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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