Wednesday, 18 August 2010
Sunday, 15 August 2010
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
Monday, 9 August 2010
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 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!!
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 : https://www.bmycharity.com/V2/CycleRide2010 and help us raise money for 2 very worthy causes x
Monday, 12 July 2010
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
Thursday, 8 July 2010
Almost as exciting... once the trustees have got through the agenda - a heavy one for our first meeting - we're going to have a curry together. It's hard work doing stuff for charity!
Friday, 2 July 2010
I’ve just literally finished a rather epic month of training 6- 8am, working 9-5 followed by marking A level papers till 1am every night.
Now the marking is out of the way training has started in earnest as I can bike until the sun doth set.
Unlike city boy Patrick I’m currently a fen boy (fenner?) and, as you know, it’s as flat as a pancake round here. So, in order to find any respectable hills to train on, I have to cycle a good 5 miles out of Shelford. The Saffron Walden monster hill is about 1/5 (don’t know what that means) and seems to do the trick i.e. induce extreme muscle / lung pain and a variety of naughty swear words.
Patrick’s going to introduce me to Muswell hill and Highgate hill in London this Saturday morning, so please spare a thought for our tired aching gastrocnemius’s(es’s’ss?) and tibialis anteriors muscles as we curse the gradient of the hill.
Since Patrick has already completed the infamous 'Islington to the Pyrenees' marathon in 2008 he has been a great source of knowledge and inspiration. He’s been particularly helpful with all my random questions in the last 3 months and offered excellent advice, as well as being a good friend.
I have to say that I’ve never been this enthused about something to do with sport before. I feel a mixture of both excitement and sometimes extreme anxiety about the big bike ride. I genuinely believe that we are raising money for a brilliant cause, which has really helped me focus on the daily task of hill climbing and hedgehog swerving.
Hopefully I’m going to be able to keep up with Patrick in France, through the wind and the rain .... and the hills, let’s not forget those darn hills !!!
Best wishes and hope you’re enjoying the sun. xx
Thursday, 1 July 2010
In January 2010, much of Peru was hit by heavy flooding. It was the worst seen in decades; over 3,000 homes were destroyed and thousands of residents had to evacuate, struggling in a constant battle to prevent their homes being consumed by the rising flood waters.
At the time, GHT was not a registered charity, but looking to seize the initiative we were able to work in conjunction with The Latin American Foundation for the Future (LAFF), registered UK Charity # 1125872, to assist in the coordination of an emergency relief effort to support an orphanage in the area of Azul Wasi, to evacuate, construct flood barriers, and provide shelter, food, water, supervision and care for the children.
As part of LAFF’s Appeal, GHT was able to use its contacts within HSBC Latin America to acquire vital tools and volunteers from surrounding areas to help build defences against the flooding riverbanks.
LAFF recently advised that the children were successfully evacuated from the home and temporarily housed whilst with the help of volunteers created a flood barrier wall to protect the home. They are now working to repair any temporary damage, and the children are safely back at the home, and able to start back at school in the new academic year.
GHT & LAFF are extremely grateful for all the volunteer support and donations received at this crucial time which ensured that the home now still stands and the children remained safe throughout.
For more information on The Latin American Foundation for the Future and their continuing work in the area, view here.
The training is going well and I’ve been trying to make 100 miles per week but it’s hard since there is so much stopping and starting in London with traffic lights, pedestrians, cars etc. etc. Through July I’ll be ramping this up a bit during the week and doing more at weekends – to get through about 200 miles a week.
My only real option for continuous training during the week is the route around Regent’s Park – I usually do it around 8 times which makes about 28 miles (including getting there and back) – but it’s also really important to train for hills as there are surprisingly quite a lot of them along our route as I found out last time, so I’ll be going further afield out of London to get more road miles under my belt.
I’ve had a few problems with the bike over the last few days – usual maintenance stuff, but it has been frustrating not being able to get out – for the more technically minded among you – I’ve had to overhaul the bottom bracket and replace the main drive chain – large chainring and chain. I’ve also had to overhaul the rear derailleur. All that’s left is to fit a new cassette – and I’ll be ready to get going again. I’ve got some catching up to do, so I’ll have to pack in the miles this weekend.
Matthew and I are training separately but over the next few weeks we will be getting together and testing out our pacing skills, so we will keep you posted!
Until then I’ll continue to update you all on my progress week by week until the day arrives, so stay tuned and you can understand what I mean when I say blood sweat and tyres!
I should also let you know that we will be filming our exploits and taking lots of pics that we will post on Facebook before, during and after the event, so look out for us and our weary faces!
Thank you all so much for showing your support by donating to us, and I hope that hearing of our plight moves you to generosity for the deserving children we are raising money for. You can donate here: http://www.bmycharity.com/V2/cycleride2010
Wednesday, 23 June 2010
The money raised through sponsorship of the cycle ride will be supporting children and vulnerable adults via two sources – the first, since both Patrick and Matthew have been involved as volunteers, is the Glanfield Children’s Group that has provided respite for children with disabilities & vulnerable adults in the UK for many years. The aim of the group is to offer both a holiday for the children and a much needed rest for their parents who are welcome to join the group if they wish. These holidays provide the children with experiences that their disabilities would not usually permit, such as swimming, a trip to the top of a mountain in the Pyrenees, a day out at the zoo and for some of the older members, a few beers in the pub.
Patrick and Matthew have requested that some funds raised go specifically to enable the Group to provide subsidies for the children and their parents as the cost for this and the activities of the holiday is substantial.
They will also be supporting children at the Derian House Children’s Hospice in Chorley, Lancashire.
The care offered at Derian House is focused on specialist palliative respite and terminal care for children who may not live to reach adulthood. Children, young adults and their families are able to embrace support and friendship in a warm, ‘home from home’ environment, with an honest and flexible approach to meeting their specific needs.
Derian House’s care also continues with bereavement support for the family for as long as required, giving recognition to the need to never forget.
Year on year the cost of providing special care for children increases and with less than 10% of funding coming from official sources the reality is that the Hospice is open 52 weeks a year whilst receiving statutory funding for just nine of those.
The team’s journey will begin on Saturday 14th August 2010 and arrival at their destination is scheduled for Friday 20th August 2010. The team then plan to join the Glanfield Group as volunteer helpers for a week until 27th August.
Tuesday, 22 June 2010
The Glanfield Hospitalité Trust, (GHT) was set up in February this year to support and advance the standard of life for all people in need throughout the world including; those who live in poverty, those with disabilities, those who are physically or emotionally deprived, those who have been neglected, and their families.
GHT aim to provide relief in many forms, such as the provision of vital equipment to enable individuals, organisations and communities to become more self sufficient; food, clothing and accommodation to relieve poverty; work books and materials to educate; and the provision of respite amongst others.
The GHT Three Peaks Challenge will take place on the evening of 15th July 2010 and involves climbing the highest peak in Scotland, England and Wales, within 24 hours.
The Highest Peaks in each country are:
Ben Nevis, in Scotland (1344m)
Scafell Pike, in England (978m)
Snowdon, in Wales (1085m)
Please sponsor us generously to support this truly worthy cause by visiting our GHT sponsorship site here.
Monday, 24 May 2010
View Charity Commission website, here.