It's Le Jour De France time again! Last year we rode 303 miles around northern France in one hit (well, there was a bit of a nap at one point but if you don't change your shorts it counts as one ride...). This year the distance is shorter but we have the added pressure of time. Which means we'll have to go a bit quicker.
The plan is to leave Petersfield, Hampshire (home of LJDF instigator and ringleader Stewart Pratt) on the evening of Friday 5 September. We'll then ride to Newhaven, a distance of 103km (64 miles). At Newhaven, we'll get on a ferry to Dieppe, upon which people will probably avoid us.
We'll arrive in France in the early hours of Saturday morning and will ride to Barentin, Normandy -- Petersfield's twin town -- 76km (48 miles) away. On the map this bit appears to be gently uphill for the first 40km, so that'll be fun.
From Barentin we'll head west to Le Havre, a ride of 77km (48 miles) including a couple of robust-looking climbs -- on-line maps appear to show gradients of up to 12%, I'm sure that's just a glitch though. At Le Havre it's onto another ferry, this time to Portsmouth.
The final leg from Portsmouth to Petersfield is short (32km/20 miles) but has the South Downs inconveniently in the way, so it's a long drag up from the coast. If all goes to plan we'll be back in Petersfield on Saturday evening, 24 hours after we left.
Obviously with two Channel ferries in the route, maintaining pace is vital -- if we miss one, we're scuppered. So while the total distance is a mere 288km (180 miles), I suspect that this year's effort will be at least as hard, in its own way.
I'm raising money for Mind again, because their work is every bit as important this year as it was last. Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity. So it’s the most efficient way to donate – saving time and cutting costs for the charity.