Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Day 5 The Final

Cardiff to Swansea forecast 50 miles, actual 54 miles

This is me at 6 in the morning having completed 98.8 miles the night before, that's how you get that look, I fell out of bed 20  mins ago having ate a piece of toast and a danish.

Ashley and I set off with Phil still looking really rough having thrown up all night, he was having stomach cramps and sat in the back of the motorhome. There was still pressure though Ashley and I set off and the area around the airport was quite rolling. I kept appraising Ashley of how far we'd come 5 miles at a time, We got to 10 pretty quickly but painfully, I persuaded Ashley to take regular but short stops for water and map checking but really to rest. We went through Lantwit Major on to St Brides Major where we met Phil and Pops, Phil was thumbs down under a warm looking sheet. Ashley and I were a bit stiff but tea and lemon cake helped. We pushed on but as we saw the coast I could see where we would have to cycle across and it looked hilly. We went North to Bridgend, Ashley and I wasted at least half an hour trying to go along a closed road but alas we couldn't get through some fences. Before long we found ourselves in Margam in a layby and Phil was really chipper, he'd made a miraculous recovery and was ready to join the ride his steel steed, back in the pack. I was excited as was Pops it was 100 and we we're well on time, we smashed it through Taibacha nd Port Talbot before getting lost after crossing the Tawe in Swansea but then just following the fans to the Liberty Stadium.

Arriving at Jersey Marine 1130 to an advance reception party.

By this time we were really excited but tired, some bucket shaking and then waiting in the stadium watching the match on the big screen but looking down the players tunnels, really weird. Eventually we went out on to the pitch at halftime and waved wildly. We then had a can of Carling each in Morrisons car park before heading back towards Bishopston 7 miles from the Liberty.  The Mayals hill stands between us, 3 phases of painful hell until we reach the Common, both Phil and Ashley loved this section. Crossing the common we were flagged down by Aluna, who liked celebrity stalker followed us to the Plough and mercifully bought us all a drink, mercifully as we had no cash and were tired, damp and very thirsty. We rested in the Plough for a while and fueled up on beer, crisps and nuts. After a while we headed over to the Joiners to a mad reception.

Time for beer and more celebrations

Photo: DSC_0264

Yellow jerseyed I drank and celebrated with all Lucy's good friends in the J and the Valley, sang Salt n Pepa's Push It on the karaoke. An out of body and unbelievable experience, thanks and big love to all that supported us. For Lucy, for Lung Cancer xxx

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Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Day 4 Darkness descends

Day 4 Chippenham to Cardiff Airport forecast 61 miles, actual 98.8 miles.

That's me, Phil (tired but happy) and Ashley (freshly joined that morning), we're revving up in the car park of Chippenham's Premier Inn. Things we're about to get jolly, we bashed along and met up with Pops in a layby outside Corsham on the A4 it was a busy road and an unpleasing ride. A nice chap in the layby gave us a tenner as he was a fellow cyclist and shared our pain. We then left our support and headed on to the Bath to Bristol cycleway along the route of an old railway line. The boys were quite jolly and bowled along, whereas someone had set my saddle on fire and I could barely sit on it, let alone pedal. We reached Bath and wriggled through the town, I must admit they are big on Bath stone there, which can get a bit samey. We soon reached the edge of Britsol demarked by the number of people hanging round under railway bridges smoking weed. Phil overtook a young lad on what can only be described as a £80 full suspension bike that only had one gear, he actually had 21 but on being insulted by Phil passing him he pedaled like billy-o to get past him. It was pointless by then Phil had completed about 150 miles in the last few days and was fully in the grove and over time and despite some desperate and furious cycling from one-gear boy Phil slowly but surely outstripped him. To leave him disconsolately pedaling at a more normal looking rate, still in the same gear.

I had stuck behind an old man who had tutted us earlier for standing on the cycleway so he had to make a 6mm diversion to go around us. He was quite big and really took the headwind for me, I was dragged along behind him for miles and I couldn't build up the energy to pass him. Eventually I did and we ended up navigating our way to EA Head Office. We met up with Phil Stonelake, struggled to pass security, ate some flapjacks, drank tea, shook a bucket and then left. Really that delay was a bit too long we met the support crew late for lunch again around 2 pm at Severn Beach, a scenic location on the Severn Estuary. Bristol is hilly and no-one liked the perverse route but heck that how it was.

We headed off and had a great run across the old road road bridge on the first crossing M48. It was amazing to cross the big brown river but it very busy and there's a slow gentle incline on the other side for about 1 mile. We ground along until we reached a junction, it was hard going with a head wind and this slow incline. Ashley caught up with us and asked "Sorry but anyone else not find that tough?" I laughed he wasn't alone that really was tough. I can't remember what happened next but we cycled and it absolutely hammered down, we cycled through it all, cold, wet and tired. I became a bit confused and we got colder and more tired until we were run into the ground we called Pops and he agreed to meet us nearby. We all decided we'd get into the motorhome as it was approach 6pm and we needed our energy for the next day having cycled 65 miles. Ashley with no training had done his money and was bushed and Phil was starting to feel really ill. We met up with Pops about half and hour later but I was feeling better and better. The boys got in the motorhome and I decided to commit to it fully. I crammed in some cake and nuts, more nut bag and nut sack jokes, added extra lights to nyself and the bike and headed off into the darkness with rousing applause from the boys.

