Thanks for taking the time to visit Nic & Simon's JustGiving page. We are team "Les Domestiques" (explanation below) riding for SCOPE in a challenging cycling event in July.
SCOPE is a charity that supports people with Cerebral Palsy. This is a condition where children are born with severe disabilities, and who never even begin to enjoy the advantages in life that we have. There is a patient at Nic's surgery (Will) who has Cerebral Palsy and will never walk or live independently. Until we started getting involved with this event we're supporting, we didn't realise how this condition touches the lives of so many people. William, his family and many others with cerebral palsy really need our help.
Now, whats not to love about France: the wine, the beautiful, rolling, vastness of it all, and the "mad about cycling" culture. So what better way for two cycling friends to spend their time off work than to ride bikes across it? In fact, as we're always short of time, why not ride bikes across it fast to save time, in 24 hours?!
Thanks to SCOPE's London to Paris24 challenge in July, a ride of just 300 miles through hilly southern England followed by windy northern France, with a short ferry ride in the middle, the decision was made for us!
The route is structured so each cyclist will pedal an equal distance, spread across 11 stages of cycling completed in under 24 hours. The route will be signed and supported by marshals, vehicles, and motorcycle outriders. There are 3 common stages where both team members cycle together, and a further 8 stages cycling in rotation as follows:-23rd July 2010; 0800 Stage 1 Depart London Blackheath - 20 miles / 2 hours - Cyclist A + B 1000 Stage 2 35 miles / 2 hours - Cyclist A 1200 Stage 3 35 miles / 2 hours - Cyclist B 1400 Ferry Process 3 miles - Cyclist A + B 1515 Depart Dover 1745 Arrive Calais 1800 Stage 4 20 miles / 1.5 hours - Cyclist A + B 1930 Stage 5 35 miles / 2 hours - Cyclist A 2130 Stage 6 35 miles / 2 hours - Cyclist B 2330 Meal Stop 0100 Stage 7 30 miles / 2 hours - NIGHT - Cyclist A 0300 Stage 8 30 miles / 2 hours - NIGHT - Cyclist B 0500 Stage 9 25 miles / 1.5 hour - Cyclist A 0630 Stage 10 25 miles / 1.5 hour - Cyclist B 0800 Paris entry 10 miles / 1 hour - Cyclist A + B 0900 Finish Eiffel Tower (UK Time BST 0800) 24th July 2010
Our aim is to do the whole thing as team "Les Domestiques" in just 24 hours riding together during the 1st & final stages, & alternately 2 hrs at a time in between.
For those of you with expert knowledge of French-English translation, you'll know that "Domestique" = "Maid". Well, what can we say... we are, of course, cyclists and they are famous for cross-dresssing (shaved legs, lycra etc etc). But actually, Domestiques is the name given to the staff who make it all happen for the glamourous pro -Tour riders, sorting everything from the bikes to the soup. That's us...we know our place...we're more at the soup end of things, than the pro-bikes!
Have a look at the photos...aside from the sad individuals in them, we think they are really rather good. Our thanks to Darren Cresswell of Darren Cresswell Photography www.darrencresswellphotography.co.uk/ who generously gave up his time to do all this for a good cause - cheers Darren! (the photos are his btw, so please credit him if you wish to use them - thanks).
We are getting a little more, er, apprehensive about it all as the date draws closer and we now need to put some real structure into our prep. So, we've decided we need to set each other little targets, measure the other against them & tick them off, or leave them on the list until achieved. The targets will get more & more unreasonable as the weeks move on. The person who has the shortest list before the event gets to choose who rides the "3am" slot:-
Target3. 3rd week May
Nic - get the "Camelback" drink kit sorted & tested, lose 0.5kg & hurry up on those hills
Simon - get the indexing sorted on your rear mech, lose 0.5kg & hurry up on the long flats
Target 2. 2nd week May
Nic - sort your passport & get our good friend & riding colleague, Nigel to sign up as official team Coach for Les Domestiques - we need him! - Passport bit FAILED!, Nigel bit = ACHIEVED!
Simon - sort your passport & tweak your bike saddle adjustment - no excuses then for not keeping up with Nic - Passport bit - FAILED!, Saddle bit = ACHIEVED!
Target 1. 1st week May
Nic - Get your saddle height sorted properly and stop complaining about it (then you can't blame the bike when you're last up the hill) - ACHIEVED!!
Simon - stop fussing about your latest fashion accessories (tight lycra arm warmers), get on and do more than 2 hrs in the saddle in 1 go without stopping to complain about being too cold/too hot/too tired. - ACHIEVED (sort of, but still have some bike setup fine tuning to do)
Thanks for reading this and please give generously, children with Cerebral Palsy like William really need our support.
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Sunday - we did half an hour's warm up, then an early morning 20 mile lap in under 1hr together, then another hour with "Coach" following his return from a South American training camp. Getting ready for our longest ride yet shortly...120 miles between breakfast & tea time.....
Simon - we both had busy weeks but individually managed to cycle almost every day. Didn't cycle Saturday though (went to SCOPE HQ London - see Nic's note on it).
Now, one of Nic's (many!) great attributes is; give him the sniff of a challenge and, man, watch him go! So, having said in a throwaway comment to him "let's do 40 miles in 2 hrs on Sunday" he arrived at Simon's house raring to go. Easy eh? Well he had just blown the Gold Standard "40mph down the A514 hill from Smisby to Ticknall" target, immediately before we set off (so I was hoping he'd be tired). He then lead the charge all the way & in a gnat's whisker under 2 hrs later, with pain in our legs and big smiles on our faces, we'd clocked 40 miles. The route included a good climb to the top of Castle Donington hill, twice. That's the fastest we've averaged yet, so I'm thinking "there's a new challenge, ripe for setting v. soon". Watch this space........
Simon - left home at 7am, did 57miles, got home at 10am. It was windy! Thanks to the breakdown recovery van who nearly took me out on Castle Donington hill. We exchanged pleasantries at the traffic lights & to be fair, he did apologise - think it was something to do with my dark glasses stare.
Nic - Getting some more miles under the wheels. Has become slightly tricky this week juggling school projects, on call rotas and negotiating the school drop offs! Cannot persuade the kids to cycle to school - Ollie says he is only 4yrs old and 7 miles is too far and I don't blame him! Will need to do some evening cycling to keep the mileage up. Still weather this week is good - not to much rain or snow! Very impressed with Simon's Pistern Hill double - this is a horribly steep hill just behind Smisby.
Nic has just finished doing the 3 Peaks challenge (Ben Nevis, Scarfell Pike and Snowdon), legs sore and very stiff. It was a real fight to get on the bike this morning, even with the good weather. However I really need the miles. At least its not raining and the wind is at my back this morning - a rare combination - so not all bad.
On duty all day as well, so have medical kit in rucksack just incase, although for the patients, the sight of me visiting them in cycling clothes may make them feel worse. So sorry in advance!!
Same weekend - Simon cycled on his own for an unknown distance, but made it twice up Pistern Hill near Smisby in one morning. Not bad!