What's it all about?

At the end of September 2012 I completed a cycle from Portsmouth 2 Penzance a total of 273 miles! raising money for Children In Need is the Plan. This was also be a personal challenge for me as I haven't been cycling in over 25 years and that was only for fun nothing serious. On top of that have a prolapsed disc, was 46 years old and at the start of 2012 a bit over weight, well lot over weight really, since then I've lost nearly 3 stone! So I opted to do the big one, John O'Groats 2 Lands End on May 6th 2013. The End 2 End or P2P (point to point, as it's sometimes called ) around 1000 miles! This time I had company, Colin, a friend from work, who has said he is as mad as I am and would like to come! This blog contains that story....This event is in memory of the sad passing of my mum on 17th of April this year having lost her fight with terminal Bowel Cancer.

I guess you'd call it the sequel, I have decided it would be just rude not to go back the other way!!! so May 2015, with a new friend, Pete and with Alan driving a support vehicle ( luxury) we plan the classic Lands End to John O'Groats, also known as LEJOG
. Mad ? yes I think we must be.

PLEASE SEE OUR NEW WEBSITE www.lejog4us.com

NOT a good start to the fresh start!

Narrowly missed being taken out by a Mini ( black with white roof..beware) pulled out right in front of me, slammed on the brakes up on the front wheel missed the rear of the car by inches! Heart was in my mouth and I think I might have sworn a little.....well ok a LOT.  The driver didn't even stop!!! a passer by helped me out and through in a couple of choice words to help me feel better :-)

A fresh start

Ok, so things haven't gone so well since I finished the Portsmouth - Lands End ride. Nobody had prepared me for the LOW. If you ever undertake an epic event (however epic that maybe for you) BE prepared for the low, that would be my best advice. You get so focused on getting ready, organising everything, the hype before you go, setting off, the efforts involved in the challenges of each day. Then you complete the thing. The pride, relief and joy of it lasts very fleetingly really.... then there is nothing.... a big hole, filled with normal life. Nothing wrong with normal life mind you, it just doesn't do enough to fill the hole that's been left behind. Even though I knew I had to keep on training because of the JOGLE I was planning for. For weeks there was just the numbness and no that wasn't in my bottom! All I'm saying is be prepared, prepare your family to, as they will be wondering why you're not full of beans having completed it ( whatever 'it' was for you ) . Then there was the bad news about mum's terminal cancer, the weather preventing me getting out much, if at all...........

So you say what ya going to do about it? Well I'll tell you what I'm going to do, I'm gunna get off my backside dust off the old Trek 7 speed lead filled bike (well feels lead filled) and get out there and make a fresh start. Can't use the road bike in all this weather at the moment or it'll be wrecked before May. So just over 4 months to get my act together, so as not to let any of you down. Means even more to complete this one now.
Plan to get a full weekly training program in place with Colin first week in January, some spin classes in there i'm sure. We'll let you know what we're up to then. Team photo with our Bowel Cancer tops ( kindly donated ) to follow shortly

As for now? Onwards........ and happy Christmas to you all

A Change of focus



Due to the sad and unexpected news that my mum has terminal Bowel Cancer the Charities for this fund raising event will now be switched to support these charities. I hope that all of you that have supported me so far will be on board with the new charities and continue to show your support.
many thanks to you all. You can make any donations via the link Virgin Money Giving on this page .X

beating bowel cancer

bowel cancer uk

cancer research uk





Second and Third B&B confirmed

Things moving forward in the bookings. Have now confirmed stay in Bora and Carlisle

First Booking confirmed

At least we have a spot confirmed for the first night. The Northern Sands Hotel
The important things for us in the consideration of the first B&B were:

1. Can they take our "bikes in a box" which we will post up a few days before we arrive?
2. Are they close to Dunnet Head? As we are now taking in the farthest North and South in our trip?
3. Are they in our budget?
4. Will they take two old blokes who have no idea what they've let themselves in for !

Well the answer to all was yes,  they have kindly given us a nice discount, will happily take in and store the bikes before we arrive and as for the blokes with no idea ... well i didn't tell them !

Map of where the hotel and key spots are

Imagine my horror!

When I find out, "John O' Groats is the traditionally acknowledged extreme Northern point of Scotland. The actual northernmost point is at nearby Dunnet Head, about 2 miles (3.2 km) from John O' Groats"

I think if you're going that far then Dunnet Head is going to have to be the start point and then onto John O'Groats... isn't it?

