Garmin Sharp Ride out

Hey guys nice to find a few of you reading my blog! I’ll tell you a bit about today.

I was up at 5ish so i could attempt to eat a bowl of porridge. I’ve never been good at eating early, and i think i managed 3/4 of a bowl. I left at half 6 as i knew i needed petrol. Got to the first one on the A303 to find the cash machine not working. Onto the next one on the A34. Petrol station open, the rest of it shut! Now I’ll point out i was very nervous about being the slowest rider there today and all this marlarky didn’t help. I stopped at the next one and it was fully open so i grabbed my 2nd coffee of the day. Then onto the New Forest.

I got there at 8.10 and after getting changed and registering i found not a lot to do! Walked to the car an back a few times. Talked to the men next to me (sorry guys i have forgotten ur names!).
Oh yeah did we get one hell of a goodie bag… if you like gels etc! And a pen, Garmin lip salve, 2 bottles, cycling plus magazine, Muc Off etc…
One of the men i talked to said his average speed was about the same as mine so i asked if he would mind me riding with him. I hate being a loner!

We had bikes ready and were waiting for the Garmin Sharp lads to arrive… and waited and waited! So Felix and Luke from Rapha Condor had a bit of a Q&A… then we waited some more… then had a safety briefing… and by this time i just wanted to get going as i knew it would take me at least 3 hours to get round! Eventually they turned up and did a quick Q&A… then it was collect the bikes time!
Me and the bloke i was riding with wanted to get away asap so we knew we would finish in time… If we git the whole way round!

We set off in the second group. And i have no idea who was leading us as we were about 20 back! Also this was the first time i had ridden with a bunch of people! The pace was roughly 22mph and we kept up for about 7 miles… Then we started dropping like flies! Oh and four of us that managed to stick together up Ornamental Drive were nearly flattened by stampeding ponies!! I started laughing but soon got dropped myself. On the flattish parts i found myself hitting about 22mph… but was on my own for a long time. Until Luke GMs (no i can’t spell his surname… He rides for Rapha Condor as i said earlier! Stop laughing!!!) group came past me halfway up a hill. Managed to wheelsuck and get 3/4 of the way up there until i started going backwards!
It was fairly flat then until The Hill. We were asked to not swear at it too much as the villagers had already complained! Just before i got there i had opened a Torq gel… that ripped down the side an went everywhere! I stopped and tried to sort it out but gave up!
Then i looked up. Hello 18% very short hill. I had lost my run up at it so walked up, trying to avoid people that couldn’t clip out fast enough!! Then Felix English breezed past with his group, and i had to laugh as i saw a few wobble just before the top.
Thank god the feed station was just down the other side! I grabbed probably 3 pints of water and downed them. Several cake bars. Another gel to shove in my pocket. And filled my bottle up with some High5 drink. Then saw the bloke i had set off with. I apologise for dropping him and not waiting but he was fine about it.
Right just 26 miles left. We set out again, some nice flattish roads letting us average about 18mph (ooo Im so quick!). Saw ponies, donkeys, cattle and shetland ponies everywhere! Then we hit a string off little rises. Halfway up i turned to see him walking (i was probably doing 4mph by then!) but thought he would soon catch me up on the flat. How wrong i was!
I had been tempted to cut the last loop of the ride off but i was feeling ok after having another gel so carried on…
I caught up two older women in front of me and sat in behind them for a few miles.
Weirdly i dropped them as well! Looking at my Garmin Edge 200 we only had 9 miles left although by now every hill was bringing me to a near standstill! It was the last hill when i wobbled in front of the photographer (hope he didn’t get THAT pic!). And i stormed the last flat bit doing 23mph! Had loads of cars passing me as they had probably finished an hour or so before me!
I crossed the finish and got a cheer from some of the Garmin Sharp staff – thanks guys! – thank god i had slowed down because i hit gravel and would have skidded into their team bus otherwise. As it is i was wearing trainers and jumped off to land running! That got a few laughs!

