Or, A Year Of Madness

The sad tale of one man's - failed - bewildering attempt to get into the 1,200k endurance cycle event, from Paris to Brest and then back again, in August 2011. Oh, and walk 100 miles non-stop in May. And run a marathon - all in within 12 months. The marathon went OK, the walk was fine and the final qualifying ride was too close to the 100 mile walk. So the Pointless Project goes on for another four years untilk PBP comes round again in 2015.....

Saturday, 20 September 2014

To the Baltic. And other tales.

In July, rode from St Malo to Calais with three others. Great trip, camping, the municipal sites were just what we wanted and the weather was great, apart from one notable session of torrential rain while we sheltered under a garage canopy. So that complates my Gibraltar-Madrid-France-st Malo- Calais section of the European Odyssey. Then in September a trip on the ferry to Harwich, followed by a ride through the Netherlands, northern Germany and southern Denmark, camping every night even in the chilly evenings...... then a return on the ferry from Esbjerg to Harwich. This ferry service closes in a week so it was necesary to do the trip at this time because the alternative was to fly back with Ryanair and from what I have heard I would rather have my tongue beaten wafer-thin with a steak tenderiser than fly with them. Next weekend it is the Rab mountain marathon in the Lake District, and the weekend after there is a trip to a New Forest to help with the Duke of Edinburgh's award youngsters from the local school. Then one day at home and a train journey to Portsmouth for two weeks riding across the top of Spain. This trip is designed to improve my appalling Spanish before I go to Patagonia for January and February with the bike. My running has tailed right off but this morning I took part in the ParkRun and achieved a personal best, so I suppose I must be doing something right. Although riding 1,000 kilometres across northenr Europe with full camping kit on the bike probably helped.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Spain - again........

Have just booked ferry for return trip to Santander - this October trip should improve my Spanish language skills from appalling to slightly-less-than-appalling. It is to be hoped I can use those skills in Patagonia in January and February. In other news, the presence of cycling friends on Facebook prompts me to go there and post sometimes. So you might see me there....

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

France again.....

Overnight to st malo, then rode to calais in nine days, camping. I had 27 kilos of kit, the other had about 18 kilos. This was a sort of training ride for patagonia,in january amd february, and because one can be comfortable during the day (with light bike amd small amounts of kit) or comfortable during the evening amd bight (with warm clothing and lots of kit) that decision erred on the side of comfort amd weight. For the next instalment of my European Odyssey from Gibraltar to to top of Norway, I will be riding the Dutch coast with a much smaller amount of kit and see how I get on with the North Sea winds and lightweight kit...... Not too character-forming, I hope......

Friday, 27 June 2014

Bordeaux to Caen - by bike (again)

Went with The Fridays to Caen, then rode to Bordeaux, this was The Real Thing, a trip for a club I'm in. I'd recce'd the route last month and this time there were 23 of us altogether. There was a van to carry bags southwards and the bikes northwards, with riders getting the train northwards. The weather was warm and dry with a following wind. The logistics, which I sorted, were complicated and not helped by a French train strike that messed up some of the travelling arrangements on the last day. Everyone managed to get home OK, and it has taken only a few days to sort out the money and hand back to everyone the remnants of the kitty money. Planning now moves to the Saunders Mountain Marathon in late July, then a fortnight rising and camping across the north of France from St Malo to Calais, perhaps the Fresian Islands in September and maybe south of France or Spain in October.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Helping on the Hundred

A trip to south wales to help out on the annual 100 mile walk organised by the Long Distance Walkers' Association - they get 48 hours to walk 100 miles. i did it a few years ago and helping out is always good fun, although you don't get any sleep. It rained continuously this year and the retirement rate was 50 per cent, whereas in usual years it is 20 per cent, so you can see it was a harder year than most. I'm glad I was helping, not walking.

Monday, 19 May 2014

The Recce.........

A week riding from Caen in northern France to Bordeaux in the south: a reconnaissance for The Real Thing in June when 24 members of The Friday Night Ride to the Coast cycling club go on their annual jaunt. Four of us went on the recce, which is to ensure we have the route OK and the roads are suitable for that number of riders, plus we can find food shops and restaurants. They book their own hotels and contribute £100 each to the costs of a van that carries their luggage south and their bikes back northwards, while they take the train. Here, I hope, is a link to very bad film I made:.. http://youtu.be/3zEWSN_sphg

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Belgium, again...........

Another superb adventure courtesy of the Friday Night Ride to the Coast - train to Ashford, pick up a friend in his ar, through the Tunnel and drive to De Panne in Belgium, ride up the Belgian coast to Ostend and take the train into Brussels. A quick steak & chips in the Grand Place, a beautiful square in Brussels and we were escorted to the outskirts of the city by someone in the Fridays who lives there. Then the remaining seven of us hurtled through the flat countryside on perfect tarmac and cycle paths alongside canals to a small village outside Ghent where we arrived at 3.30am at a house where three generations of the family had got up to see us a provide a lavish meal. We wolfed the lot, donned an extra layer of clothing and set off again. We were often doing 20kph and rarely slower than 17kph. A quick stop for a drink of cold water from our bottles in Bruges and we arrived about 9am in Ostend and went to the same cafe as we used last year to eat a "petit dejeuner copious" for €15 and damned good value it was too. Then €2 each for the coast tram and €2 for my bike and 90 minutes later we arrive in De Panne. a short car journey later and we're on the Tunnel shuttle, and home by about 2.30pm. A brilliant trip, great cycling. Now - off to France on Friday for a week to recce the route for The Real Thing in June when 25 Fridays ride from Caen to Bordeaux. And the good news is that my hand is healing well after the operation and didn't hurt even in the cold night air. All good.