Friday, 30 October 2009

Etape application form is here.

I received my application form for the Etape yesterday. I need to get it signed by my doctor. Does anyone know what sort of medical is required and is a certificate issued or does the doctor just sign it? It also says that the quicker it is returned to them the quicker they submit it and the lower race number you will get. Surely a good thing.

Weigh day today. I must admit I was not to hopeful prior to getting onto the scales. Been off work this week and have been out with the kids during half term and been doing things like sitting in the cinema scoffing sweets and visiting Pizza Hut, not to mention a couple of visits to my local.

Friday 30/10 - 99.8Kgs(15.1 St, 220 Ilbs)

So I was pleasantly surprised. Dipped to under 100Kg for the first time. Only managed 2 rides this week, the one on Monday and we did the identical 25 mile ride again yesterday. I must say I feel the training is paying off as yesterday it seemed a lot easier and I have a little chuckle to myself when I think only a couple of months back I would do 10 miles and fall off my bike.

I have decided that my target for the Etape will be 90Kg. I reckon if I continue eating sensibly and doing a couple of rides a week that this will be achievable. I just hope that when the cigarettes go I do not go the other way.

I have started taking "Champix". My quit day is going to be next Tuesday. Work have got me in for a medical with BUPA next Wednesday. So I'm back to work on Monday although they will not let me drive a train till after the medical. Wish me luck.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

This week's Cycling Weekly

Just a short note to let people know that this week's Cycling News has a 6 page feature on next years Etape. Quite a good if not short description of the route. I'm sure the video's of the route will appear on You Tube soon.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Keep taking the tablets

My road to being a non smoker starts today. My boss at work has given me the go ahead to start the course. They had to run it by BUPA first, the only stipulation is I have to have a medical before I drive a train again.

These tablets work by taking the nicotine cravings away. I shall actually still be smoking up until my quit day which is next Tuesday. One of the most common symptoms of Champix is a feeling of nausea, but luckily enough I did not suffer from this with my first tablet so hopefully that will be the case for the full 12 weeks which is how long the course lasts. If I can stop smoking and lose couple of stone I shall be flying up those mountains.

Dave and I went out for a ride this morning. We did 25 miles and the weather was beautiful. Dave wore a pair of full length bib shorts for the first time. Half way around he was complaining they were too hot. The only downside to the ride was a car that shot out from a side road straight in front of me as I was going pretty fast on a downhill section. I managed to slow in time and being right up behind the car, I peered into the back and what was there, a bike.

Off to do the family thing soon. We are taking the kids to the local firework display. We are not actually going to pay to get in but go up one of the hills overlooking the display and watch from there. I need to save my pennies for my winter gear.

Countdown to Etape 2010

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Garmin Connect - Friday's ride

Garmin Connect - Arlingham Passage

Scouting out some climbs

This is a picture of Nailsworth. A town about 5 miles from where I live. This actual picture shows the bottom of one of the steepest climbs in the area.Its called the "W" and if you view it on Google Earth you will understand why. The signpost by the cattle grid informs you that ahead you are faced with a gradient of 12%. Is that a maximum or an average I'm not sure. It also has "switchbacks" to make you feel you are actually climbing in the Pyrennes. This is where I shall be doing a lot of my climbing training. It's about 2-3 miles to the top and I will use this hill to check on my progress over the next nine months.

I have decided to weigh myself every Friday morning. At the moment I have been jumping on and off the scales everytime I visit the bathroom. So Friday it is. I will post the results on here good or bad.

Friday 23/10 - 100.5Kgs(15.11 St, 221.6 Ilbs)

Went out Friday with my mate Dave. Just a short run out, 21miles. Click on the Garmin link above. I have a Garmin edge 705 as used by the Garmin Slipstream team. It is brilliant. Recommend it to anyone. Bit pricey though. Feel free to click on the link, press player and then click the play button.

Hopefully going out tomorrow weather permitting. No, I'm not a wuss, it's just that I have not got my wet weather gear yet. Have a week off now so maybe I might get the chance to pop down to Bristol and see what Evans Cycles has to offer.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Fat boy to fit boy

Hi and welcome to my blog. my first ever blog. I hope you enjoy reading it on my journey over the next 9 months to complete the biggest challenge of my life.

I have entered the 2010 Etape du Tour. For those of you thinking, what the hell is that, it is a stage of next year's Tour de France. As usual the organizer's have picked probably the hardest stage of the race for us mere mortals to "have a go". It is in the Pyrenees and starts from Pau and winds it's way through the mountains and finishes on top of the Col du Tourmalet 174Kms later. To give you you an idea of the heights of these mountains, the first one at 1,035m is approximately 50m smaller than Mount Snowdon in Wales. the last one, Tourmalet at 2,115m is nearly twice Snowdon's height.

It is very well run. Roads are shut off, there are feed stations for you to replenish your supplies. They even have the dreaded "Broom Wagon". This is a coach that follows the race and if you drop too far behind and do not make certain time elimination points, will take you in comfort all the way to the finish.

I said race. Now I think I speak on behalf of the majority of Etaper's that it will only be a race to those few hundred at the front of the "peleton". To the rest of us it is about just finishing. It's about sheer guts, determination. the willing to get to the finish before being swept up by the Broom Wagon. To say yes, I was there and I DID IT.
What's my reason for doing this. Well I have always enjoyed watching the cycling on the TV. I went on a stag do to Lloret de Mar earlier this year and on the first morning I woke up and heard all this commotion and yelling coming from the street. On further investigation ie making myself presentable and opening the curtains, I was greeted with the sight of a time trial going right past the hotel. I quickly got dressed and camera in hand went out to view this spectacle.
I had an enjoyable morning walking the course and watching the opening prologue of the Tour du Catalunia. Thor Hushvold won that day by the way. Since then I watched every mile of the Tour de France on the TV and in August we went on a family holiday to Spain and after the first week was over, the wife and kids went home(they had to go back to work and school) I stayed on for an extra week and watched a couple of stages of the Vuelta de Spania.
By now I was hooked and when I got home I bought a lovely racing bike off of eBay and all the bits and pieces to go with it.
In my teens I used to ride a lot, but then adulthood took over and I'm ashamed to say it, but over the last 25 years I have let myself go a bit. I drink, smoke and the only exercise I do is walking to the car. So is this the new me. I hope so. At 6"1' and 103Kgs, I'm hoping that over the next 9 months I can get my body back into shape enough to get me over those mountains.

I have already started training. It started off with 10 mile rides.I used to get back home, fall off the bike and be hardly able to walk up the garden path. I even went out for a Sunday ride with the local racing Club and after about 3 miles and 3 big hills later with them all waiting at the top of the 3rd climb I had to admit defeat and say perhaps I'm not quite ready for you boy's yet, I will follow at my pace. Off they sprinted in a cloud of dust with me turning around and slowly returning back to my car. I'm now going out a couple of times a week with my mate Dave and the last couple of weeks we have upped our ride distance to 30 miles. the training is definitely working as I can now walk normally up the garden path when I get home.
I need to pack the fags in though. I think I'm known as a serial quitter. I have tried so many times that Glaxosmithkline share's rocket when a rumour breaks that I'm about to have another go. Well this time I am trying this new wonder drug, Champix. I have my first weeks course which will start next week when I am on holiday from work. I cannot start before as being a train driver I have to go a week without driving to make sure I do not suffer from any side effects. So I start taking the tablets next Monday and my quit day will be the following Monday the 3rd. let's hope I can do it this time.
I need to if I have any hope of completing next years Etape.