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, 13 December 2014
We've just been out and bought the christmas tree so I find myself looking to the new year. The only person who regularly reads this tedious pointless blog will know most of this, but here goes anyway. January and February - Patagonia on the new Thorn Raven currently sitting in the lounge being tweaked. Tweaking involves hiding a photocopy of your passport in the handlebars so you can prove it's yours when it's stolen and recovered, using a wine bottle cork to retain several spare spokes in the saddlepost, adding a rear and a front rack, adding a spacebar for the GPS etc, putting on the right pedals, and putting on the very strong 36 spoke reinforced front wheel to cope with Chilean unpaved roads of hundreds of miles. Then there are several Duke of Edinburgh award expeditions next year with the local school, where as a qualifed Mountain Leader I am supposed to bring an element of sense to the whole shebang. Next year is the four-yearly Paris-Brest-Paris event, and i hope to have another go at that so I'll be riding the four qualifiers. Being French, the organisers have silly rules: the non-silly rule is that you have to prove you are not a total wally by riding a 600k event. This is OK - no one wants to take part in an event with loads of idiots on the roads and with 5,000 entrants that could be the case. what is daft is the additional rules that you have to ride a 200k, a 300k and a 400k. If you can ride a 600k why prove you can do a 200k? Anyway, it's a Big Hairy Event and I want to have a go so I'll be riding the qualifiers at some point. There will also be the overnight rises, one of the best being the Brussels to Ostend, next year will be my third. Then in late May there's a short weekend in France, riding from Cherbourg to Caen with The Fridays - that'll be a lot of fun.At the end of May I'll be having a go at the 600k windsor-Chester-Windsor and this'll be the test. I know I can ride the other distances, but this one will decide if I will be going to Paris in August for PBP. If not, it might be Nord Kapp at the top of Norway. But watch this space.
Saturday, 25 October 2014
https://www.flickr.com/photos/29651652@N06/sets/72157646625345044/ is a link to the pix of my ride from Santander in northern spain to Santiago de Compostela in a couple of weeks. We had some rain and lots of hills. Tremendously enjoyable trip. The plan was to speak some spanish before my trip to Patagonia in January for two months - all worked out well.
Tuesday, 30 September 2014
So, after eight hours driving to Kendal, a visit to PizzaExpress and a night sleeping in the car, Jess and I had a reasonable first day in the Rab mountain marathon in the southern Lake District. The night, in which one camps in a field and takes water from a stream, was warm and as comfy as a night in a tiny tent for two people can ever be. The second day was cloudy but warm and dry with no wind and by the end we had beaten a bout a dozen teams, so we felt reasonably pleased with ourselves. A night in a B&B in Kendal saw us restored and a very quick five hours 30 minutes drive saw us home. Now I am packing for the trip to the New Forest to help with a Duke of Edinburgh expedition, then next Tuesday I am off to cycle in Spain for a fortnight. It has been said before, but my advice to anyone is: get born.
Saturday, 20 September 2014
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
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
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
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.