Friday, 10 August 2012

May the road rise with you...

So we're into the final week left for training: of course the obvious thing to do is to cycle down to Manchester to see John Lydon's first love (outside of himself, obviously), namely his band PiL, play at the ironically named 'Ritz'.

It's a beautiful sight...the light reflecting off those balding pates. I'm keeping very quiet...

Aside from seeing a tight and committed band play, there was an exercise benefit in the 90-mile round trip. Although not as big a pay-off as I might previously have thought: my interest in other folks' training methods was piqued after reading a post in the Haute Route online forum and it seems that instead of riding longish and steady rides I should have spent more time attempting 'intervals'.

This is where you basically alternate short sessions of caning it with periods of slow recovery, the theory being that it brings the greatest benefit in the shortest time-frame. Well, that's my training plan for the remaining few days sorted at any rate. If all this sounds a little too much like me getting my excuses in before we start, well done you for rumbling me!

At last I've found something slower uphill than me. Hail, Centurion!

Speaking of which, I thought that I should outline my targets for these 11 days. Well, we'll worry about the first 6 days to begin with, in ascending order of difficulty/unlikelihood:

1) To finish each day

2) To finish each day inside the cut-off time limit

3) To finish in 599th place or better

4) To either pull a wheelie and/or do Usain-style press-ups immediately after crossing the finish line...any finish line!

And of course it goes without saying that I'd better enjoy it all regardless, drink in the scenery'n'beer and generally have a laugh. Now that I can do...

How about this for an opening day shoeing...a maximum gradient of 13%? Wish I had done some intervals...

"Going up the Romme was a massive surprise I can't believe they have put that in as the very first climb on the HR, the approach is on a flat road but the only way to describe what you're looking at is a wall of tarmac approaching and it really does kick at 13% immediately. Crazy climb- the most relief you get is around 6% just over half way up then as per usual out here it just goes and kicks again and again before the top."
Oh dear...that was from some bloke who has just ridden the first climb we do next Sunday, the Col de Romme.

Courtesy of Steve 'schmatter' Moran, here is a clever link which leads you up that 'orrible first climb, the  Col de Romme. Don't think that I'll be getting up quite as quick though.

Although I hate banging on about it, here are the stats again:

- We climb 120,000 feet over the 11 days. That is more than the 2012 Tour de France will climb in 21 days!

-  In 11 days we cycle over 330 uphill miles at an average 8% gradient: that's the same distance as London to Glasgow!

- To put some perspective on all this, Mount Everest stands at 29000 feet. On day 3 we climb 15000 feet. Eh, hang on...

For every £500 raised I will donate £100. Thank you!

The sponsorship is coming along and I really am hand-wringingly grateful for every single donation: we're at £1700 for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research and £800 for the North West Air Ambulance. I know that there is still more to come...