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