No my legs are fine. My lungs hate me and Im shattered (so excuse any spelling or non capitalisation of words!) And that macdonalds tasted divine!

Any questions?!!?

Oh ride data:
time 3.22.06
Distance 49.8 miles
Average speed 14.55mph
Max speed: 34.22mph
Calories: 2776
Ascent: 2191.6ft
Descent: 2185ft

I think i need to believe in myself more!

Thanks to Chain Reaction Cycles for the entry. All sponsors. And Garmin Sharp (even if they were late!). I absolutley loved it! Thanks to the helpful people i met and the ones who spared me a smile and a ‘good on ya’ when they flew past me! And the bloke whose name i can’t remember!


Garmin Ride Out

A quick post from my phone. Whilst i’m not a complete bag of nerves, i am worried about how slow i’ll be! 50miles as well… The furthest i have tackled was 41 on my first Twitter Ladies Cake Club ride! I’ve found a couple of people from Twitter who are also doing the ride.

So i had better go eat some porridge although eating at this time of day usually makes me feel a bit ill!

I’ll blog later if Im not too tired!

Ciao 🙂

A beautiful ending to Le Tour

Hi everyone! Sorry I haven’t posted for a while! Hoped to be able to do one or two short posts whilst in France, but that didn’t happen.

So, you want to know ‘they story?’ I’m not going to included everything, just a outline. Let’s just say this:

I picked Melissa up from Heathrow last Sunday, drove to the Eurotunnel, managed to get an earlier slot and went to Calais. Unfortunately my phone didn’t work over there. Except for WiFi. I got a little lost (the sat nav was very out of date). Almost drove on the wrong side of the road a few times. And finally got back on the road toward Pau. I drove until about 10.30pm (maybe later) that night, and we finally stopped at a hotel, where luckily they had a room available. That is where I posted my last blog! The next day I drove onto Pau. All of this was via the toll roads as I got too lost if I wasn’t on them!

In Pau, after a few guesses, I managed to find the underground car park in the centre of Pau. Thank god! I was a very worried about how long I could park there, but managed to sort that out later on. We wandered up and down before finding our way to the finish area. When we had found a spot, Melissa wanted to go for a wander. It was hot and about 5 mins after she went off I walked back into town. Then I could check out Hotel Bosquet, attempt to contact my parents and hopefully use the Wifi in Quick (the french version of Burger King). This I managed to do and eventually wandered back towards the finish, where all the team buses were parked. I asked the Orica-Greenedge boys how far they had left, and watched the riders come in from there.

Eventually the team buses were surrounded by people, and I got smacked on the head by the Eurosport camera (thanks you idiots) by the Team Sky bus. Eventually saw Melissa by the RSNT bus and took some pics etc. Then we went back to the car to attempt to find the hotel for the night! It took a lot of doing and I was knackered by the time we got there (just as reception was closing). A lot of media people were staying at Appart City Pau Idron.
Then the Wifi didn’t work! A quick shower then I was asked by her if I was going out to get something to eat. I wasn’t planning to as I had already eaten, but took her down to town as she looked pretty miserable. I suppose it must be very difficult being a vegan! Eventually I found somewhere to park and using the GPS on my phone, managed to find our way to restaurant after restaurant . Finally she decided one would suit and sat down. Loads of people were about. She was very unhappy with the sheer amount of people smoking and kept getting up to go for a walk.

Anyway. Finally we got back to the hotel. Where I get informed she hadn’t sorted any way to get back to Heathrow for her flight home. As she had already said she wasn’t staying in Paris with me, I had left her to it! I think by then I had had enough of trying to help her. Cue much banging around in the hotel room as i attempted to sleep.

