Summer highs… and lows

Well it’s been an odd few weeks since I last blogged. It’s turned out to be damn near impossible to ride with Dorking CC. I can only join them every other Sunday, and as I had to work on my day off, I haven’t joined them. Not sure what to make of them in all honesty. Apart from Flick, the other women came across a bit snooty, and as everyone hared off up hills in front of me, finding myself the lone back marker wasn’t great.

So I haven’t ridden with them, going out alone around the local lanes hasn’t been too bad. But. It’s damn boring, and I’m still fair new to this.
Do I look for another club? No one appears to be interested in riding in the evening around here. So looks like I’m back to being the lonely cyclist!

Anyway. TdF has started! Arranging to meet up in Paris with loads of tweeps, it’s got to be better than last year! I’m planning on being in the Frog XVI Saturday afternoon with the team Sky Fanzone. Might see you there, or possibly on le Champs.

By the way my Velogames Fantasy team isn’t doing great. As I knew it wouldn’t! Just heard that Janis Brajovick (thats probavly spelt wrong but you should get who I mean!) is out of it today.

I’m about to be my own worst enemy, as I’m not going out on the bike tonight despite it being perfect weather. But hey, after finishing late 4 days in a row, I think one evening off isn’t going to kill me!

Don’t forget how physical my job is before you think I’m a lazy cow. I’d like to see some of you shift 700 bales of hay over two days 😉

Seriously if anyone has any suggestions of clubs, or knows anyone willing to ride slow an evening a week, please let me know! As I said to @accidentobizaro its a pity we don’t have @sparkieturner down this way! It looks great what they do up there.

But that is Yorkshire, where everyone is friendlier than Snooty Surrey!

Looks like I’m also going to trundle my way around the shorter route of the Magnificat at Newbury unless I get a better offer!

Ciao 🙂

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Off to Le Tour!

First of all a massive apology for not posting anything for ages! I haven’t done much on the bike recently, as you know how shit the weather has been here in the UK!

I was going to post a bit about watching Le Tour, but kept getting sidetracked by stuff that needed doing in preparation for going to France! And the fact that I was probably too busy tweeting!

So I think we have everything sorted out. I pick Melissa up from Heathrow tomorrow morning, we drive to Folkestone and go via the Eurotunnel to Calais. Then the long drive starts! And we are only going for the last week of it, for those who don’t know, it started 2 weeks ago in Liege…

I really can’t wait. This will be the first time I’ve been away for ages, even if it includes massive amounts of driving! I’m going to see a sport I love watching and meet people I only know via Twitter or Facebook!

I’ve had a go at the cycling fantasy teams for Le Tour, and as per usual I’m about mid div – although I’ve had Peter Sagan from the start, as well as Chris Froome!

I’ve got to say going to France wouldn’t be possible without massive help from friends and especially my parents (thanks ma and dad!). Some of you have been so helpful with loads of different stuff, from borrowing a sat nav (thanks Conor you legend!) to a stranger giving me 50 euros for no reason whatsoever!

I’ve had the past week off work, and although I haven’t done much, it’s been great for getting final bits sorted – having a cigarette lighter put back in my car so I can charge the sat nav and my phone. Sorting out a new mobile – sorry for those of you received loads of random calls. And most of all watching some majorly  impressive riding on the Tour! (Yeah I had Pierre Rolland from the start as well! Ha!!).

Not sure I’ll be able to blog much, if at all, as I only have mmy phone, but will be tweeting/fbooking when I can. Hopefully I’ll get some epic pictures!

For the first time in my life I have bought a British flag. Although I did buy a Welsh one first! Those who know me, will know how unpatriotic I am! But sod it!

When we finally get to Paris, Verity – my best friend for the last 24 years – is meeting me in Paris. I. Can’t. Wait. Yeah, if you are there and see us behaving like lunatics (in a good way), just cope with it! A’ite?!

This might be my last post for a few days, so anyone who wants to join me next year better join the list – about 10 people on it! One thing, I ain’t driving next year!

So tweet or fb me!

Thanks for all the messages so far anyways…

#ALLEZROLLAND
#BRITSBEHINDSKY

Ciao
Keep Smiling!!! 🙂

 

Logistical Nightmare

How I would love to win the Lottery, or the Euromillions, it would make life so much easier!