I think a slight route change is in order..... "Colin...... I have a cunning plan..."

OK Three options here.


1. Stick with original plan a total of approx 912 miles on the route we set up

2. Start at Dunnet Head  go to John O'Groats plus Duncansby Head ( the furthest point North East from Lands End, only 2 miles on from JOG )  and THEN continue as planned. This would mean a stop at Bora first evening instead of Dornoch. Approx 928 miles
3. As per option 2 but if we do Northerly most point we may as well do Southerly most point  (The Lizard) and then onto Lands End. Adjustments as per option 2 and then instead of last stop being Redruth and a 30 mile last bit to Lands End , it would be last stop at Mawnan Smith (Tina's house, if she'll have us. x) Then a 50 mile last bit to Lands End via The Lizard. Approx 954 miles.

For the sake of an extra 40 miles surely we've got to do option 3 haven't we? then we can say we've done JOGLE AND the furthest North and furthest South points of the UK ( mainland )



It's not going to be a very big plane !



Flight Booked, no turning back now!!

Managed to get a flight for Colin and myself from Southampton right to Wick with a change at Edinburgh ! very happy with that.
Mon 06 May 2013BE761Southampton to Edinburgh07:0008:30

 
Mon 06 May 2013BE6895Edinburgh to Wick- John O Groats11:0512:05

Now Just need to start on the B&B's and who's best to post the bikes up with?

The possible routes for JOGLE

Garmin Connect - John O'Groats to Dornoch Jogle 1

Garmin Connect - Dornoch 2 Fort Augustus jogle2

Garmin Connect - Fort Augustus Crianlarich 2 jogle3

Garmin Connect - Crianlarich 2 Irvine jogle4

Garmin Connect - Irvine 2 Carlisle jogle5

Garmin Connect - Carlisle 2 Blackburn jogle6

Garmin Connect - Blackburn 2 Nantwich jogle7

Garmin Connect - Natwich 2 Tewkesbury jogle 8

Garmin Connect - Tewkesbury 2 Weston-SuperMare jogle9

Garmin Connect - Weston-SuperMare 2 Hatherleigh joggle10

Garmin Connect - Hatherleigh 2 Redruth jogle11

Garmin Connect - Redruth to Lands End jogle12


There are several reasons for this as being our possible route. First off my sister lives in Irvine so need to call there. Next stop is Blackburn ( Colin's mum) then Natwich, I have family there and last off friends at Redruth. Leaving the nice little little 30 miles of the final day ( which I hope to make a saturday morning will be to allow family and friends to be there at the finish.
Any comments on the route are welcome

Black dot on the Black line



Ok, for those who asked , this is how I got all the way from my house in Portsmouth to Lands End, as I said in the blog, I was following a little black dot on a black line....... amazing I got there really!

Equipment review

Equipment review:
Lets start with the bike 2012 Giant Defy 1. I have to say I'm very happy with it, it's light but strong has been faultless only requiring me to clean and oil the chain. I can get quite quick on the flats hand has been strong enough to take me and the two rear panniers. I think this was also helped greatly by the expert help and advice from DCR Wheels who built me a set of wheels more suited to touring, yet nearly as light as the wheels on the bike. The roads where quick potted in places on the very minor roads used on part of the trip down to Lands End and the wheels are still faultless! Well happy with those. The tyres were also a brilliant bit of kit, Michelin Pro 4 Endurance. These I've had for several months and are slicks. Although not really wet weather on the trip , I have ridden them in the wet and they have been very well behaved. On this trip 273 miles without a puncture and very happy with that. They roll very well and give me the speed I wanted over a heavier more puncture resistant option. Still no punctures, fingers crossed. The tool kit and saddle bag I got from the good people at Lynzee proved to be… well unused! But piece of mind in the knowledge I had tested it and was all I would have needed for anything I would be willing to tackle at the roadside. The FS260-Pro Bibshorts II, Baa Baa long sleeve tops I got from Endura proved to be very comfortable and warm. It was easy to wash and dry overnight so they will be coming on the End to End for certain.

The next step..

Well got back home Sunday and back to work on Monday! Cycled in on a nice flat road !. Had a few days off and will be now getting back on some training for the big ride in May. Thanks again for all you support and best wishes. Busy collecting the non online sponsors at the moment and will post a total when I have it. Bye for now

Well this is it...

