The road to Abbeville…

The road to Abbeville – wasn’t that a song?

Maybe not, but that’s the road we took this morning. After collapsing in a heap into bed last night, I was convinced that I would be asleep before the head hit the pillow. However, for some reason, that wasn’t the case and I didn’t have the good night sleep that I really needed.

The alarm at 6 wasn’t music to the ears! However, onwards and upwards so after a quick breakfast, we loaded up the van, donned our kit and set off for a mere 73 miler today.

The route took us through some beautiful scenery and we had the opportunity to chill and enjoy the ride more than yesterday. Fortunately, I’ve tagged onto a group of guys who know what they’re doing and they’re great at giving me the support that I need to get me up the hills. And today there was a fair few of them as we meandered through northern France from Calais to Abbeville.

A pretty quick 26 miles took us to the first drink point, followed by another 23 miles to lunch, which had been set up on the banks of a large fishing pond, or as the local tourist information centre would have you believe, a small lake! Lunch was lovely – it’s amazing what you can do when you set your mind to it.

The afternoon flew by, taking in some cracking views and finishing with a great downhill run into Abbeville. Got to the hotel around 3:20, showered and went down to chill with the lads, cheering as each group of the enlarged team arrived back.

Shattered now, ready for bed but looking forward to a 61 miler tomorrow to Beauvais.

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Well, it’s here at last….

Well, I’m packed, and on the way, curtesy of Virgin, to London so that we can start the London to Paris challenge first thing tomorrow morning.

It’s been an eventful start to the journey…

On the way to the station, I felt the tyre go but every time I checked, it didn’t seem completely flat. Thought I’d get to the station and then check the inner tube. Issue #1 – I realised when t was too ate to turn back that I’d forgotten to ack the spare inner tubes. Issue #2 – when I got to the station and checked the tyre looks buggered – I must have been riding with a flat – not clever.

So, I’m now in First Class travelling down hoping that CycleClinic will remain open to sort me out with a new tyre and a few spare inner tubes. Please, pretty please stay open or the challenge could be over before its began!

Once I get this ‘little’ issue resolved, I’ve just got to get across London to Crystal Palace, meet up with the other ‘ nutters’ who have decided to do the challenge also and chill until tomorrow.

I’m really looking forward to cycling in a group – it should be great fun.

Hopefully it will all be worth it and I will reach my target of £2000 raised for North West Air Ambulance. See how I’m doing here – http://www.doitforcharity.com/tonylockwood

Two weeks to go…

London to Paris - 14 days to go

So, in two weeks, I’ll be in a Travelodge in Crystal Palace, London, meeting up with my fellow cyclists, all I’m sure looking forward (with trepidation) to our early morning start to what will be an amazing experience – riding in a group of around 100 from London to Paris.

I have to say, I’ve come a long way since signing up to the event 16 weeks ago. I admit that I signed up to force myself to get fit, to give myself a goal and a purpose to getting out of bed at ‘ridiculous o’clock’ to get in the training, to ensure that I would do the activity irrespective of the weather.

I wasn’t sure whether I’d enjoy it or despise it. I remember saying to a colleague that although I would get to Paris, I might not ever want to get on a bike again!

Well, I can confirm that I have enjoyed the experience so far and feel a whole lot better for having done the training so far. I learned a lot about myself also – about the need to get away from it all and make time for quiet contemplation, about the need to push myself to better my previous times, about the need to push through barriers – tiredness, aches and pains – and the need to just enjoy the moment.

I will certainly be carrying on after the event and I’ve already started to look at more events for next year!

The next two weeks will be punishing – I need to up my daily mileage over the next week before laying off a little on the last few days leading up to the 14th. I also need to ensure that I’ve got all of my kit ready – still need a few things – weekend shopping trip coming up methinks!

I’ve finally managed to confirm the logistics of getting bike, kit and me down to London and back – good old Virgin trains will be carrying me First Class from Preston to London as well as the return. Only thing to sort out now is the best way of traversing London from Euston to Crystal Palace. So, a quick tip – if you are in London on the 13th – late afternoon and you see an ‘old bloke’ on a yellow bike with a kit bag on his back looking lost – stop and help me please!

Sponsoring is going well – I managed to get some ‘corporate’ sponsorship from xynergie and Intuitive Interim & Executive Search as well as MyGoalBook – just waiting for my kit to arrive now – take a look at this little number… Thanks to the guys at Clifton

MyGoalBook cycling Kit
The new MyGoalBook Cycling Kit

Always opportunities for more sponsorship, If you’re interested, go to www.doitforcharity.com/tonylockwood – everything raised is going to North West Air Ambulance.

NWAA

I’ll be blogging regularly for the next two weeks and during the event itself – I’ll also be posting pictures on my Facebook page as well as the event Facebook page.