I’ve been trying to work out exactly where Melissa and I are going in France. This includes when I pick her up from Heathrow early(ish) on Sunday 15th. I still have to book the Eurotunnel, and have left it this late due to lack of funds and trying to work out the timing. Also from Heathrow, I have to navigate the M25 and M26, which hopefully won’t be overly bad on a Sunday morning! This means I have to give ourselves a bit of extra time to get there (in case of the flight being late, or some hold up on the motorway) and we also need to ‘check in.’
Then from Calais, it’s some long drive to Pau – and although using the motorways over there would be quicker, the tolls are extortionate! And some thing I can’t really afford! This means staying mainly on the Nationale and Departmental routes – and also means I’ll need to print the route out! Gah!
The  http://www.autoroutes.fr/en/routes.htm is the route planner I’m using, as both RAC and AA route planners for Europe are rubbish. Thank god the French version is pretty good! It says driving time of just over 14 hours, so with a break or two, is more likely to be 16!
Say we get to Calais for 11am. Add another 16 hours. That is about 6am we can get to Pau. We obviously will have to stop, but we also need to get to Pau early enough so that we can find the hotel, park up and eat/sleep etc. Oh bearing in mind, the Stage that day finishes in Pau, so I expect it to be heaving, even early on!

Melissa – as soon as we check in, I will probably crash out for a few hours! Or overdose on caffeine!

So by Monday, we are there in Pau. Check In. sleep (for me). Get to the finish. Annoy people (possibly).

Tuesday is the last rest day at Le Tour. Great, have a lie in! Er we have to move the car to the hotel we are staying in on Tuesday night. Then I will possibly sleep again, and blog, and take far too many pictures, and email the parents!

Wednesday’s Stage starts in Pau. I am not missing this!

Wednesday night, Thursday night and Friday night have yet to be decided. But we have a tent!

Saturday and Sunday, we are booked into a hotel in Paris. We have a choice on Saturday, catch the train to watch them finish the Time Trial in Chartres, or go to the Team Sky Fan Party (TSFP), a 15 min walk from our hotel (er, that is a guess! It might not be that far!) The TSFP have a place to watch it all on a big screen and have a party afterwards! This, technically, will be the only night I can drink!

Sunday, we will be on the Champs Elysees, at the Team Sky Fan corner (although I like all the teams! I am not just a Sky fan!) and will be watching them finish.

Currently I have been invited to 3 parties on the Sunday night!

Monday we have to leave Calais fairly early as I expect the M26 and M25 to be a nightmare!

This has been a headache trying to organise this, but I’m so looking forward to it! It WILL be amazing!

Thanks to Andy for offering us a place to pitch our tent, we might see you on the Tourmalet  yet! Thanks to the kind invites to the parties (from various people) and the sheer amount of help I have received from Twitter and Wheelsuckers!

I still have to sort out various bits and bobs – where the hell do I get breathalyser kits from? And Iestyn, my lovely brother, can I borrow a laptop?!?!

Take care and keep smiling 😛

We bought a tent!

After looking at a fair few tents online, I decided http://www.gooutdoors.co.uk/ was the best place to go and have a look, seen as Basingstoke has one just up the road from me. It also has a tent showroom, which was brilliant when we wanted to compare how the tents looked, and the space we had in them. We were never going to but 2 one person tents – as it’s much easier to just have the one tent to put up. A 2 person tent was never going to be big enough – they look tiny to me! So we started looking at the 3 person tents. We only had about £25 each, so we found 2 in our price range that looked ok. We settled on this one http://www.gooutdoors.co.uk/hi-gear-nucleus-3-tent-p194450 as it looked bigger and felt more roomy than the one next to it (I cant remember what the one next to it was!). Unfortunatley they were out of stock. Damn. So I asked if we could have the one on show, Nope. But they took me over and compared what tents they had that were similar. Why did I want the Hi-Gear Nucleus 3? It was slightly more waterproof, and it seemed more spacious. After several minutes talk, we settled on the http://www.gooutdoors.co.uk/hi-gear-proton-3-tent-p194454 which was sold to us at the same price as the one we had originally wanted. Brilliant!

So we have a tent. Now we’re going to have some fun practising pitching it! Probably later today – I’ll let you know how we get on!

When we got home we decided to start looking at where we want to go in France. I know stage starts and finishes are busy, but aiming in roughly that direction, should give us some idea when the detailed TdF route map comes out in June.