The day has arrived, very nervous, looking forward to it though. Helmet now has a little rear view mirror attached to keep me safe and I have to keep reminding myself it's not a race ! just to take it nice a steady, Tortoise and the Hare... Tortoise and the Hare.
Well next post will be from Shaftesbury, fingers crossed.
Once again a massive thanks for all the support
x

Luggage


Well this is it ( Other than the stuff i'll be wearing and the little tool kit under my saddle, oh and the pump and water bottles)
It weighs 6.5kg or a stone in old money.
So spare cycle shorts and top, 2x long sleeve cycle base layers, 2x short sleeve base layers, pair of shorts and t shirt for evening and long trousers and shirt, socks, waterproof, arm warmers, leg warmers, charger , phone, and leads for cycle computer to charge, earphones, lock, 2 days of gels etc ( 2 more days posted to collect from stop over) , oil and rag, spare inner tubes x 3, cream , toiletries, clothes washing liquid, recovery compression tights, cable ties, sponsor sign, heart monitor strap, cycling over shoes and my glasses.
I think thats it!!!

Garmin Connect - Portsmouth to Shaftesbury

Garmin Connect - Portsmouth to Shaftesbury

Garmin Connect - Shaftesbury to Taunton

Garmin Connect - Shaftesbury to Taunton

Garmin Connect - Taunton to Holsworthy

Garmin Connect - Taunton to Holsworthy

Garmin Connect - Holsworthy to Redruth

Garmin Connect - Holsworthy to Redruth

Garmin Connect - Redruth to Lands End

Garmin Connect - Redruth to Lands End jogle12

Day 1

Well I've arrived. Nice and sunny to start with but a little windy. All was going well until, just 10 miles into the ride, when I was attacked by a very nasty ninja squirrel! It shot out from the side of the road hit the bike, yelled something at me, put me in a wobble and then shot back into the bushes. Now I know I've lost weight but a 6ft bloke in Lycra on a bike should be visible even to a squirrel. Clearly Lycra has squirrel camouflage properties I wasn't aware of. Ok moving on as I approach the white swan PH in west end, a  group of ladies wave enthusiastically. How do they know I'm on a Charity ride I wonder to myself? Bottom of the hill is my answer. Mum and dad in the lay-by with a great big union jack with "good luck Nic" written across it. I stop for a chat and put the wet weather gear on ,black clouds appearing and even more chilly. It appears the girls were on a charity walk and mum and dad had told them about waiting for me. Well onwards and stopped off at Salisbury for a coffee and cake, riding much slower than I thought but only a couple of hours left. The last 15 miles were testing the wind was even stronger and the legs were asking "are we there yet dad?" , "no, now shut up" I replied but they kept on. Then with 3miles to go it rained. 2.3 miles I hit the hill! Now someone should have reminded me of the Hovis ad. The hill (not the cobbled one thank god) was brutal nearly 2miles, with my legs now screaming at me. But I did make it...... Just. So let's see what happens tomorrow, bye for now

Day 2

After yesterday I wasn't sure how I'd feel today, about getting back on the bike. The good news was the body appeared, on a whole to be ok. So full English under my belt I set off on the short trip to Taunton 50 miles. A good start, that hill I climbed end of yesterday, got to go down the other side, weeeee. Unfortunately forgot to start the bike computer until the bottom, so lost a couple of miles and what my top speed was. The sun was out, the wind...well the wind was still there, though not quite as bad. Now clearly someone had been out last night building some hills as I don't remember seeing them on the map! To take my mind off of the ups and downs I play a game of I-spy-road kill, sorry to any children reading. I quickly tick off a fox, badger and a deer soon to add a rat or big mouse, didn't stop to check. It was around this time I was overtaken by several tractors pulling hay. Now, I look special enough in Lycra as it is, let alone covered in hay and I soon resembled a cycling Worzel Gummidge!  I then saw  squirrel to add to the I-spy list, clearly this ninja attack didn't work out so well for him. Just a hedgehog for a full set! Part of today involved a short 2 miles or so on the A303. What the **@# was I thinking. I can only liken the event to playing a live version of 'frogger' (for those of you too young to know what that is, please ask a grown up) and the noise. Still, I was quite good at frogger and survived ok (cant play any modern computer games though) I'm sure I'm a little more deaf now. Luckily the legs weren't too bad today, although my bottom was moaning towards the end. Shortly after the start of tomorrows ride, I hit a road called 'long drag hill' can't imagine what that will be like !

