Roxanne and I hit Beauvais…

I’m pleased to say that Roxanne and I have rocked up in Beauvais – day three of the London to Paris bike ride completed.

Who’s Roxanne you may ask.

Roxanne is my trusty steed for this event – my little bubble bee of a bike – all yellow and black. Why Roxanne? Well, therein lies a story. Today has been hard. Although shorter in length than the two previous days, I think that I under estimated the impact on my energy levels, and this combined with the heat ( 32 degrees at 11:00) and cross winds, the journey was tough.

We left Abbeville at around 8:30 and immediately entered some lovely countryside, picturesque villages and amazing views. After a few decent (hard) climbs, one of which, I had a small altercation with a fellow rider,(sorry!) we settled into mile after mile of rolling countryside, which if I’m honest got a little boring. I now understand why the farmers are so powerful in France – they must represent the majority of the population!

After a quick water stop, we drove ( I mean rode) on and saw more fields. Lunch was in a very nice hamlet on the green and again the Skyline team put on a feast, topped off by lemon cake – yum yum.

The afternoon got harder still for me and with about 5 miles to go, I hit a block – I was shattered and I was sat on a long road with a strong cross wind which meant that there was no respite. Getting into Beauvais was a relief but then I had to find the hotel. I tried my French, the locals understood me perfectly and then directed me into Centre Ville – I wasn’t too sure and checked google maps. The hotel was in the opposite direction – bloody French!!

Eventually, I arrived and got the key to the room, which although small – best not turn over too quickly or my room mate will feel my breathing on his neck – Roberts a lovely guy but I only met him two days ago so I’ve never been one for kisses on the first date!! – a least it’s got air con.

Anyway, why Roxanne?

Well to pass the time along the never ending fields, I started to think about what I should call the bike – god knows why, but honestly, there was nothing else to do. Anyway, the old Police song came into my head – you know, Roxanne, you don’t have to put on the red light…

Obviously Sting was talking about the local whore (well I hope he was, otherwise the name doesn’t work), and I suddenly had a spark of inspiration. Just like a whore’s knickers, my bike is great and very fast, going down but ever so slow going up! Probably wasn’t worth the wait, but the important stuff is coming.

Tomorrow, I, along with 115 other cyclists will complete our goal to not only cycle from London to Paris but to raise a shed load of money for charity. I suspect close onto a quarter of a million will have been raised.

I’m hoping to contribute £2k to this, so please do help by going to http://www.doitforcharity.com/tonylockwood and make a small donation. The North West Air Ambulance charity relies on donation/ fundraising completely in order to provide what is an essential life saving service, so please dig deep.

See you in Gay Paris – better keep quiet about that or Robert may get a little unsettled.

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Well that was tough….

Well, today was the day. Day 1 of the London to Paris cycle challenge.

It started early, 4:45 alarm, snoozed at least twice before getting up, quick shower and out fully kitted up for the short, uphill ride to Crystal Palace, the official start. And what a sight awaited us, 115 other riders in glorious techno colour – all supporting different charities. By all accounts, the combined total of funds raised as at this morning was £177,000. An amazing effort.

After offloading the rucksack – that was heaven – we all received a briefing from the Skyline team about what to expect. And then we were off.

I was going to say that the day flew by and to some extents it did – some great riding in the morning, a few wrong turns and great camaraderie on show. A quick stop at 26 miles and then lunch at 58 miles – perfectly timed as I was starting to flag.

After lunch, I latched on to 7/8 other guys who knew what they were doing and basically copied them. The first 20 or so miles flew by, we were averaging 20mph +, and then the organisers thought that it would be funny to throw in some serious hills – the first of which went on and on and on and nearly killed me! Thankfully the team held back and provided the encouragement that I needed to get me through to the end.

So, we arrived in Dover in good time, in great spirits, the ferry crossing went well and after another 40 minutes in the saddle, we arrived at the hotel. Quick shower and into bed – no drinking for this boy tonight, absolutely shattered but feel great to know that I’ve completed day 1 – 100 miles.

More tomorrow….

I’m getting into the cycling malarkey!

I have to be honest and tell you that when I signed up for the London to Paris cycling challenge, a part of me wondered whether I’d (1) complete the challenge and (2) if I did, would I ever get on a bike again.

After just four weeks, I now know the answer to both of these questions. Without a shadow of doubt, the answer is Yes and Yes. Yes, I will definitely complete the challenge and ride into Paris on the 17th August 2013 and have a photograph taken along with the rest of the group under the Eiffel Tower and Yes, I will definitely continue to cycle.

It is great fun, provides me with time to think and is doing amazing things with my fitness and body tone. I’ve been building up my miles and keeping a detailed record of progress on an App – Strava. There are a number of similar apps out there but this one is ideal and best of all Free. It keeps a detailed record of the journeys that I take, highlights times for specific sections, it even tells me how I compare with other Stava users. A very useful addition to my training plan.

I’ve taken a week off to take in the sun with the family and I’ve missed the bike rides. I’m itching to get back in the saddle and build up the miles again! The next few weeks will be telling though as I’ve really got to start to build up the distances on consecutive days – ideally, a few days of over 25 miles each day within the next couple of weeks would be great, especially if on one of those days, I can stretch to 50+ miles.

I’ve still got over 10 weeks to go, before I need to be at Crystal Palace for 06:30 for the start of what I’m sure will be an amazing four days.

I must have got into this cycling malarkey though – I’ve started to look for the next challenge!

The London to Paris trip is in aid of my 2013 Charity of the Year, North West Air Ambulance. I’m hoping to raise a minimum of £2000 for them from this event and all donations are greatly appreciated. Go to http://www.doitforcharity.com/tonylockwood if you’d like to contribute.