Thursday, 7 June 2012

Well you got to start somewhere, haven't you?

Hello, good evening and welcome to 2012's attempt at setting back the art of blogging by 10 years and hopefully raising some money for two supremely worthwhile charities into the bargain!

It is a diet...just not a good one.

Champion training regime...
The plan is a simple one: to cycle the eleven worst days of the Tour de France.
I didn't say it was easy, just simple.
On Sunday 19th August, myself and 498 of my closest friends (and Andy Wickham, whose bright idea this was) will ride in the 2012 Haute Route start cycling from Geneva  and hopefully all end-up in beautiful downtown Nice on the following Saturday having a deserved beer or two, having covered 500 miles and climbed 70000'! Of course, that is only the first half done...

The first six days mapped out for the washed-up!

After a celebration of sorts in Nice, Andy and myself will drive 500 miles to somewhere near to The Atlantic Ocean in the Western Pyrenees and then spend the following five days tackling the famous Pyrenean climbs of the Tour de France, eventually finishing not too far from The Mediterranean Sea. This stage will involve more modest mileages and climbing: about 400 miles and 50000'...only. So that's alright then.

To be fair to A.W. (seen below pitching the idea to me last September), it sort of made sense, probably due to all that Becks but also because after last year's jaunt across the U.S.A. there was nowhere reasonably to go but...up. So this challenge does have a weird logic to it, although I doubt I'll be quite so sanguine about the venture come August 19th...

With my cycling partner-in-crime, Andy Wickham.
"Why that's another fine mess you got me into..."

Now to the serious stuff: the fundraising will follow the tested idea of supporting one national and one regional charity. The regional good cause is one that we supported three years ago but they are always desperate for any help- it is the North West Air Ambulance and the link to follow to sponsor me and donate to them is HERE!
For every £500 raised, I will cough-up £100: go on and cause me some financial heartache!

These guys are life-savers for real. And need donations to keep doing it.

The national charity is the Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research organisation and their purpose is to beat blood cancers. I cannot imagine two more chilling words than those, to be honest. Their mission sounds simple- I wish it was! Their life-saving research is focused on finding causes, improving diagnosis and treatments, and running ground-breaking clinical trials for all blood cancer patients.

If this moves you, then the link to sponsor me and donate to L.L.R. is THIS ONE!

Once again, for every £500 raised, I will cough-up £100: go on and cause me some financial heartache!

The challenge for me is way, way worse than the 33 days behind bars of a year ago. Anyone who has followed the Tour de France or suffered a coach transfer to a ski resort will know just how bloody long and unrelenting these climbs are. Names like Alpe d'Huez, D'Aubisque, Tormalet, Hautacam, Luz-Ardiden are enough to raise a sweat without even leaving your seat!

With ex-England, Crystal Palace midfielder, Leukaemia survivor and tireless worker for L.L.R., Mr. Geoff Thomas

If you want some numbers, here you go...

 - We climb 120,000 feet over the 11 days. That is more than the pussies in 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, and a mile is 5280 feet.
That's not the worst of it either: the Alpine 'jaunt' runs from Geneva and ends in Nice six days later and is timed with a cut-off point for those beer'n'pie-loving tourists amongst us. Em, is it me or is it warm in here?

Actually, it does get worse again: there will be an online facility for you good people to track and scoff at my (lack of) progress during those six awful days. Joking aside, my goal is just to complete the Haute Route: if I manage to finish 499th out of 500 then that is a bonus, if not an unlikely miracle!

After collapsing in Nice and being revived by an ice cold 1664 or similar, we then drive over 500 miles on the 'rest' day to begin the second bit of this beasting in the Western Pyrenees near The Atlantic, only to end almost at The Mediterranean five days later. Once again, 1664 or similar may well feature...

Basically what we are doing are shortened legs of the worst stages of Le Tour for eleven days. This is no picnic by anyone's standards so please, please see if you are able to make it all worthwhile with a donation: you can do it in person, by post, online or by text. 

Text, did I hear you say? Why yes indeed Sir...
Your text would look something like this:

- For the Air Ambulance text TOTM99 £5 (or any amount that you can spare) and you send it to 70070.
- For L.L.R. text RDMH99 £5 to 70070.

The amount that you kindly donate then is either added to your phone bill or taken off your PAYG balance accordingly. There is no charge for the text and you don't pay VAT on your donation either, and the charity get 100% of your money so it really is win-win.

 ps...don't forget to go for the GiftAid option too!

Once again, for every £500 raised, I will cough-up £100: go on and cause me some financial heartache!
I hope that is all crystal, then. All that remains for me to do in the next 50 days is lose 2 stone, get cycling fit and pester all you good people for your hard-earned...cheers!

I asked the bloke in Halfords for his lightest bike. Smart ass...

                                                  Marvin & Tammi take it/me away!