Groundhog day...or day 3

As my eyes try to focus on the clock, which, once again, still has a 6 on it, I move my legs, which complain they're still asleep. Another day begins. I roll onto my back only for it to complain as well! As I get ready for the off, the sky is grey and cooler, still could be worst and be raining. As I clip my foot onto the bike my bottom speaks up, "if you think I'm sitting on that again....." Reluctantly I give in and make a few adjustments to keep it happy. All the time my legs are chipping in with "yeah you tell him", my head drops .....its Gunna be a long day.
Part 1
As I head off through a maze of estate roads, trying to weave a way back to the main road, I pootle along at a slow pace.
The name reminds me of The Flumps (sorry small children, Google it ) and I find myself singing the theme tune, da da, da da, da da dah, da da dah.......... OUT LOUD...... Still by the time I realise, my spirits are lifted and I'm half way up a long dragging hill...not so bad after all.
God was clearly having a funny five minutes when he built Devon and I suspect also Cornwall as I soon loose the wweeee downhill factor fearing what the up the other side will be like. As I go through Tiverton I have a long up hill stretch on a dual carriageway, thankfully not as bad as the A303 and with a lovely view of the Great Western Canal. Then out of town onto some quieter roads. As I turn left (up hill again) I notice a road sign, out of the corner of my eye 'Long Drag Hill'......... Oh no It wasn't the other one!......
You know in the old movies when they do that thing where they zoom the lens in and out, it was one of those moments. I could just see the top and it was steep enough it was going to hurt, as my legs kindly pointed out. I pootle on........da da, da da etc etc. Sometime later, as the road bares to the right and I'm nearing the top, my worst nightmare is realised, there's more! Only steeper and at least as far again. Singing now pointless as my legs are screaming at me much louder than I can sing!. The sign painted on the road merely taunts me, it reads...... SLOW......
Part 2
I reach the top. Which I eventually manage and I might add without getting off or stopping. But here I do stop and get off, to admire the view!
Once the view is taken, along with some deep breathing and liquid ..Moving on ...... Oooh pheasant, that must be bonus points in the I-Spy book of road kill, still know hedgehog. By now I really am in the middle of nowhere and looking for a lunch stop..... I come across a great big pub on a cross roads after miles of nothing. At last
Part 3
30 miles left to go, refreshed I set off again. I marvel to myself that I've got this far really because I'm being guided by following a little black dot along a thin line on the bike computer. You see you pre program a route on your computer at home using a proper map and load it to the cycle computer. Then if you take a wrong turn your black dot moves off the line and it bleeps at you saying, off course. You have no junctions or road names shown or anything!  At last hedgehog.... Yeah ( sorry ) book completed. I then past a pub called the Earl of Portsmouth! 3 miles later I pass by the Lymington arms...... Hang on am I still in Hampshire! Then a few more miles up another hill the computer bleeps at me, off course.......
I didn't recall a turning? I go back 50ft or so to see, well a track. The sign says footpath, it hardly is even that. Nothing I could manage on the bike, not even if it was a mountain bike! I get my hand written notes out. I quickly realise this isn't much help as it follows the route I can't now take. I get out my phone, to see where I am on Google maps..... No signal..... I know I'm only about 15miles away (because of how far I've travel) nothing for it i'll have to go straight on and look for road signs as some clever idiot didn't bring a map!
3 miles later I see an A road and a sign to Holsworthy 11 miles yeeaahhh. Lovely smooth road, can't imagine why I didn't come this way. Speed and spirits pick up again. Keeping an eye on the road signs further on another confirming 11 miles. Sometime later,11miles to Holsworthy......nooooooo. Am I just going to circle it, why is it not getting closer? At least I've confirmed I'm not still in Hampshire.
Closing in a sign 5 miles. As I turn the corner another zooming lens moment. I now recall why I hadn't picked this route! It's at this point my legs, arms, bottom and back form a union and vote the brain out of being in charge with a 'vote of no confidence'! I stop and drink the rest of my drink take an energy gel from tomorrows  supply and head on up. That was the longest day of my life but I've got here and although it may not read like it, I have a great big smile on my face. X
sorry for any typos

