31 July 2008

Where has the time gone?

This will probably be my last post prior to Sunday now, I have about a million & one things left to do before the start, I can't believe the time has gone so quickly?

The update on the wheels is I now have 2 new mavic ones which run very well, I shall go out on them today for a final spin of the legs & then nothing until Sunday.  We shall start around 9am at Lands End.  We plan to cycle to about 6pm with a few breaks in between. 

Looking at the map the first day is pretty hilly, so I should sleep well Sunday night after covering somewhere in the region of 100 miles.  If we can, we want to make up as much time as possible on the flatter days.  We do have some horrendous days climbing in front of us, where we will be restricted on the distance we can do.  I think we will cycle roughly 10 hours a day for 10 days.  

A little poll amongst my readers, how much weight do you think I'll lose over the 10 days??

I think somewhere in the region of 18 lbs.  Email me your guess at pc.clare@gmail.com

A little foot note, I have been checking & re-checking everything & I have been playing with my heart rate monitor.  My resting heart beat used to be about 72bpm & it's now down to 55bpm.  I must be getting fitter!!

28 July 2008

Update on the wheels

I spoke with Giant today about my front wheel & the lack of integrity in its manufacturer.  They asked me to take the wheel to a Giant stockist in Bexley which I did.

The chap there confirmed what the mechanic told me on Sunday.  The rimmed wheels aren't up to the job.  It only had 24 spokes on the wheel & being my weight it doesn't deal with the weight distribution well & this causes the spokes to flex, which in turn loosen the nipples & this is why they come loose.

So another expensive trip to the cycle shop & I have just spent £200 on two new wheels which will be in on Thursday.

27 July 2008

It's Sunday it must be Cambridge

On the final weekend leading up to the big one, I was joined by my old colleague Gavin & Sandra as we cycled from London to Cambridge.  A distance of 58 miles.  We left Pickford Lock at 7.30am on our ride

Sandra & Gavin at the start & he is eating!

Some of the wonderful English countryside we cycled through

Another quick break & Gavin is drinking this time!

Gavin eating again!

Gavin about to start eating!

Sandra & Gavin about 3 miles from Cambridge

My fruit based drink at the end!!

We were a lot quicker than Thursday when we went to Canterbury, the roads were a lot flatter, with only moderate rolling hills, there was only 1 climb of note during the whole day & we weren't cycling into a head wind.

Facts & Figures of the ride

Average heart beat 74% of maximum & maximum was 95%.  I burnt 2968 calories & we cycled 57.9 miles at an average of 13.1 mph.  My maximum speed was 33 mph

I lost another 3 spokes which a nice mechanic repaired.  He said that the wheels I have are basically shite & made for road racers & not sportif riders.  Off to the cycle shop Monday to order 2 new wheels!!

The Route, which like a number of these Sunday rides I have done have been very well organised & stewarded.......chapeau!

25 July 2008


Looking at the topography of the route today & the enormity of our ride, I have decided that I need EPO, Blood transfusions & basically anything else you can get your hands on to help me up & over some steep climbs.  I don't think I'll buy a polka-dot jersey just yet?!?!?

Canterbury or bust

Nikki & I joined 20 of her colleagues on a charity ride from Finchley to Canterbury a distance of 80 miles, on the hottest day of the year!

All part of the training for the big ride, which, worryingly is only a week away. Why did I volunteer to do this? Why have I left the serious training too late? I should have started my diet sooner........ all these things have been playing on my mind, but I am still determined to do it & with my 2 companions I know we will

A brief water refill at Bexleyheath Police Station (20 miles)

A tea stop before Sittingborne (48 miles)

A desperate need for water in Canterbury (75 miles)

The final hill & my god did we go up some! (86 miles)

The ride was great fun.  The weather was the hottest day of the year which didn't help (I have a sunburnt nose).  The worst thing I found was dehydration. I drank in excess of 7 litres of fluid & then 5 pints of beer when we got to the pub & I still couldn't go to the loo.  For a good 15 miles I was desperately looking for a shop/petrol station or even an unattended hose pipe to refill my bottles.  We were all however in the same boat as you can see from the picture above at the petrol station.

My hill climbing is improving, again if you know the area I got up & over Shooters Hill in Blackheath, the monster climb out of Chatham, (New Road?) which was particularly bad.  The final soul destroying climb you can see in the last picture, I came round the bend & saw the long drag.  The words I thought of my mother wouldn't like!!

Facts & figures of the ride.

Average heart beat was 80% of my maximum.  Maximum heart beat was 104% of my maximum.  I burnt 5222 calories & spent 6hr 42min inside my zone which is between 65% to 85% of my maximum heart rate.  My maximum heart rate is 179 bpm

Our average speed was 11.8mph & my maximum was 36.7mph (don't tell Carol!)

