Update July 16th: Arrived in Juan les Pins safe and sound after a couple of long hills in the morning, and then a leisurely trip along the Riviera coast road from St. Tropez via St Raphael and Cannes. 1014 miles done, time for a well earned beer and dinner on the beach !
Update July 14th: Bastille Day and Tom's Birthday, God he's young! Great today, all on top form, 100 miles easily covered at 18 miles an hour and glorious Provencale countryside..although narrowly missed the bull run in Arles! Geoff Thomas arrived in time for dinner, should be fun tomorrow! Thank you new sponsors.
Update July 13th: A day of two halves, terrible weather and hills to start with and fantastic downhill ride at the end of the day in glorious sunshine- problem with sickness and shoe but all good in the end.
Update July 12th: Our seriously defined calf muscles made the hills today less scary than we thought, all arrived safely by 5pm and although we're in a bit of a one-horse town tonight, probably the best meal so far for 10 euros! White bits now look very weird against the gloriously tanned other bits - look like we're wearing white socks when we're barefoot! Bet Geoff Thomas won't keep up with us when he joins us on Thursday! Thank you new sponsors!
Update July 11th: First proper disaster, not bad considering we're nearly a week in. It was going to be a tough hilly day anyway, but unfortunately Louis rode in to the back of Archie which broke the de-railer mounting bracket (a first even for Darren!). Darren took off the de-railer, shortened the chain and made it a single speed bike, while Sami and Claire went in search of new part, anyone know the french for de-railer mounting bracket?- thought not! Archie named " Man of Steel" for cycling 35 miles up hills on a single speed bike until the chain finally broke. Added an extra 3 hours to the journey, 8pm finish bed by 9pm.
Update July 10th: bed by 8.30pm last night and it clearly did us good! 160km no problem at all for any of us apart from 3 shredded tyres...and a bit of a problem for Darren and I not stopping in Macon to stock up! Swim and sauna before dinner, the scary hill day looks within our sights now!
Update July 9th: Late night, champagne and red wine seemed to do us all good, completed the 80 miles today at an average of 18 miles an hour and Claire and Sami have done our washing. Happy Birthday Claire!
Update July 8th: How do the Tour de France cyclists do 40-60 miles per hour in Paris?! Great experience arriving at the Arc de Triomphe, only one slight detour en route, took a wrong turn and ended up on a motorway! Arc de Triomphe photos http://www.flickr.com/photos/63696997@N05/ . Lovely party at the Petit Palais thanks to sponsor Stephen Dunbar-Johnson of the International Herald Tribune, had a chat with sponsor Preben Prebenson from Close Brothers who kindly took us all to dinner at my old rugby haunt http://www.nosancetreslesgaulois.com/FR/.
Update July 7th: Really great day today,in spite of strong head wind we can really begin to the feel difference in our cycling now we're getting used to long distances and only two punctures. Darren and I reckon we've improved much more than the boys! Really looking forward to the Lance Armstrong feeling down the Champs-Elysees tomorrow and drinks reception courtesy of sponsor International herald Tribune.Thank you very much new sponsor on Just Giving today.
Update July 6th: Set off in sunshine but awful rain 30 minutes later, had to stop to put on our Specialized all-weather kit.Four punctures today across the team, ordered more inners to be brought to Paris! Great French scenery and unexpected bonus (?!) of lunch with 200 pensioners- took 2 hours to be served and was criticised by CEO for not passing collecting bucket round!-feel sorry for her fundraising team. Article in the Times today,
July 5th update: Great launch with Alastair Campbell and Boris Johnson in Trafalgar Square, got a few cycling tips from ex-England footballer Geoff Thomas who did the Tour de France 6 years ago and is cycling the Himalayas in September- maybe next year!! First stage complete, only a couple of punctures for the team and we were ahead of schedule so caught an earlier ferry, beer, pasta and steak- looking forward to day 2. See coverage on http://www.itv.com/london/boys-cycle-to-lisbon57000/ and http://pictures.metro.co.uk/latest-news/908544/London-to-Lisbon-charity-bike-ride.
Well everyone knows that since I got the training bug, I’ve been thinking of taking on a serious challenge and what better year than my 50th Birthday year to make it happen!
I’m going to be mentoring, and cycling with 4 Eton boys Louis Metcalfe,Archie Gilmour, Harry Pearson Gregory and Tom Prebensen who are cycling fromLondon to Lisbon in memory of Louis’ mum who tragically died from leukaemia.
I’m doing the London to Juan les Pins stage, which is about 1,000 miles. Alastair Campbell (Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research Fundraising Chairman) and Boris Johnson, will be seeing us off from Trafalgar Square on July 5th and we plan to celebrate in Juan les Pins on July 17th before the boys carry on to Lisbon.
Some of the hill climbing days look pretty tough, but the Chief Executive of LLR, Cathy Gilman is a good friend and godparent to my kids and when I see and hear some of the people that she deals with on a regular basis who face such tragedy in their lives because of these cancers, it won’t be hard to remember what real challenge looks like.
Blood cancers affect people of all ages, literally from new-born babies to teenagers, young adults to grandparents and their lives can only be saved through research.
This is a once in a lifetime for me, so I hope that you’ll take this once in a lifetime opportunity to encourage me by supporting this great charity. The boys have already raised over £108,000 with some impressive sponsorship from Close Brothers, Artemis and Cazenove to name but a few, but they’ve a tough target of £200,000 to meet-I want to help them as much as I can.
You can find out more about the ride at www.beatbloodcancers.org/londontolisbon and check out the beach party in Juan les Pins, to purchase tickets, you can call Claire Hoyle on +44 20 7269 9003 or e-mail email@example.com if you plan to be in the area on July 17th.
Thank you very much for your support, it really means a lot to me and to Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research and will help the team reach their £200k target.