Day 4

04:52..... My bladder in forms me if I don't go now he'll remind me what its like to wet the bed!.......
Last night at diner I met 2 police chap from Bristol aslo MAMIL's ( middle aged men in lucra! ) they were cycling from Bristol to Falmouth, Small world. All of us were up to our rooms by  19.30. Light weights I know .
Still, rested and spurred on by lovely text messages and well wishes, oh and the promise of a roast and drinks with friends tonight, I head off. No complaint from my bottom or legs? I here you ask..... Well yes but more of a low whimpering than complaint. Other than my right knee which now appears to be squeaking! Every rotation. Yes, I to thought it was the bike but its the knee for sure. A few more beeps of horns and waves from well wishers (there has been a few over the days) although that last drivers wave looked a lot more like a hand gesture to me! Having thought my I-Spy was complete I soon spot a rabbit shortly followed by a seagull more bonus points. Now the roads have been quiet, did see anything for nearly an hour! Then bladder shouts for a stop, ok ok. Well as you probably guessed, everyone and his mother drove passed! I just waved....
That was shortly followed by a game of chicken with a pheasant, so I guess that should be a game of pheasant. Down a single track, high banked lane, it stood and stared me out. Look mate, I've been through too much , I'm coming through. I swear at that point it scraped its foot like a bull and charged me! How we missed each other i'll never know.
Hills, Yeap they were big but roast diner and drinks with friends got me through. There was one moment, when I was smuggly thinking I'd made all the hills, I turned the corner and unexpectedly saw 14% aaaggh wrong gear, nearly came to a stop but just made it. Now in a nice hot bath, with my legs singing a happy song. Just 30miles tomorrow and with company, yeah

Day 4 additional.

Don't know how I forgot to tell you this .
The downhills were back on form today , lots of wwweeeeee factor. One was nearly a miles of free wheeling, ( I deserved it ) .Once I had to start peddling again, a 'ping' and the right calf let out a yell.......cramp. Now, poor motorist must have been wetting themselves, a MAMIL, rolling around at the side of the road clutching his leg in the air. Yeap, very funny, NOT! Took 5 mins to pass....

The Final 30 miles

Waking up was really strange this morning. The house was quite and I just lay there thinking '242 miles I've cycled, that's just mad!' 30 left to go.
Tony had said he'd ride with me today to keep me company, which was great . After a bacon bap we set off on a beautiful morning. The rolling countryside just passed me by without incident, as I was too happy to worry about the hills, I just couldn't wipe the great big smile off my face.
The view into St Michael's was utterly amazing and we stopped for coffee to take it in. After this Tony had planned a little trip on a cycle path! Which turned out to be a little more off road than he recalled, all I could think is , please no punctures now. Only 10 miles left. The climb out of Penzance was a still challenge with a great big buzzard, perched watching our efforts.
With only a few miles left to go as we pootled on,I gave Tony a couple of verses of the Flumps song to keep him going. At this point I though I was going to add another item to the I-Spy book.....Tony. some lady bimbled out into the road, in her slippers and nearly took him out....
As I started to freewheel down the final straight I could see Liz, Josh and Tina waving. A tear in my eye waving like a Loony, I came to a stop. I made it. A pop of a cork and the bubbly flowing, we all laughed.
I was just like to thank everyone for all your kind words and well wishes, they really have kept me going.
Was it fun ? I hear you ask..err well no.
Was it enjoyable?...well in places, yes
Do you feel a sense of achievement?...HELL yes, with the exception of marrying Liz and having Josh , Em and Scott, without doubt this is the single most proudest moment of my life .


Pain !

It's just typical isn't it. Did my last 60miles cycle before I cycle down to Cornwall and everything is hurting! My shoulder is in a right state, hasn't been this bad for ages ( old car accident injury) had to resort to tramadol to help me sleep, my legs feel like lead and to top it all I've got a blinking tooth ache! and the last few mornings it's been freezing........ psychologically this isn't helping.

Cycling Mirror

Just awaiting a helmet mirror. Wasn't going to get one but have read some good things on how useful they are. Anything to help keep me safe has got to be a bonus

1 Week to go

Yeap looking at the date and pooping my pants ! Gunna be really hard work I think. Started getting stuff together to take and then looking at what I can leave behind to save weight!
well weather could be anything according to long term forecast, either way I guess it doesn't matter as i've got to do it whatever. Did my last 60 mile training run and legs still tired today so doing that 4 and 1/2 days on the trot should be interesting. I'm very grateful for the support from you all and your encouragement .
well next time I post is likely to be the day I leave...........

