Day 4: to Bristol to Tewkesbury (39 miles)
Today was officially my one and only rest day. By that, I mean I cycled a fairly flat and relatively uneventful 39 miles from Bristol to Tewkesbury via Gloucester. Another day, another county!
So totals to date are (79 + 79 + 57 + 39) 254 miles from my reckoning, but the big days are still ahead of me.
Without wishing to go one, the accommodation last night was fabulous (www.lodgeonthepark.co.uk) and it took a lot of effort to drag myself out of the power-shower this morning, due to the “massage” setting! Try it if you get the chance!
I’m now in the Royal Hop Pole Hotel (I’ve yet to find the pole!), a Weatherspoons, in the centre of Tewkesbury, and enjoying the beer garden, by the river, in glorious sunshine. This won’t last – a nasty forecast for Friday will balance this out.
I cycled the last 10 miles with another solo LEJOGGER (so I’m not the only nutter around), albeit hes a lot more “hardcore” than I. He’s riding around 120-140 miles per day, and his Dad is driving alongside in a “Bimmer” Estate feeding him energy drinks etc – all very Team Sky!
For those that don’t know me well, I thought I’d give some context to why I do this sort of thing, every now and then. Maybe explaining it will mean I find out as well!
Like most kids of my age, I grew up on a bike, as we had fewer distractions than now. After starting work however, and getting a car, the bike became a surplus item. Despite this, we always made a point of watching the then grainy Channel 4 coverage of ‘Le Tour”, when I admired the mens (now accepted to be sadly drug-fuelled) ability to endure such suffering and yet still compete rather than survive.
I found this feat of suffering as addictive as the riders were to EPO, Steroids and other such performance enhancing offerings. I interpreted this as an opportunity to carry out a “control-alt-delete” of your sensitivities, and test yourself with something that is both physically and mentally challenging.
My first attempt at this was to sign up to do a stage of the TdF, known as the “Etape Du Tour”, which was to be 157 miles of a stage that the pros would ride a few days later. My acceptance letter came too late to go, so instead I rode from Whitehaven to Roker Pier, Sunderland, in 24 hours. That was hard work, especially the morning of the second day.
A few of my associated nutters have on occasion (every two years’ish) under the banner of “The Midlife Cyclists”, done daft things on a bike, like riding from Arnhem to Berlin and then Bordeaux to Paris, raising money for the @ClimbHQ Charity.
I then had a go at riding up the “feared and revered” Mont Ventoux, of TdF infamy (google Tommy Simpson, for reference). That was really, really tough! Just because I had the chance to see if I could do it. I have a white stone from the top of the climb on a shelf as a memento of my completion.
This latest challenge therefore seemed a natural progression of my madness, and so having met up with Dan at my beloved Manchester Citys ground, I felt I would also like to ride this for Millie, and the Trust that he and his wife set up after her tragic death, to promote and make accessible paediatric first aid training. Read up more about @MilliesTrust and why this is more important than you may realise.
All the above is why I’m doing this…
4th September 2013