We travel to Belfort on Saturday 7th July to be ready for Sundays stage which starts there. Then when all the palava has dies down a bit, we aim to travel onto Besancon (or near there) where that is the finish town on Monday 9th July.

Ha i do wonder if we are being a bit foolhardy? As there is a rest day on the Tuesday, and I have decided to go somewhere up the Col du Grand Colombier – if we can get up there!! then travel somewhere near St Jean de Maurienne.

If that sounds complicated to you, it probably is! But I think we have got it! I’ve written directions down, and highlighted routes on the map – just in case we don’t get a Sat Nav!

I hope today we can work through the rest of the routes, sort of up to Pau (the last rest day), where we meet my TF who will probably be joining us all the way to Paris!

Time to have a coffee now

Ciao

Planning TdF…

So Sunday didn’t work out as planned, with @v_girlracer having done a 20 mile walk along the Ridgeway the day before; she had hurt her ankle. I decided to go it along and start marking out our route from Calais to Belfort. This has to be done the cheapest way possible i.e as few toll roads as possible.

Now in this day and age you’d think either the AA route map or the RAC route map (I use them in Britain all the time) would be fairly useful. Ah, well you were as wrong as me if you thought that!!!

Google eventually threw up the http://www.autoroutes.fr/en/traffic-forecast.htm a French route map. This is brilliant. Obviously put your ‘departure’ and ‘destination’ in. Then click on ‘modify the research’ then under options go for economical. This has put our toll at 2 Euros (just realised theeres no euro symbol on my keyboard!) and fuel at just over 68 Euros.  On the original one it shows the toll as 41.6 Euros, although the fuel is slightly cheaper at 63.29 Euros.

So I’d found a route (alright it’s nearly 9 hours of driving (compared to 6.45 on the shorter more expensive route) but there is two of us!). Then I had to plot it onto the massive fold out road map I have, ok it took a while, but it’s done! Then I thought I’d better plot it onto the big detailed road book of France that we have. Now THAT was EXHAUSTING!!!

No we don’t have a Sat Nav, although i’m hoping someone might have one we can borrow!!

Hmmm, what next? Well until the detailed route comes out in June, we can’t really work out where we can watch it. Yes we are going to be at the start and finish of some stages, but I have a feeling Dutch corner might be calling! I’ve also been warned that the start and finish are madly hectic and not to bother with them. Think I’m autograph hunting? Puhlease! (Alright I have Alex Dowsetts autograph, that a friend of mine sent me, but really?!? Not my scene). I’ll have my camera, my best mate, a great sense of humour and….. am i missing something? Oh possibly the bikes and riders…. 😉

We also have to think about camping, having not found anyone willing to lend us a campervan. And trying to stay somewhere near Pau on the rest day when hopefully my TF (twitter friend) is meeting us.

We have loads of other stuff to think about, but thats it for now!!

Ciao

@elzrocks

Having to choose!

Sometimes I wonder if I’ve made the right choice – about what I do for a living. Let’s face it I could be sat in an office, climbing the walls with boredom, getting RSI from typing on a keyboard too much, or iPad finger, doing nothing all day but reply to emails, answer the phone… it just doesn’t interest me!

Wow we had some serious strange weather today, and I was outside to experience it – heavy hail, light rain, blazing sun, freezing wind… the list goes on and on.

So I’ve got to the point in life where I realise I can’t do this job for the rest of my life, and I don’t want to. I don’t want to be worn down and become bitter like a few people I know who still work with racehorse. So where do I go? What do I do?

I actually have no idea. I went to Loughborough Uni mature student open day last year, and yes it looked awesome. Do I have the pre requisite grades? Er, no. Should I do a course to get those grades? Er, can’t afford it. Crap. Now what? Maybe the Open University? Actually I’m quite tempted, but again the cost of it… Fail.

Ok so what interests me? Ah, racehorses, cycling, photography, reading books, socialising… What can I do with a list like that? No, I don’t want to be a vet! should I get Cytech qualified? Learn how to take better photos? Hmm, I really don’t know.

Somewhen, I’d like to travel around the world – just to see what it’s like. Funnily enough Britain is boring me….

Anyone want to lend me a VW Campervan for the Tour de France this year? Anyone at all? Ah… thought not

Keep smiling 🙂 (and thank you to the one person who does keep me smiling!!)