Tough day

Just over two weeks to go and out for another 60 miles today. strong head wind in places and two punctures! legs feel like lead this evening. Getting a bit anxious about the cycle as it draws nearer !!! resting for two days now so hope that will aid recovery.....

Big thanks Garth at Vankru Performance Cycling

Big thanks to Garth at Vankru Performance Cycling: His help and knowledge has been fantastic in getting me and the bike set up as one. Anyone who thought that a professional bike fit wasn't worth it can be assured if you get it done properly it's well worth it and avoids all sorts of aches and pains and has definitely improved my performance and comfort. Please visit his site below , you wont regret it I promise http://www.vankru.com/

Saddle struggles

Still suffering in the longer rides with finding a saddle I can live with. have tried 5 or so now ( borrow loaned etc) even some which are quite expensive and I couldn't afford. Someone has recommended either the BROOKS B-17 N saddles or the SDG Ti FLY, way out of my price range but will take a look at them. I might see if either company can send one in way of sponsorship. I'm really getting worried now as the 60 miles has demonstrated how tough it's going to be without the right saddle. I  hope one of they they can help?

First 60 miler!

Tough day first 60 miler. Still completed and did it in 4hr 38 seconds so average speed 15mph , not too bad at all.

New 47 mile training route

That was tough quite hilly and very hot but still managed 15mph average speed so happy with that.

8 weeks to go!!

A cold realisation has settled in this week....8 weeks, just 8 weeks then 300 miles! Up until now ( other than the IOW ride in May) my long rides have been only 35 miles once a week, or more accurately once every 10 days. Ontop of that about 60-80 miles of commuting over the 6 working days. I REALLY need to step this up now as FAILURE is NOT an option. So I plan ( we'll see if I am able to actually able to ) up the longer rides by 5 miles each week so this week I need to do a 40 mile and next 45 etc. I also need to do a few more hills as I still not very good at those!
The route is pretty much sorted, in my head anyway. I plan to cycle from Portsmouth via Sailsbury to Shaftesbury on the first day Tuesday the 18th September. And I don't propose to cycle into Shaftesbury with a loaf of bread and a flat cap ! ( Hovis advert if your to young to remember). I still have got to sort out somewhere to stay for that night. The next day will be onto Taunton, a slightly shorter ride to recover from the shock of the first day. Lucky for me our friends the "Holds" have offered to put me up. Next will be across the north of Cornwall to drop down to a place called Holsworthy, here I've managed to book a B&B. The next day will be over to the coast and down to Redruth where I hope to be put up by some more friends Lucy and Tony are you listening? ( as I haven't asked them yet! ) This should leave a short 20 miles or so to do on the Saturday. Planned this way so as to give Liz and Josh time to drive down on Saturday to see me finish . Well we'll see how all that pans out shall we?........
 

Before and after

Uploaded a new photo of me now I'm now 14 stone (90kg) which is over 2 stone lighter than when I started !

The kind people at Lezyne

Very generous donation to the cause from Rory at UPgrade bikes ( Lezyne distribution ) they have sent a multi tool and a saddle bag which was much needed. I'm very grateful for their support.

What is it with the weather?

Ok several thanks go out at the start of this post, Michelin who have supplied a brilliant set of endurance 25 x 700 tyres which i will give a long term review on but first off they roll fantastically and the extra mm's is a much welcomed cushion for the botty! Also a great big thanks to Vankru who sorted out a fitting for me. I cant recommend them enough the difference in comfort and the feeling of being able to put more power into the peddling has been amazing.
Training well that's the bad news , I still have a niggling 'pull' in the back of my right knee, which wont go away, although it has decreased dramatically since the fitting. The weather has really been a pain in the bottom, wet and cold not what I was expecting foir June! Still need to look at increasing the longer rides up to a 33 mile single ride on my days off ( did best time a few days ago 1:59mins avg speed 16.2mph and 1,552 ft elevation ) and doing 90 miles over 6 days when working. Really need to up the long rides on my days off. Maybe on my next set. One thing I need to sort though is the saddle can't quite find one I'm happy with at the moment have tried several but non that I've completely fallen in love with.
More news soon
Thanks again everyone

A Long and winding road

This gives you a little idea of the climbs on the back of the Isle Of wight. You can just make out the road in the far background!