I don't know what came over me but I cycled hard, with the wind slightly which I took advantage of. I quickly negotiated Newport in the failing light and rain. I found my way out onto the flat lands between Newport and Cardiff and picked up a little tail wind and started to get my head down with a view to crunching some miles. Soon I could see Rumney coming up on the up on the map. I was elated it a suburb of Cardiff I was nearly there, half hour later I was in the centre of Cardiff, mapping went out the window and the city sprung up around me, the nightlife of Cardiff sprang out infront of me. I didn't fancy that so carried on through light rain and darkness until I reached the outskirts of Cardiff on the west side, an area full of car dealerships but at night, prostitutes, truck drivers and probably murderers. So cycled out of there. I had simply drawn a straight line to Cardiff airport and bashed a road route as straight as possible regardless of hills.

I got out of Cardiff and called Helen, she was so relieved to hear from me and really pleased. I pushed on and found a short cut through a minor road, unlit, my lights were LED for others to see me but not to light the road. I was plunged into darkness and had to navigate down hills at speed in the dark, only using the light reflecting of puddles to give me a target to aim for. Frightened, I began to hear things in the bushes, see things on the road, I was chanting "Dedication's what you need if you wanna be a record breaker!" I couldn't remember the rest of the words so just chanted the mantra until I could find a way out. I then found my way out onto the main roads, I ground up a long hill the odometer now reading 90 miles. At the top, Helen called again to tell me the Hotel was stopping serving food what did I want, cars were zooming past me in the rain, A lad was walking a moped on the other side of the road, I was on the edge of Barry Island and I wasn't in the mood. I battled on and soon could see the lights of the Holiday Inn Express. Waves of elation came over me, I saw Pops standing on the road cheering and rolled towards him it was around 10pm. I met Helen in the Hotel foyer, wet, cold and dazed, very dazed. Helen was pleased at how chilled I was actually I was completely out of it, I nipped up to the room got changed into dry clothes and got a curry which I inhaled and a pint of Brains SA courtesy of Pops. I felt amazing, dazed but amazing, I'd amazed myself. I went up to bed having said good night to Pops who was literally sleeping in the motorhome in a layby. I had a gorgeous hot shower and slipped into crisp clean sheets alongside Tomos for a cuddle in his bed. I then sat in my pyjamas drinking a bottle of ale while Helen read the boys stories, feeling high and tired, mint though.

Monday, 3 September 2012

day 3 Megasaurus

Thursday 23rd

Reading to Chippenham forecast 55mile actual mileage 65.

In this picture you can see we haven't got lost and ended up at Checkpoint Charlie but leaving the safety of Reading Central's Premier Inn where superstar Toni Barber manager at the site was so supportive donating her own precious pennies to support us. Phil and I were surprisingly up for it, Phil had refuelled on pasta at his cousin's house and was feeling chipper, his shorts were still illegally tight but we had hoped he'd lose some weight over the course of the day so we couldn't see his vegetables.  This isn't footage recorded by Glen Mulcaire but actually my wife, David Bailey look out. We set off feeling jolly ambled out through the town of Reading and along the Kennet and Avon canal towpath. We headed out to Theale and then Newbury heading to Malborough by lunch. sadly that's not what happened Phil and I bowled along at a hideous pace with Phil shouting "Squeeze" periodically, which means cycle faster. 

By "lunch" were at Kintbury we sat in the ground of a pub with dad and Caroline who had parked illegally at a nearby mill. I was at an all time low to be honest, I was questioning whether I could carry on, just internally. To everyone else I was just extremely moody and down hearted so I don’t think anyone noticed. We pushed on but we were off the towpath and Phil wasn’t happy about the hills. We saw lots and hills and eventually we went into Savernake Forest, a wonderful place if it were not so bloody rolling and with speed bumps. We negotiated that and started to get frantic calls about “lunch”  in Marlborough as it was nearly 3 pm. I was frazzled and we knew where we were but not how it would take to get to Marlborough so I just shouted we were trying our best. We got out onto the main road and rode down a 1 mile long hill at 30 plus miles an hour straight into Marlborough with 4 mins of my hissy fit. We “lunched” at Marlborough with the rest of the gang, then Phil and I decided to head for the major roads and quicken up the pace so we could get in a bit earlier.

That went well except as soon as we left Marlborough we found Avebury Mount, an impressive Neolithic structure on a another bloody big hill, lots more bloody big hills but then we began to grind our way towards Chippenham which we arrived into in good time. We were lucky enough to have Brewers Fayre on site doing an all you can eat curry night. I had Gammon and Egg as a starter and Helen had the all you can eat curry and I had everything she could eat, i.e two meat curries. A cold bath, a bottle of Hobgoblin, Newcastle Brown Ale (don’t it’s the only ale Brewers Fayre serve) and another ale I cannot remember, a cracking night’s sleep and that’s the end of day 3.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Day 2 London Madness

Wednesday 22nd

Welwyn to Reading predicted mileage 57 miles, actual 76 miles.

