2 Weeks to Go!

Well its almost upon me. The final preparations are under way as I get ready for the “Grand Depart” on 6th July.

Training over the last few weeks has been a little stop start with less than ideal preparations. Training was interrupted for 5 days by a most magical trip to Switzerland with Worcester Rugby’s under 11’s. We took 23 boys – accompanied by 23 “big boys” on rugby tour to visit Zug RFC where we stopped in Unterageri, about an hour from Zurich Airport. The weather was fantastic, our hosts were brilliant and the experience for the boys was one that they will never forget. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Seb had an absolute ball which you cant put a price on. That weekend away with Seb will always be special. 4 years ago I had a similar experience with Louis at the same place. Just priceless fun and memories.

Riding last week was tough. The effect of the weekends alcohol was apparent. Every turn of the pedals was tough, around every corner was a headwind – it was just brutal. Thankfully, it wasn’t just me. My cycling pal John also suffered. 2 coffees and fish and chips at the Queen Elizabeth was a welcome interlude and the fuel required to finish the ride. Two rides since have been a lot better – it must have been the excesses of the previous weekend catching up on me.

I’ve been replanning my routes. I just haven’t been out enough and as a consequence don’t want to over do it too early on. The accommodation is now booked down to San Sebastian and I’ve been boosted by the news that I’m going to have company on the trip to Portsmouth – Nick is going to join which is great and two others – possibly including “my pal” may also join. It would be great if he could do some of the ride but the Chemo is just terrible stuff and wipes him out for a week. Thankfully, he’s had the last bout and he can look to the future now with confidence. The was he’s dealt with it has been inspirational.

I’ve been working on raising awareness of my ride and have been interviewed by BBC Radio locally and featured in the local press (I just wished I was more photogenic!!) Worcester News

Hopefully they will be covering my exploits “en route”. The boys have been helping delivering fliers (thanks for those Dean) to local people and businesses so hopefully sponsorship momentum will pick up.

Sponsorship has been boosted by the generosity of 3 companies; Partnership Assurance, Prudential and Rock Power Connections. Thank you to you all – much appreciated. Together they have pledged £1,650 – so well done guys!

Personal donations have been a little slower to come in – I guess that human nature – but its just one extra thing that I have to worry about. So if you are thinking of doing something – don’t wait – click on the following link and donate today.

CLICK HERE TO DONATE

It could be the extra £1 that you give that makes all the difference – and when times are tough, when it gets hot, my legs are aching or my arse is sore – your donation could be the one that keeps me going.

It would be great if I could get over £5k before I set off. Every little counts as they say!!

Many thanks

JON

Advertisements

Blazing Saddles

This ride is a voyage of discovery. I’ve written separately about this reminding me of setting up and running a business and the last week or so has reinforced that view.

The last week or so has been great from a training perspective and I’ve done 5 great rides. through the wonderful Worcestershire countryside. On Thursday 21st I went over the Malvern’s heading for Ledbury and a café/deli that I found last year (http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g186303-d1820853-Reviews-Cameron_Swan-Ledbury_Herefordshire_England.html). Well worth a visit – excellent tuna sandwich! We really are blessed with the choice of villages that I can ride through and the Colwall side of the Malvern’s never fails to disappoint (although the road down the hills is full of pot holes which you can do without when you are travelling a speeds of 30 mph plus).

In business, you really never stop learning and you can become complacent if you are not careful. You can take a short cut and it can work well and you quickly establish a new normality. You forget why things were done in a certain way. I had a harsh reminder on the 21st. After Ledbury I headed for one of my favourite cycling roads; a quiet lane that runs from Eastnor Castle towards Birtsmorton. Its a road called Clenchers Mill Lane and I was about to discover a modern theory as to why and how it came to be called that.

I’d had my lunch and was peddling happily along through the countryside. there were no cars at all. It was still and about 19 degrees (thankfully) and it was the first time that I’d been down the lane this year. Partway down there is a ford (a stream that runs over the road) which I’ve been through before on quite a few occasions. This time, something told me to slow down. I proceeded with some caution – say 8 to 10 mph. I cycled through the ford as I had done previously – everything then seemed to go into slow motion. As I got the the middle of the (stream/river/raging torrent) that was about 3 inches deep, I hit green slime that was like sheet ice. I felt the front wheel go first. Everything seemed to stop for a split second before I felt the rear wheel go. I clenched every muscle in my rear quarters to grip the saddle, but before I knew it I was sitting in the middle of the ford – bike by my side looking a complete idiot. Once I’d realised that I was in fact sitting in a stream completely wet through I jumped up, slipped again and walked out. I cycled the next 5 or so miles feeling like a toddler with a wet nappy. That’s one short cut that I’ll not be taking again!! Thankfully I was dry by the time I got back.

One big area of learning for me has been my saddle which continues to cause me issues. I must have been lucky in the past – somehow they seem to have just fitted fine or were comfy enough (to put up with). After all, a saddle is a saddle – right? Wrong!

A friend PH very kindly let me borrow 2 to try. For the last 2 weeks I’ve used what can only be described as something that would look more at home in the torture room of a medieval castle. If you are sitting at your home or office have a look at the skirting boards running round your room – focus on the bit that gathers the dust. Now imagine sitting on those two pieces for 3 to 4 hours! Utter pain – literally a right pain in the arse! Over the weekend I’ve tried one called an “Adamo”. This thing was really well thought through -gel pads in the right places, gaps in the saddle where you don’t want vibration. It had all the theory – but God it was uncomfortable!

The saddle search continues because in just 5 weeks today the ride starts. I feel in reasonable shape but I’m going to re do my routes so I target between 75 and 80 miles per day. The routes in France have been done before so I’m less concerned about those – but I’m nervous about the Spanish and Portuguese days.

Fund raising is lack lustre with just £1300 raised. Thanks to all of you who have donated so far and a special thank you to Prudential for their support. This week sees press releases going to the local press in Worcester so let’s hope that drums up some further support. I really want to raise that £10,000!!

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/4countrychallenge

JON