Randonnee Ups and Downs

Part One Complete...just.
Total miles were 78 inc to and from ferry ports.
I was quite amazed by just how many there were on a wet grey day the 08:00 ferry from Portsmouth was loaded with bikes ( must have doubled the value of the ferry!)
met up with a friend who was happy to come round with me which was great boost to my nerves.
The first check point was buzzing with activity and cards collect we set off . Some of the roads as we went round were pretty poor with shingle and mud on them making any downhill section quite dodgy.
By the time we got to the south coast past Ventnor a few shadows appeared on the road for a few minutes having had rain up until that point. But with the turn onto the Military road came a strong head wind which made for hard going.
Then came the sight I'd been dreading . Until now it had been hilly don't get me wrong but what lay in front of me was demoralising two huge climbs, with little coloured waterproof jackets littering the hillside. Colin who I was with ( and a more experienced climber set off and I told him not to wait, so he set off for the top of the second climb where he said he'd meet me).
The mental challenge in get up the first was bad enough but knowing the second was worse didn't help but as some passed me others gave up and stopped I kept my head down and plodded on determined to get to the top without stopping...... and I did.
A few miles after this the road turned off onto a bridle path ! At the end of which was lunch at Yarmouth. Unfortuantely the path was not kind to me and I had a puncture. This was swiftly repaired along with lunch and we set off on the homeward stretch only to get a few hundred yards to have another flat!. This is a lesson in checking the tyre properly before replacing the tube. Lucky for me Colin had another as I had only brought one. The last 20miles were a struggle but I just kept going and the sight of the ferry port at Fishbourne nearly brought a tear to my eye knowing I had made it. Silly I know as it's just a bike ride but for me it was a lot more than that........
A welcome family and a hot bath was followed by an early bed ready for work the next day....

Stats:
Total Randonnee mile 69.09
elevation 3681 ft
cycling time 6 hrs33 mins
Average speed 11mph

Randonnee Nerves

Ok, so it 22:15 the night before my first big challenge. 100K around a very hilly IOW. I can't say i'm had a good few weeks coming up to this the weather has been just awful! I've just come home from a lovely couple of days at Sandy Balls Camp site with friends and they all waved me off as I left them all behind so I could come and do this ride. As I was driving home from the New Forest to Portsmouth I realised the 32 miles was roughly half the distance I will have to cycle tomorrow! Seams an awfully long way to me .
Best try and get some sleep soon.
I and very grateful for the sponsors and support so far.  Knowing the money i'm raising is going to a good cause will hopefully get me through it.........

Udderly brilliant

I have been very lucky to receive 2 pots of the Udderly Smooth Chamois Cream. i have to say I'm very impressed. the cream is light and goes on well. Its not as think and "claggy" as another make i've used and seams to work very well indeed. there a link on the site to them so if anyone want to try it I would throughly recommend it.
Thanks again

Cornish Climbs !!!

Just got back form a trip to Cornwall and thought I should take the bike to try out some hills!!!
We stayed at  Mawnan Smith, just outside Falmouth. There is a lovely costal road from there to Falmouth and around Pendennis Castle. this takes in a couple of lovely beaches Meanporth and Swanpool. There are also two 12% climbs each about 3/4's of a mile long on the way!!! So looping around the castle and back home was a 12 mile ride and meant I had to do the hills twice!!! (it was much worse coming back though)
still I did this twice in the week and did have to get off although I was blowing a bit and my legs were jelly.
So still some work to do before the IOW challenge on the 6th of May....
thanks again to you all for the sponsoring and your support
Nic

New Route....Phew !

Well I thought it was time to up my route to over 30 miles from the 24 miles loop I had been training on. So I looked at the map and thought , if I go a bit further and take that road I can cut through to there and get back home that way. Seamed fine on the map and all was well till I arrived at Hayden lane, Warnford. This was the biggest hill I had yet tackled over 200m high and went on for miles...... well maybe a mile and a half or so. All I know is when I got to the top I thought I was going to die !!!! It was hard but the view was amazing and the weather was fab.
Off to Cornwall next week and taking the bike with me for a bit of training..... I'm sure there are plenty more hills there to tackle.
Cheers
Nic

Distance: 32.43
Total time: 2:11:29
Active time: 2:0:16
Idle time: 0:11:13
Average speed: 16.18
AVS gross: 14.80
Max speed: 36.35
Total uphill: 2477
Total downhill: -2460
Track taken by Move! Bike Computer