I set off from Welewyn and absolutely slammed it to South Mimms Services 13 odd miles away I was flying. A quick cake stop and I was off again down into London weaving my way down through Barnet to Hamstead Heath where Lucy used to ride her bike while she lived in London. I had to ignore the highway code a bit as traffic lights and queues were tiring. I arrived at Hamstead Heath ready for a picnic.

 Phil Moss and I then set off, cruising through the hot streets of London until we reached the outskirts we soon picked up the Kennet and Avon Canal which got us through the urban areas fast and when it started to get dark we didn't really worry. We stumbled into the rowing lake getting ready for the paralympics and were told by security there was no way through, I blame Phil's jihadist beard. We didn't really worrying until it got really dark and we didn't have any lights and Reading didn't appear after 57 miles or 60 or 67 miles. We belted along on cycleways beside the A4, couples were out in the warm evening air sitting on rugs drinking chilled white wine, we had flapjacks and water. Eventually we turned up in Reading centre which is quite high rise so we could really see the Premier Inn, we crashed through plazas of people eating, swerved through carparks until we heard Ruth on the phone shouting "I can see you, can you see me waving?" I replied "No." "Oh no sorry that's not you." Eventually we rounded a corner in the dark and on the pavement and we were so glad to get in. Another lasagna, another 3 pints of London Pride and a good sleep were in  order and achieved.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Day 1 Fun

Day 1 Tuesday 21st August

Somersham, Cambridgeshire to Welwyn Garden City
Planned distance 50 miles, actual 64 miles.

Chris Tate and I set out to cycle to Welwyn from Somersham and made what we thought was good time down the Brampton Office of the Environment Agency only to find the support crew of my, Mum, my sister Ruth and my wife Helen had already been there for some time and that Dad and Caroline had got lost en route but also been there for a while. En route we received a call from John Harrison our 3rd rider to say his VW van had started and run on the Monday but refused to start Tuesday morning at the key time, good old 70's campers. Poor old John was ready to join us but completely stranded, we had to push on. Chris and I then made a tactical error when I lead us into a short cut across a bog, that got both out feet wet in stinking water and when I stopped suddenly Chris fell off, this was a pattern that repeated itself across the course of the day. We failed to meet the support vehicle at the first location but then met up with them by accident. Confident that we were only a few miles from the lunch spot, actually we were 12 miles away and wouldn’t reach them until 1500.

But when we did at The Crown at Henlow……we ended up with a lovely pint and a Butcher’s sausage roll in home-made pastry, delicious! It was great to see Mum, Ruth, Helen and the boys.

Chris and I pushed on increasingly tired as the country became more rolling and Chris talked about geology and how we we’d soon hit the chalk hills, I tried to stay awake. We slowed down and eventually were about to crawl to a halt when we saw my Dad and Caroline in the support vehicle (Motorhome) they were parked at the top of a hill. As we approach I shouted “Chris do you know what I could do with?” he shouted back “A cup of tea?” Just proving as a true Yorkshireman Chris really was powered by ale, tea and cake, we only needed a pie to top it off. Bouyed up we cracked on but began to get a bit confused in the suburbs of the Garden City of Welwyn, Chris’s phone failed, my GPS failed all technology failed and it started to rain. We pulled over some enthusiastic but dim students who located the Premier Inn and we were on our way. We arrived to a warm welcome and a pint of London Pride, not Chris and I’s favourite but even ‘Pride tasted good.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

I said I wouldn't do it

I'm back, having spent two days wrestling my front derailluer, I've ended up stripping one from Helen's bikes, which now looks forlorn as I had to take the chain off to remove it. Time is ticking on, we haven't got too much done today, not as much as we'd like. Helen's baked herself into a hot sweat, baking away in 30 degree plus heat. But it's calling........

Saturday, 18 August 2012

aaaah you're here

The last training run has been completed 40 miles in the glorious sunshine. I still can't get the GPS fully working and so far I've spent around 20 hours solidly working on it, I've sent back the last of the wrong fittings for the GPS to fit on the handlebars several times. I can happily say that whilst extremely helpful on the phone Garmin make difficult to use products and poorly described accessories.

I've got a stock of new T shirts from Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, a collecting tin and I'm all set I'm to visit two of our offices  to shake a bucket enroute. I asked Tomos whether he's excited about the challenge he said "Yes, but not as excited as I am about something else.." I asked "What's that?" and he replied "Going to big school." I was a bit puzzled "You're not off to big school for 14 months and 50:50:50 is next week?", he looked at me and said "I know but I'm still excited about big school." We'll see how that goes. I'm nearly ready and I'll be joined by Ashley "Wonky Knees" Moore from Chippenham to Swansea with no training. He's run a Marathon before and so I'm confident this will be easy for him. I'm nearly ready and will stop blogging soon as Ruth will take over on the Twitter and Facebook for updates.