Tues am: I go to reception to see if anyone could help us out using the WiFi on Melissas laptop. One of the receptionists, Christina Chorley, was British and agreed to immediately help her. I wandered down to Lidl to buy a bit of food (didn’t have enough money for breakfast in every hotel), and on the way back saw Vacansoleil out on a training ride.
Tues pm (ish): Back at the hotel Melissa eventually gave up and decided she wanted to move on back into town to try and find Wifi there. When we got there she went off on her own, and I decided to take a wander up to the hotel we were staying in that night. Ah we had one double bed. Crap. Oh well, I decided to wander up to the Sky/BMC/Garmin hotel, as we had driven past it earlier. I met some lovely American’s who were lost, and showed them the way to the team hotel.
Met @monadott and her friends, and #bernieontour. They were lovely people, and let me hang around with them until late in the afternoon when they went back to their hotel.
I spoke with loads of people about getting up the Tourmalet on the day, and was told it just wasn’t possible with a car. By this time i was feeling pretty ill, and was getting very stressed. I had no contact with melissa either (her phone is American and doesn’t work on European bandwidth or something). All I knew was she’d gone to find RSNT hotel. I took her luggage up from the car to the hotel, and finally went back for my own. Then I went to Quick to use their WiFi again. Then to the hotel for a shower and eventually fell asleep by 10ish.
Was woken up at 12 when she arrived. Tried to go to sleep, but she then asked me what the plan was the next day. I told her I’d been ill, and had been trying to work out if it was possible to get up the Tourmalet and said no.
A couple of hours later she starts banging around the room, having a shower, drying her hair right next to me etc. by now I felt awful, stomach cramps the whole lot. Then she picked my car keys up. Asked her what she was doing. She said seeing if she’d left anything in the car. No way do I ever let anyone take my keys. Especially at that time of the morning – after all I don’t really know her. She told me she was making her own way up the Tourmalet. Fine. Went out with her, waited until she had want she needed. And she went.

Weds am: talked though what I should doo wiith the young French lad on reception duties. He suggested buying a Pay As You Go phone. But to go and watch the stage start first. I wandered up there, and it was blisteringly hot! Watched the caravan go out. By then I felt horrendous, so went back to town centre and found a Carphone Warehouse. Got a cheap PAYG mobile and got the girl in the shop to set it up for me!
By 10.30 (ish) i’d had enough. I was frightened of driving on my own, and about tolls and money etc. Spoke to the lovely people in the tourism office, and phoned the parents. Then started on a long drive towards Chartres.

Weds pm: after the first hour or so on the road, I felt a lot more comfortable. Still had to stop every other service station though… Eventually made it to Chartres, and stopped at the Comfort hotel, where luckily I had just enough money to pay for a room and breakfast. Weirdly enough I ended up having a McDonalds for “supper.”
Thank god i had a PAYG phone, and my mum bless her heart managed to book me a room in Hotel de la Chappelle (near Chevreuse) for the next 2 nights. Also had WiFi that worked.

Thurs: managed to eventually drive into Chartres and posted a postcard (for dear old Lady Hornby). Then drove onto the next hotel. I was pretty ill, it wasn’t pleasant and it isn’t worth going into details!!
The hotel manager gave me expert directions for driving into Paris on Saturday morning!

Sat: felt a lot better! Drove into Paris (how easy!) and parked at Porte de Auteuil at the big Carrefor supermarket. Couldn’t wait to meet up with Verity who arrived at the Gare Du Nord at midday. Walked to the hotel, got directions for parking that was a LOT closer. Walked to the Eiffel Tower.

LOL!! Took a pic or two!!

Finally Verity got a taxi to the Eiffel Tower. I have never been so relieved to see my best friend in my whole life. Finally i had someone to have a laugh with and hopefully enjoy the last couple of days in Paris!!

and we took another pic or two.
Then we walked back to the car, moved it to nearer the hotel. Our room wasn’t ready, so left our luggage there and walked up towards the Champs Elysees. Failed to find the Team Sky Fan Party, and we walked up and down for ages. Finally a text came though on my phone. Tim Baines and David Dunphy you are a legends!! I eventually rang Tim back and we got a taxi to the Frog XVI

We watched the last 7 or 8 (i think) and had a refreshing Bulmers!! then everyone started disappearing and we got a taxi back to the hotel. we decided to get to the Arc for half 6ish in the morning, as I was aware that there would be a lot of people!