Michelin Tyres

Those excellent folk at Michelin have kindly sent me a set of tyres in way of sponsorship! I can only say I'm extremely grateful. As for the tyres they are fantastic a marked improvement over the standard ones I had, at least 1-2 MPH faster on the flat, to me thats quite a bit.
Did my normal 25 mile circuit today which was a couple of minutes faster than before so that was great. Clocked 40 MPH download! now that was quite scary.
Please support my cause and pop a few quid in the link for Children in Need.
Nic

Wiggle gear

Well I have to say the top and shorts Wiggle sent me are REALLY good, very comfy and a good fit. Can't see why you would need to spend more on expensive gear, very impressed. Err sorry about the guy in them though!!!

Embarrassment and progress all in the same day!

Embarrassment and progress all in the same day!
Went out on my 25 mile (well nearly) today, same loop I've done 3 times before. At the start I've got to go up quite a steep hill past the entrance to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth. Cardiac hill as I call it. well a few hundred yards from the top I was overtaken by a snake thin chap in his mid sixties !! not only that he quite happily wished me good morning without a hint of being out of breath!...... Still got a long way to go.
The progress was at the end of the ride I discovered I was a few 6 minutes faster than last week.... so I guess every cloud has a silver lining..

Distance: 24.55
Total time: 1:44:54
Active time: 1:40:14
Idle time: 0:4:40
Average speed: 14.69
AVS gross: 14.04
Max speed: 32.99
Total uphill: 1699
Total downhill: -1686

The Cycle Surgery

This is where I met probably the two most helpful, friendly staff I have EVER come across in my life Denham and Scott and I spent 10 years as a retail manager. They are never too busy to chat and help as well as asking how i'm getting on with words of encouragement. This is also where my bike was purchased the Giant defy 1 which will be the bike for all 3 of the charity rides. 
Waiting for the Wiggle tops to come for a photo to post on line.
bye for now
Nic

Sponsorship

Got news today from Wiggle who are going to help with sponsorship and will send a top and some bib shorts, better than nothing!
I have now completed three 25 miles cycle rides starting to realise just what i've let myself in for!
Must get some pictures up soon Hopeful with Wiggle sponsorship sorted by then

Organizing teams and sponsors

Most dates confirmed and now split into 3 separate events. Organizing teams to take part.
May 6th 2012 Randonee. Around the IOW  to raise money for help the hero's and Children in need
September 28th 2012 . Portsmouth 2 Penzances  to raise money for Children in need
May or June  2013 , The big one John O'Groats 2 Lands End  to raise money for help the hero's and Children in need.
Website up and running. Now will need to get team photo and start publishing.......

Revised plans

Due mainly to issues around leave and not being able to get any until end of September ( the Olympics getting in the way ) the aspirations of John O'Groats 2 Lands End are on hold until 2013. I did think that I might get some leave May time but not sure I'd be up to the task by then.
So the revised plan is Portsmouth 2 Penzance approximately 300 miles and complete it in a weeks leave.
First off I'm going to train for the round the IOW cycle in May as my first target.
So far 4 weeks of regular commuting to and from work have gone well ( 4 miles each way ) and the aliments are holding out . Plan to start building in a 10 miler every week and gradually increase this weekly.
there has been quite a bit of interest in this and a local reporter is looking at covering it and  it now looks like a few others from work and friends are also showing some interest..... updates to follow

A moment of madness !

Well it really was. I watched 'Children in Need' and saw Matt cycle a rickshaw down the country and had, 'a moment of madness' a few months later.
"I'm going to cycle from John O'Groats to Lands end for Children in Need" I announced to friends and family. While this is indeed a noble statement there are somethings that were pointed out to me ( amongst the laughter and amazement ) that might get in the way of my ultimate goal.
First off I'm no spring chicken at 46 years old. At 5'11" and 16 stone 2 lb I'm a little over weight. Then there's the fact that at that point I didn't cycle ! well I hadn't really been on a bike for 15- 20 years and even then I was never a regular cyclist. Then there's the other issues, damaged shoulder from 2006 car accident ( never really been sorted gives constant pain) Oh there's the prolapsed disc from last year, which is ongoing, knees aren't so good, ankle op a few years back from a motorbike accident occasionally acts up. Apart from that I should be fine.........


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