I'd thought I'd include a picture of Lucy here with one of her celebrity friends, that's right Tom Jones, doesn't he look tall.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Misty moisty morning

I woke up this morning to find thick mist everywhere, it was too dangerous to go out. I wasn't going to let that stop me completing the penultimate training run. I drove down to the guided busway and parked up, then cycled to Cambridge and back while the fog cleared. The worst part was cycling past my car with another 12 miles to go before I could get in it. It was warm and moist out and about this morning and I had a tight deadline, Helen had booked to have her eyebrows done at 930 so it was another 5am start.    I feel a bit stiff and I've got a cricket match this afternoon. But it's all worth it and now I will be joined by Phil Moss, Lucy's former boyfriend and all round friend of the family. Little Phil (My dad is Big Phil) will bring his own brand of laidback Mancunian flava. He'll be up for a lunchtime pint I reckon. He's going to do the London to at least to Bristol section perhaps more, he hasn't got a bike or trained but that won't stop him. He also has minimal mountain bike experience and when Lucy took him out off road many years ago he nearly threw his bike in the beck in frustration. But he's been riding around London on a fixed wheel to work and back, so I reckon he'll do just fine.

I still can't get my new GPS to work properly, I'm considering throwing it the river, but it floats and is waterproof. Tomos is going to do some training today on his bike and I expect some t shirts with Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation's new logo very soon. Tomos is going do his own challenge 40 meters 7 he's told me although he says he's keep any  money given to him rather than give it to the charity, bit harsh but that's something he'll have to reconcile with his own 3 and a half year old conscience.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Friday feeling

Well thank Crunchie it's Friday. It's been a long week in work saving the planet and my mind keeps drifting toward 50:50:50. I met Laura Irving Fundraising Director the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation and Sarah a fundraiser who'd newly joined. We chatted about setting up a network in Cambridgeshire and what was unique to the area to help them spread the word. I told them what I could and it was a great meeting and they told me about a couple of research projects they're funding, one on blood tests and one on cheek swabs for use at the Doctors surgeries for early detection, such great work. Most people die of Lung Cancer within 6 months of diagnosis as it's diagnosed too late, these techniques will really help. They've also just started a new grant of £250 no strings to any new suffers, sounds very little but Lucy got a grant from Macmillan and she was chuffed and wanted to buy a pottery kiln. She was hoping to do some ceramics to pass the time. A good chat anyway and now I feel a bit coldy, I've got a sore throat and training doesn't fill me with joy tomorrow, so it's a few beers to ease the pain, a couple of Helen's apple flapjacks then bed. I know flapjacks are rubbish but with sliced apple they're a sensation.

I've got a new GPS having put my other one on ebay, the new one cost just £300 a real bargain, not, I'm in so much trouble, it will be back on ebay when the challenge is finished!

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Saturday, 4 August 2012

Counting down

The usual training run today without incident. 2 more training runs before 50:50:50 starts, cricket was cancelled this afternoon due to rain. I can't believe it's coming up so fast, donations are pouring in and we're up to£2500. £50 most recently from Tracey in the Plough and Harrow in Murton The Plough. I am so proud of our family and friends doing everything they can to support the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.

I'm quite nervous but really excited and there's still a lot to come together the mapping seems to take forever. I am getting a little tired of the guided busway. Last weekend we took the kids to Dry Drayton nature reserve on the guided bus. We had a great time, although some of the paths were flooded and we were attacked by mosquitoes. But I was a bit sick of seeing the busway.

I've got my camera and my GPS all bought myself, I still haven't serviced my bike and I need to check all my tools and spares. I need a few packets of that high caffeine, high sugar goo that tastes like shower gel for the tough times. I've sort of decided to drink at lunchtime on the trip, sounds like a bad idea but a bit of liquid carbohydrate might be required. I would have had a drink, if I was with Lucy and we often drank sometimes too much then rode our bikes, I won't change that. It's a chance for me to sample some ales as I go. I'm tired this evening and a few pints of homebrew and some ice cream are about all I can manage.

505050 Check out my video of today's training.

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Saturday, 28 July 2012

Olympic effort

I'm sitting watching the men's cycling road race after my own Olympic challenge to ride 41 miles this morning as per usual, I only have to do this 3 more times before I start my challenge. I've worked out I'll actually do 330 miles in 7 days, great. I'm quite Olympic toady having watched the opening ceremony whilst drinking ale and eating a bakewell tart with custard, I'm sure Bradley Wiggins did the same after ringing that big bell. He's only got a little ride today. Come on Mark Cavendish you da man!

I enjoyed the ceremony but I must admit the game of cricket that was occurring near the beginning looked slightly uncompetitive and a plumb LBW decision was not given by a the umpire and the chap in bat was pretending to smoke a pipe and turned down a number of quick singles. I've also laid some turf in the garden having ripped up a patio, it should be flat but looked like Glastonbury Tor. That was to make up for riding the bike in the morning last Saturday then playing cricket, all out for 46 in 18 overs, I've had more exercise in my sleep nevermind.

