coincide the weather with a well-deserved Holiday

Since my last update Patrick and I have had another cycling session in London. On Saturday 17th we decided to look ‘even’ further afield and discovered a popular cycling circuit around Richmond park. After negotiating the mayhem of central London, embankment and Putney (and some rather sadistic white van drivers) we arrived at an idyllic and well groomed Park. It’s an interesting circuit (about 6 / 7 miles all round) with some rather sharp gradients and less sharp, but equally punishing hills. It’s all accompanied by beautifully managed wooded areas and picnic spots for the families and a perfect road surface to clock up the mileage on. It’s also clearly very popular with other lycra-fetish road-bike fanatics too, which generated occasional spurts of competitive ‘racing-mode’ sprinting. We also managed to practise ‘drafting’ each other, although I must admit I did, at times, find it hard to match Patrick’s pace and fell back a bit in the head wind.

All in all we managed 55 miles in about 3 hours that day so I’m well chuffed :) I’m also managing about 120 miles during the week and just hoping and praying that I’m going to be prepared for those open fields and winding forest roads of France....... ‘non, je ne regrette rien .......’ x

Stay tuned to find out how our first 100 mile session goes – with, hopefully, some video footage to put you right in there with us xDon’t forget to sponsor when you can at : and help us raise money for 2 very worthy causes x

Monday, 12 July 2010

More pain

From Matthew Sharrock:

Ok, so it’s taken me about 5 days to recover from the weekend’s intensive bike training with Patrick in London. Saturday was a true shock to the system as I didn’t realise how much actual ‘hill’ training Patrick had in mind. We started with about 8 circuits of Regents park (25 miles) and then it was time for those dreaded hills of Archway / Muswell hill and High Gate. We began with the mildly punishing Archway road and moved onto a variety of other chafing monsters.

All climbs were always complimented by the rather speedy but sometimes hazardous descent down pot-holed / speed-bump strewn side streets. Then came the dreaded ‘High Gate West Hill’ !! The Guardian travel guide says this of it: ‘Highgate West Hill may not even be up there with the toughest climbs in England, let alone the Alps and the Pyrenees, but don't let anyone tell you it doesn't hurt. ... you are suddenly on a hill you won't forget in a hurry. There's a consistently steep gradient from the little roundabout at the bottom of West Hill for about half a mile. Briefly it flattens, only for the sting in the tail to strike when the road turns hard right and the gradient steepens to something like 1-in-5 for the final stretch to St Michael's church .. .’

We decided to finish off with a crawl up Muswell hill and 6 more circuits of Regents Park, totaling 50 miles in 3’20’’, 2 twixes, 4 pints of water and a rather odd lycra shaped sun burn.

On the Sunday we looked further afield to south London and ended up devising a shifty Silverstone style circuit around the Putney bridge / Hammersmith area. I’m looking forward to repaying Patrick with my own ‘Fenboy’ style of cycling retribution when he visits Cambridgeshire ! mwha hahahahha !!!

Bring on the pain (and the sponsorship ;)x x

p.s. Patrick has bought one of those tiny cameras and will be filming his own training – so watch this space ...and don’t forget to sponsor us xx