Sunday: We got up to the Arc for 6.40am

And found the Team Sky Fan Zone pretty easily! It was quiet for a long time, and it was pretty chilly! (I wore my PJ bottoms over my shorts on the way up!).

Then we met Chris, the one with ‘the’ hat, who lent me his Sky Procycling softshell jacket…

but eventually people started to arrive. We had bought camping chairs, and it was a relief to sit down for a while! Met some lovely people (please friend me on Facebook or Twitter as I am useless and can’t remember your names!!)

And it got hotter and hotter!!! And more and more packed!!

The caravan don’t throw anything out on the Champs Elysees. But one PMU girl dropped a sprint hand…

which a very kind policeman picked up for me!! We had plenty of fun waiting… (thanks Fran Millar for the temp tattoos:

(did you know sunscreen spray seals them? even after 3 showers mine are still on my arms!!)

And then finally… (this isn’t the first pic, but it has both Cav and Wiggo in it)

It was mental! I have cracking pictures on facebook in an open photo album. feel free to tag away!

The songs were sung, the British were showing their best side, and it was quite frankly amazing. Now I have been to Cheltenham Festival, and that is merely ‘enjoyable’ compared to this. The atmosphere was incredible!! I just wish i had recorded everyone singing for Wiggo. The Team Sky Sportbrake Jag’s got massive cheers everytime they went past.

And eventually they rode toward the finish on the last circut… everyone was holding their breath and gathered around various peoples phones or listening to David Dunphy… then when Cav crossed the line first the place went beserk!!!

After a while, the teams began arriving to have their pic’s taken in front of the Arc. Champagne was being popped everywhere behind us (and it tasted beautiful!). Then Liquigas appeared, and people started chanting/ singing for Sagan, for Basso and for Nibali. It was amazing, even more so when Peter Sagan ‘ran’ straight at me….

and signed the PMU sprint hand I had got from earlier! Then Sky appeared… well you can guess how massively they were cheered!

and then Wiggo ran at me as well….

and everyone surger forward to congratulate him. I got a fair few bruises from it! And then Cav appeared (I don’t have a photo 😦 unfortunately) and he signed my sprint hand as well!

and as they rode away, people started drifting off…

We started wandering back to the hotel, only for Verity to realise she had lost her sunglasses, we went back but no such luck, they were gone. Then spotting a souvenir shop (or several) she bought another pair! Finally we walked the hour or so back to the hotel, first of all seeing this:

and then this…

you wouldn’t think it was gone 10 at night!

We were both very footsore and tired, and slept very well! Not sure what time we left Paris, but got to the Eurotunnel 6 hours before we were meant to go! And they let us get on the next train for an extra £1. Brilliant! We lined up and found ourselves behind the Spanish cycling team car, so we asked for a picture…

so thanks guys! and mr saxo bank tinkoff bank person who took the photo!

I had a brilliant weekend with some amazing people. It made up for the start of the week!

But most of all thanks to all you guys and girls on Twitter for the sheer amount of emotional support you gave me! You have no idea how much it means, and you helped me get through day by day.
Thanks also to my brother and especially my parents, the trip wouldn’t have been possible without your help!
Thanks to Tim Baines for texting me the pub info, and to David Dunphy for organising the whole Team Sky Fan shindig. It was amazing…

Now I am tired, and it’s backk to work tomorrow, but expect a blog from the Womens Road Race at the Olympics on Sunday as (thanks to Rhys White) I have a ticket for the Mall!!!

I have managed to keep smiling, even through the tears last week, thanks guys and girls…