It's been a tough week I've been thinking about Lucy a lot, but I am sooo looking forward to starting the challenge. I've got most of my kit sorted, I just need to get my mapping sorted.

Lucy and Tomos enjoy yoghurt back in 2010.
We were on our way to drop Lucy off at the station and had some lunch at our favorite pub The Cock at Hemmingford Grey You can't beat a bit of Cock action, great food Lucy managed 3 pints of ale in 90 mins "It just slips down". Good work kid, we love you and miss you loads.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Stupid boy and that flood sign 3

I'm not sure what made me do it, perhaps it my age but I've agreed to play cricket today and decided to go out training this morning. As I get older and I think this is a male thing I get a bit obsessed with repeating the same things. I call it "the same, the same" disorder. I could go cycling tomorrow but Sunday's I always clean the bathroom, I can't mess with that.

I did the guided busway from home again 40 miles, I will live to regret that after lunch if I'm called on to run around. I witnessed my first muppet trying to drive down the guided busway, an ancient Ford Transit motorhome was trying to enter the Cambridge Steam Rally. He first drove down the busway and straight into the car trap, he used all the power in that F reg beast and reversed out into the path of an oncoming bus. Unaware of the conventions around traffic lights, he then ignored the red light, turned across the path of the bus to drive up the guided busway in the opposite direction. A dog walker leapt out into the busway and frantically waved the motorhome away. Low speed disaster averted he continued on to Steam Rally, no doubt to have a wonderful day eating ice cream with the smell of the grease paint and coal fired engines, only to return the wrong way down the A14 finally coming to rest in a Tesco's carpark in a parent and child space. Mr McGoo really will regret that holiday in Cambridgeshire.

I've had my cold bath and I'd usually be looking forward to a beer, a packet of chocolate digestives and a snooze. Instead a possible 8 hours of cricket await. I've made a poster to send out to the Premier Inns I'm staying at and put up around the village. I've also bitten the bullet and bought a headcam and GPS.

The flood sign was up and I ignored it, this time it was wrong there was no flood.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Wet crack

I'm beginning to feel there's an ass theme to this blog but honestly today, wet crack was an issue. I set out for the normal route and it's was raining, which had settled into the slightly harder end of mizzle, mizzling I guess. The usual areas get wet the face, head, legs and then every so often I'd go through a puddling sending water arcing up my hitting my ruck sack and trickling down my back. Cold and wet I ground out a good time today, 3 hours and 20 mins so I've shaved 10 mins off my time to do 40 miles.

As I got close to Cambridge Regional College, I saw two girls riding one biking coming towards me. One was riding the bike sat in the saddle, the other her "friend" was sat on the luggage rack behind, dangling her feet and while her mate couldn't see her she was merrily texting away. Not even making an effort to give her mate some help, she didn't even have the good grace to look ashamed.

I have decided to give my bike a service, probably tomorrow, cricket is cancelled and wading bird watching will take it place instead and I need something marginally less boring to do. I am getting a little excited and nervous now as we build pace towards the big day. I'm thinking of buying my own GPS and trying to get the wife to accept that £160 replaces the £8 we spend once every two years on maps and that now with the GPS, it will pay itself off in 40 years then we're into pure profit

This is the guided busway, I cycle on the right and in theory the buses stay in those concrete channels, which  in my experience, they have so far. I know what you are thinking, it's flat and not good training for what I am going to do but I plan to ask Sustrans to make the rest of the UK flat as well before 21st August.

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Thursday, 12 July 2012

aaaaaah it's coming!

44 days to go! I've had a call from the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation on the 10th of August I'll be meeting with Laura Irving a new Director at the charity, I'm really quite excited, we're going for lunch just like real people do. I'm thinking there's only 4 ass bruising rides on the Cambridge Guided Busway. I've still got no head cam or GPS so any help would be great. Young Phil Moss one of Manchester's finest is up for doing a bit of biking so potentially some company in sections where I was at risk from bear or urban fox attack on my own. Things seem to be moving along and the event at the Swansea end now involves two pubs, a possible hog roast and my lovely step-sister-in-law singing in the evening. I will have that in my mind and the Swansea Brewing Company's Three Cliffs Gold brewed in the brewhouse next door to the pub, Pwll Ddu is Lucy's favorite beach, our local beach and where her ashes were scattered. Also Lucy was prone to drinking a few Pwll Ddu XXX's from time to time as well as Three Cliffs Gold
.Google images of Pwll Ddu it's breath taking.

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Saturday, 7 July 2012

Snail armeggedon

I've been on holiday in Wensleydale the week before last, eating cheese, ice cream, steak and ale pie and new game I call  historic railway pub crawl. So last weekend was a bike free zone. I played cricket midweek and kept wicket which seemed to leave my quads sore until this morning when I jumped on the bike and my ass hurt immediately and stopped me thinking about my quads. It was snail carnage on the guided busway service road, millions of slugs and snails had emerged and were attempting to make the dash across the cycling, jogging and walking but dressed like you're jogging super highway. I couldn't avoid them they were like a carpet and left a nasty snot like substance hanging from parts of my bike as they were squished. Mental note: must wash bike. The run went well I really tried to push myself then felt it in the last 10 miles and crept home like a snail on crack. 