I have now picked up my Giant from the repairers & have had a day off training today.  I shall do a few miles tomorrow & then on Sunday I am doing 55 miles cycling to Cambridge with my friend Gavin. (Nikki & Alan are now working until we leave).  I plan to do a couple of small 2 hour rides next week just to keep my body being used to cycling.  

23 July 2008

L' Alpe d' Huez

Today during Le Tour de France the peloton went up L' Alpe d' Huez, which is a legendary climb in the Alps.  The record is held by the late great Marco Pantani who did it in 39 mins over the 13km

Whilst they were suffering in the Alps, Nikki & I had our own legendary mountain stage, cycling from mine to Brands Hatch.  Those of you that know the area will sympathise with the legendary climb from Eynsford to 'the Hatch'.  It took about 20 mins to climb the 2 miles, but we did it!!

Nikki just coming to the brow of the Col de Hatch!

I did it on my old bike as the part has only just come in for my Giant.  It will be ready by Friday though.  I am cycling to Canterbury tomorrow with Nikki's work colleagues as part of a fund raising event,  only downfall I am up at 3.30am to drive to the start!!

Off to bed now to get a few hours sleep.  If you hear crying don't be surprised!!!

21 July 2008

A poster

Hi all,

just fiddling with my computer & have made a poster if you can download & place somewhere!

13 July 2008

The London Bikeathon 2008

It's Sunday it must be a charity cycle event!. Today Nikki, Sandra & I did the London Bikeathon which Nikki & I are using as part of our training.  Alan on the other hand is nights & was in bed.

The weather was wonderful & not too hot, we started just before 10 am & cycled out to Richmond Park, saw the deers & cycled back.  My front wheel was again making some strange & interesting noises & I checked & had lost 3 spokes (They were still there, but the nipples that they screw into on the rims had gone & they are just flapping about.  Back to the cycle shop on Monday!)

Not to worry we pressed on for the second half of the ride to the Thames Barrier, again it was a nice route at a sedate pace off the main roads.

When we got to the Thames Barrier I had lost another 2 spokes but the wheel still seemed OK, musical but OK!

Dear reader, you will remember that I can not be described as a hill climber, but I have been practicing.  I had been telling Nikki & Sandra this & as we left the Thames barrier we cycled up a fly-over & BANG it all went wrong!! 

Fortunately I was only doing about 10 miles an hour & stopped very quickly, it could have been worse, I could have been doing 30 mph, which would have proved interesting?

The inner-tube I carry in my pouch had come loose & got caught round the rear wheels & gears & sheered off the rear de-railer.  Needless to say it was game over for me!!  I rang Carol & she came & got me (eventually) in the car.  She did manage to drive passed me twice at the same roundabout.  It didn't go down to well when I rang her & asked if she was going to drive passed again!  I managed to cycle 54 miles, used 3400 calories & averaged 11.3 mph.  

It was a shame this happened as I was hoping to cycle somewhere in the region of 80 miles today.  The bike will go into the repairers tomorrow & hopefully I'll have it back by the end of the week

10 July 2008

Demelza update

I was invited to the building site that is gradually being turned into the new Demelza Hospice for children in Eltham to have a look round & to have my photo taken for publicity purposes!! (I didn't realise that fat middle aged people squeezed into Lycra sold things?? perhaps I'm the new Brad Pitt!!).  This is for the help that you all gave me in raising just over £1,100 for them when I did London to Brighton last month.

I do look good though!!

9 July 2008

Another friend has died

Alas more sad news, another of my friends Russell Curtis has died of cancer today, he has become the 6th person I know to do so since I started this blog & he was also the first person to sponsor me for this ride.

I have continued to train hard & am doing 2 spin classes a day, shifts permitting.  The weather is once again against me & we are destined to get a months rainfall in 24 hours.  Hopefully this will mean that August is dry & fine?

7 July 2008

My wife should be a politician

I have been shopping today & continue to get stuff for the ride.  I bought a load of cycle tops & some electrolyte replacement drink.

I was showing my wife (who wasn't really that interested) my new purchases as we are sitting watching the 3rd stage of Le Tour de France & I was relating the advise given to me in the shop to prevent cramps & running out of energy.  She then pipes up with "what you have to remember when you do the ride it's not a race & besides unlike professional cyclist you have a bit of reserve"

I think she called me a fat b&^*tard without me realising.  She's not very kind sometimes & also spends too much of my money!!

Am doing another London to Cambridge on the 24th with Nikki & some of the people she works with, unfortunately I didn't do the North Kent Bikeathon last Sunday as I had to work.  I know where I would prefer to be!

Off down the gym for another spin class