The Tour de Force

The Tour de Force

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Step away from the fridge...

Comment allez-vous, mes blogettes?

No matter how many times I've seen this nonsense it still kills!

Ask any pro bike rider/rocket scientist for advice on how to climb mountains with less difficulty and the answer will invariably be the same: lose weight, so hence this blog post's title. Well, that and the fact that it allowed me to shoe-horn in some Sellers' genius too!

Eddy Merckx knew a thing or two about this two-wheeled caper, and he reckoned in the end the best advice was just to go out and ride your bike. Thanks to the recent bank holiday weekend and the perfect* northern weather I've done a bit of that and rode three back-to-back centuries: that's the first time since, er, last year's schlep out to Ventoux. (*Seriously, will this Nor'wester ever quit? Stop moaning- it's character building, right?)

Eric's got more hair than me.

One for the scrapbook: Blackpool prom in the sun!
This'll do.

Educational exercise.
Questionable surfaces.

Stop moaning. It ain't raining. Yet.
Would put this scenery up against anywhere else's!

You must be kidding?
Headingley not far.
The Lancaster Canal. Er, quiet.
So far this year my distance covered is about 2500 miles and 115,000' climbed...this might sound ok but we'll do similar in the three weeks de Le Tour! My time spent on the bike has increased each month with the exception of February, when I had a little spill. Ah diddums, hah-hah!

Drizzle + diesel = horizontal drift.
Anyway, I'm just pleased that I've not done myself any damage. In fact the only downside is that my cornering is even more like an out-take from 'Driving Miss Daisy'.

The other attack on weight is the obvious and tedious one of abstention. Well, when I say abstention I don't actually mean *no* beer or wine but very much a 'limited overs' form of the game. And I haven't seen the inside of an Indian restaurant or my local chippy for a couple of months either...yeah, yeah...cue the world's smallest violin, but thankfully a little bit of timber has been jettisoned. I reckon it's my G.I. Joe hair-don't that's really made the scales take notice though, hah-hah!

Will this be make *enough* of a difference during Le Tour? Impossible to say but seeing as how there are some proper cyclists taking part, I do expect to be at or very near to the back of the bunch each day...however if you can finish the stage even with a tiny amount of gas left in the tank then that makes recovery for the next day a little bit easier.

So that's the progress so far and of course I'm bound to bang on about fund-raising too: there's only another £230 needed to hit the £3K mark, thanks to some very generous donations from both the UK *and* the US: you know who you are. You folks really have done something decent and I thank you.

Here's a reminder of why the sponsorship is important...this tour is organised on behalf of a charity called the William Wates Memorial Trust. No, I had never heard of them either until last year but what they do is give grants to projects in the UK that help kids who haven't had the best start in life or to charities that aim to develop and help young people see what they are capable of through the arts, sport and education. Big things, big achievements like the Duke of Edinburgh award!

 Their official mission statement/blah is, "To encourage disadvantaged and vulnerable young people away from anti-social behaviour and criminal activity, enabling them to fulfill their potential." Basically they’re the acceptable version of ‘Children In Need’ and ‘Comic Relief’ i.e. no sign of Lenny Henry or the cast of Eastenders doing a song & dance number!

Until the next mithering instalment, I'd better keep pedalling...only 30 days until the off!

Pete Townshend recently turned 70 so here is one of his finest choons, "Going Mobile"...although it's Mr Moon's drumming that elevates this to beyond the beyond!

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I do have a bit of previous...

2014: 1000 miles solo & unsupported out to France, then La Bicinglette...6 x Mont Ventoux in a day!

2013: 1000 miles solo & unsupported out to Austria, then the worst climbs in The Dolomites!

2012: The inaugural Haute Route sportive from Geneva to Nice, followed by the worst Pyrenean climbs!

2011: 3500 miles across North America...coast to coast!

2010: 1600 miles from Gibraltar to Blackpool!

2009: 1000 miles from Land's End to John O'Groats!

2008: 250 miles from Blackpool to London!

2007: 100 miles around Manchester!

2006: 0.5 mile to corner shop!