Talking of crack, I have assembled by crack team of cycling enthusiasts for the first leg of my challenge, Somersham to the almighty Welwyn Garden City. Chris "crazy legs - Jake the Snake" Tate and John "VDub" Harrison. A colleague is lending me a bike rack for the car and hopefully one of Chris's mates can lend me a headcam. No Sat Nav GPS yet. I'm pooped and still on call for the floods, roll on 7 o'clock when I'll handover and have a few beers.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Busy, busy

Well the Mail on Sunday haven't rang perhaps next week. 40 miles again yesterday along the guided busway, I now do less stops but don't get any quicker, perhaps more stops are required. I have built in a customary banana stop now, but a bacon butty would be more satisfying. I certainly am riding within myself I could push myself a bit harder but it's all miles in the tank. There was some excitement when a weasel ran out of the undergrowth at head height on top of some gabions, it's squealed and ran back in, I'm not sure who was more shocked. The need for a sharpened stick is growing. Some muscle group at the top and back of my thighs I think my glutes cramp up at 15 miles out and tell me to go home, the only way to clear it is to cycle faster which really hurts. If you get off and stretch they get worse and the same if you slow down. I guess that's my "wall".

A mate of mine Mark Blagg reminded me how I shouldn't focus on the pain and horror but enjoy it. He's right it's 5 days biking which I love, Lucy would have loved it to. I'm going to make sure I look around, enjoy the downhills and block out the uphills and London traffic. In other news Tomos's imaginary friends Jeremy the Badger has stopped fighting with Baboon. Mugglewump the Monkey is still around but his imaginary babies: Paddle, Faddle, Baddle and Abigail (who's a boy), seem to have gone into the background a bit.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

MoS may get behind 50:50:50

Got a call from the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation to say that the Mail on Sunday wanted to talk to me about Lucy and the ride. Great news perhaps now Garmin, Premier Inn and Wheelies might talk to me. Sold my decks and just waiting to get them collected by the buyer, anyone fancy any early 90's vinyl?

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Binki Bowen strikes out

Time for a spot more cyclage today, 40 uninteresting miles only made more interesting by my Male/Female jogger from behind game. When I can see a jogger in the distance I have to guess when they are just a speck whether they're male or female, what fun. I finished my ride late today to go up to the village hall to take part in Sport in the Community/Care in Community/Community Service. Super Pete Coleman and queen of the cupcakes Kelly Jessop were the only poor b=ggers who had turned up to supervise some kids playing quick cricket as an intro to the game. I was broken and couldn't even pick the ball up, or count, I just ended up shouting, "Keep you head up bowler, arm close to your ear!" and "Keep your eye on the ball batsman, right onto the bat." I rotated the phrases with "Good batting and bowling guys" and "Cricket's the real winner here". Either way I felt sick and was glad when it was over and we could go home, I'd missed my satanic ice bath I usually have after cycling. Extra problems have been caused as Tomos's new imaginary friend Jeremy the Badger has started arguing with Tomos's old imaginary friend and Baboon resulting in an imaginary pulled ear that required sudacreme. 

My article went into the Cambridge News and was a difficult read, a two page spread gives good coverage to the cause. Wheelies won't return my emails and Claire Haigh, Head of Comms at Whitbread owner of Premier Inn is on the same game. Time to call in the big guns that's right Roy Castle their enthusiastic, don't take no for an answer, scousers will wear them down.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Thank you guys

I'd just like to thank Ian Munro, Stephen Taylor of!/Me_and_my_29er on the Twidder and Seavers from Single Track World forum. You are are heroes.

Saturday, 9 June 2012


Plenty of wind 22mph gusting up to 40mph, just the weather for a cycle. It was too windy to go out first thing and I took Tomos to rugby tots where his enthusiasm to become the next George North was evident. By the afternoon I couldn't hold back, I rode out away from the house, into the wind for 1 hour and 40 minutes sometimes at no more that 9 mph, I completed 30 miles and flew back, absolutely flew 20 mph on the flat when the gusts where behind me. Now I am tired I've had some ice cream and I'm having beer to numb the pain, cricket tomorrow. Still no headcam or GPS or other goodies but I'm feeling like I can do it.

My decks go on ebay on Sunday, I saved for those for 3 months, then was still short £700 so just bought them on my credit card and paid for them for 9 months. They're part of me, my youth and creativity are tied up in them, but so is hard cash and we need to offset the costs of Premier Inn. Also I hardly get to play them and I have negotiated the purchase of some virtually dj kit, if the decks fetch a certain price. Time for an early night I'm knackered.

