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.....
Monday, 11 May 2015
Last Saturday I took the train to Dover, ferry to Dunkirk, cycled 30k to De Panne in Belgium, which is the nearest railway station. Took train to Brussels and at midnight a group of eight of us left to ride overnight to Ostend. I've been on this ride twice before, it's great - all flat and very atmospheric. About halfway we stopped for a warm welcome and loads of grub at the home of some friend of Els, who organised the ride. About 20k from the end of the ride Gordon and I split from the group and we headed northwards into The Netherlands to recce the route for a week-long tour by a cycling club in September. We rode about 100k each day and an important part of any cycling trip is fuel - tea stops, meal stops, places to get out of the weather, etc. So we looked at those too. This sounds pleasant but is in fact hard work and time consuming and of course there is a bit of to-ing and fro-ing as we check routes, change our minds, etc. At the end of the northwards leg we had a day of ferocious wind - on the tour we think we'll put some strong riders at the front and take it in turns to be at the back. This is what cycling clubs call "drafting" or "through and off" riding. On the Friday we headed south along the coast and took the ferry from the Hook of Holland to Harwich, arriving at 6.30am. We took the London train and I got off at the first stop, Manningtree in Essex, and at 9am 240 of us begand the Asparagus & Strawberries ride, a 400k endurance event that took us northwards to Wells-Next-The-Sea on the north Norfolk coast and back again. I made it back an hour or so before the deadline. This means I have now done my 200k, 300k and 400k rides that qualify me to enter the 1,200k Paris-Brest-Paris ride in August - but I need to complete a 600k event. This will be the Windsor-Chester-Windsor in late May. Will I do it? Who knows. This morning I'm exhausted, my feet hurt, my shoulders hurt, my head aches, my hands ache, and my leg muscles are not normal. So maybe I can't manage a 600k. There's only one way to find out...... And PBP is where this Pointless Project all began. We'll see.....
Sunday, 26 April 2015
there are some pix here; http://bit.ly/1z2O19E but i was bored with the captions, so stopped writing them. the pix are pretty self-explanatory anyway: empty roads, great weather, lovely views. I forgot to menton (to the few people who look at this) that I went to the New Forest to help out with a Duke of Edinburgh award expedition in my capacity as a qualified Mountain Leader (sounds grand but it ain't), then went back to work at the FT for a few days and after wortk on theFriday I took the bike to Essex for the midnight start of a 300k ride, finished on the Saturday afternoon and took the train home, then packed on the Sunday and drove to south Wales to help with another Duke of Edinburgh award expedition, then drove to Moreton in Marsh and stayed the night with my mate Dave, then we drove to Inverness. We cycled to Durness up the northwest coast (see pix), then drove home. all very good. Next up is a Saturday trip to Brussels with the bike, a midnight start and a ride to Ostend, folowed by a week doing a recce for The Fridays tour of the Lowlands in September. On Friday May 8 I take the overnight ferry from Hook of Holland to Harwich and take the train to Manningtree, where I get off and at 9am start a 400k audax. I need to complete the ride by midday on the Sunday, after which I go home on the train. then I sleep a thousand thousand years. It's PBP year again, which is where this blog all started. Completely pointless, obvs.
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.