Monday, 4 June 2012

We love Toni Barber

I'd also like to say how grateful I am to Toni Barber, Toni manages the Premier Inn - Reading Central. I spoke to Toni and she's been a big help, I don't know Toni well we just talked on the phone, but she's been kind enough to donate to the cause, thank you Toni.

Hot fresh donuts

We went to anything but sunny Hunstanton yesterday, I knew it would rain all day but really want to walk on the beach, eat ice cream and play in the amusements. We did all of that, but first after getting soaked walking along the promenade with Tomos crying for half of the walk, we came across a sweetshop selling hot fresh donuts. It's amazing the journey you go on when you decide that you fancy hot fresh donut. A lackluster teenage girl smiles weakly at you then throws some amorphous goo into a hopper. Then the hopper extrudes some of the goo in the shape of a ring into the boiling fat. You think to yourself, is it really is just deep fried batter, that's a bit wrong? The donut them moves along a conveyor in the boiling fat, this substance is so hot and toxic the girl can only stare and poke your donut with a very long allen key. You start to think, when did they last change that fat? Does the donut cook and go brown or just absorb the colour of the fat? Then the smell hits you and you drool a little bit, the girl smiles again and pokes more blobby rings along. Eventually your donuts ride a little conveyor and drop off  and the teenager puts them in a paper bag. The frisson increases as the donuts are hotter than the sun and the fat is slowly soaking the paper bag. Leaving you in a quandary, do you wait until they're cool or will the bag self destruct before that point. Or will Environmental Health turn up and spoil everyone's fun by saying that the hygiene levels are fine but the calorie per gram exceeds all known legal limits apart from eating raw sugar fried in goose fat. When you can eventually taste one they are divine, we sat and ate 6 in the shelter of the sweetshop, wondering should we have got 9?

Anyway did an uneventful 38 miles along the guided busway and back, aching and trying to think of more unhealthy Jubilee snacks I can have. Since my ride on Saturday I have had most of a packet of chocolate digestives, a Mister Whippy, large with a flake, 3 donuts and a cone with two scoops of Norfolk dairy ice cream, I've also handled a fistful of ecoli covered 2 pence pieces at the amusements but I've had fun and training feels on track.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Owww, that hasn't helped!

So I've been back on the bike today out at 0700 to ride along the guided busway from home to Cambridge and back, without using the bus. I haven't been on the bike for 10 days so I decided not to take it easy. My illness has cured my chocolate addiction but I am taking an alarming interest in ice cream. That aside the ride went well, a cheeky chap on a hybrid jumped on the path ahead of me at about 15 miles out. I sized him up bigger wheels that me, a lighter bike, but he was carrying more timber and he had panniers. I also thought he'd got a boost from seeing me and tried to cycle off like a big man. I decided he'd be my pace setter and I turned it up a couple of mph. I thought he'd run out of steam and I'd either out pace him or draw level and throw a stick in his spokes. I didn't get the chance to use the stick, and all I achieved was riding faster for a mile, feeling very tired as the chap disappeared off. Worse still, as I was moving to Olympian pace a road biker absolutely blazed past, I didn't have time to deploy the stick. It's like Mad Max out on isolated parts of that cycle route. I also took a detour to follow a caravaern who'd cut me so close he nearly knocked me off, I followed him into the Cambridgeshire Christian Campers Fellowship "In God's country" event, when I caught up with him he did apologise, he'll repent at his leisure. 40 miles achieved, ass chaffed, quads shot.

In other news Premier Inn will not discount rooms unless the Manager's of each hotel pay themselves! Lovely Toni, at Premier Reading Central was prepared to put in £10 from her own pocket, I told her to give it to the charity but good hussle.  Their PR dept has ignored me so I go on, I booked the rooms and have to carry the full cost. I still need a new saddle, tyres, helmet and ass. I might try my long suffering former employer Howes Cycles of Cambridge, long suffering as I was a rubbish and lazy mechanic. Wheelies in Swansea I'm still watching you, I expect big things. I'm off to find some beer after lunch and something hot to hot to put on my leg, like a burger.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Sickness stops play

This week has been a disaster for training, coming back from a visit home to Wales I developed a bit of a sore throat on Wednesday, by Thursday I was achy and shivery with a migraine and nausea, Friday the same plus vomiting and stomach cramps, Saturday less stomach cramps and little nausea but similar headache and achy bones. Either way I've missed cricket, a friend's wedding and done no training. But I have lost weight. On the positive I made our local papers

It's a really good piece and will help me gain more press support, I'll use it to explain to my non existent corporate sponsors what I'm up to, so watch out Premier Inn, Wheelies of Swansea, Evans Cycles and Wiggle, I'm coming for ya!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Fenland by twighlight

I just had a little ride over to Chatteris tonight another 14 miles it didn't feel too tough, but I didn't feel up for it. I ground it add and it's a tad more in the tank. I'm off tomorrow back home to the Gower then over to Cardigan for wedding at the weekend, then back to the Gower for next week. Very little bike riding will occur but a week this Saturday a full agenda of cricket and cycling.

I had my photo shoot today for the News and Crier, went well, it is difficult to look cool on the footpath next to my house. I need to ride more, train more but I think I'm making a start.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

That flood sign 2

Ok so playing cricket yesterday is not conducive to biking today. I kept wicket for 40 overs and what felt like 3 hours of squat thrusts. Just the thing to warm up the quads for cycling. I enjoy keeping wicket keeping at the time but during the evening I felt like I'd be thrown out the back of a moving car at 30mph. I have also been following Britain's got talent albeit sometimes by accident. I watched it all this week and the last half of the live final only to fall asleep 5 minutes before the big reveal to wake up watching the ITN news, I still don't know who won or really care, which I think is worrying. By the time I got up this morning I felt like I'd been thrown from a moving car at 40 mph.  I headed out with legs made of lead and decided the guided bus way wouldn't be flooded despite that bloody sign.

It wasn't but for 250 yards, I slowly edged past it and headed to Cambridge from St Ives, I returned to the flooded section on the way back which was taunting me. I'd already clocked up 24 miles but decided 250 yards of water wouldn't stop me. A cyclist on the higher, drier path stopped to watch and I mounted my manly assault, about a quarter of the way across I realized I would never make it, the water got deeper and my legs were steaming. It hurt so much but I ploughed on, my front wheel made a wake that made it slightly easier, halfway across I started wobbling, which made it 20 times harder, a couple of joggers passed me on the higher path, smiling smugly, the water was over my chainset. I made it to the other end and the cyclist smiled and shouted something about mud which didn't rhyme with any swear words so I waved back. The joggers slowed down and one shouted "That looked like fun". Just to reassure him I replied "It really hurt." . The moral of the story is don't try feats of manliness when tired and in front of an audience.

I made it home and racked up 33 miles my furthest ever in one day, it hurts but once again my thoughts turn to egg mayo, ham and beer.

In other news I'm seeing a reporter and photographer for a photoshoot next week. I can't get Premier Inn to understand quite how to help me, but they will. Specialized are ignoring me but I think my next jobs will turn to spamming work friends and family this week for more sponsor ship.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Got up early this morning and put in another 21 miles, I learnt that when signs say a footpath is closed due to flooding it's usually correct. At points it was over my chainset, after pushing on through a couple of sections I gave up and came back. On the positive note I found somewhere I can train on a flat car free route and there's some gentle off road either side. The St Ives to Cambridge guided bus route, it's got to be good for something! A 30 miles round trip from home and I'm building up slowly, I really need to refine the 50:50:50 and start speaking to bike clubs for their ideas.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Snuck it in

Snuck in a little 14 mile trip this evening, the wind was against me on the way out then swung round to a crosswind on the way back, brilliant. Mental note: find a route that's downhill and with the wind behind me, all the way to Wales!
Bit stiff this morning, having read back through my blog I realized unless you've linked to this via my Virgin Money Giving or Facebook page you might not know what it's about.

My sister Lucy became ill with lung cancer in October 2011 and she died in January 2012 aged 32. She was a beautiful, amazing person and a mad mountain biker.

I am cycling from Huntingdon via London to Swansea. That's 290 miles over 5 days, 50% on road and 50% off road. Lucy and I planned to do this event before she became ill. We never got around to doing together but now I will be completing it for the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.

I'll start the challenge on Tuesday 21st August 2012 in Huntingdon and I'll be in Hatfield by the evening, on the 22nd I'll have reached Twyford, on the 23rd I'll be in Chippenham, Cardiff on the 24th and Swansea on the 25th.
Please support me and help lung cancer suffers and thier families.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Ow that hurt. 30.9 miles, I didn't notice but the wind was with me on the way out and very strongly against me on the way back, not a good strategy. My legs are on fire now and I got back around 1100. It took 2.5 hours, I've never ridden that route so I thought it might replicate the challenge, in that I won't know when to push hard and I'd have to save plenty in the tank. Ice cold bath when I came home has helped although hurt at the time and my son Tomos sprinkled cold water in all the wrong places with a mini watering can. I'm going to relax this aft with a Viennese Finger and a couple of Old Speckled Hens for the pain. Tomos can be seen in the picture with his eyes closed from the excitement.
So we begin, 30 miles to do this morning and I am worried that 4 pints of home brew and 130g of Cadbury's Dairy Milk last night might not be good preparation. It's a new route the B1198 it's a long straight Roman Road, I hoping to do 15 miles down it them come home, which I think might be uphill. Would Cadbury's sponsor me? hmmm.

Friday, 4 May 2012

My word it's started well, top hairy bad boy Rhys Evan Morgans and hardcore silver haired cyclist Mark Blagg have dug deep. Old friends and good ones, thanks boys big love. Out on the bike tomorrow, thinking about 30 miles on the road, cricket looks unlikely on Sunday so perhaps another 15 miles on Monday, time to harden off my hide.

Thursday, 3 May 2012


So I've finally decided do it, I've spoken to the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation today and I've set a date to start my challenge 114 days to go! Aaaah, my legs and bum seem to be hurting in advance, out on the bike on Saturday.