Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Final Preparations For The Big Event

So into the final week and it is all coming together nicely although, it is not quite the calm before the storm. Graham J has recovered from his calf problem and managed three training rides over last weekend but is now saddle sore. He also tried to break 2 toes in the garden while walking without shoes and these are now painful and sore but he says they won’t stop the ride.

Shane had a good workout over the weekend too with Motor Cross improving his core fitness and 2 cycling rides to help his preparation. Graham R has finished his preparation and is now on a canal holiday chilling and getting mentally prepared.

Charlotte the support driver is post exams and ready to go and the roof bars and roof box were fitted last night to her fiesta, so the car is ready too. We now have confirmation of a petrol sponsor for the support vehicle and our thanks go to Sue Papworth from Toad School Of Driving (tel 01480 831662)

We also have an agreed sponsor for the accommodation and our thanks for this go to Potential2Achieve Limited, who are inspiring performance and enabling success (tel 0844 870 9743 www.potential2achieve.co.uk)

Both sponsors will be featured on the support car throughout the event.

This week is like the week before you go on holiday for a fortnight with so many things to do both at home and for the ride. There are lots of final things to buy such as topping up the first aid kit, ensuring we have enough drinks bottles, energy bars etc and, of course, making the final arrangements for those family members staying looking after the house and the dog.

By Sunday morning it will all be done and we will be off to Cornwall for the start, feeling very nervous but excited too.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

What A Difference A Week Makes

So last week we were feeling more confident of our ability to make the ride successfully and then a bad training ride on Thursday shattered that confidence. Graham J got really bad cramp in his calf, probably due to pushing too hard while tired and dehydrated. This has resulted in muscle damage which has meant no riding since and he is still struggling to be able to get back on the bike even for a light exercise routine. Lots of ice packs and liniment have seen improvements in the condition and he is still hopeful of making the ride.

During the same ride, Shane had problems with his bike gears as the chain came off. This has now required a re-alignment of his gear changers to cure the problem and prevent it from happening again. He has also identified the need for new tyres which will need to be bought and fitted before we go.

The good news is that Graham R is riding almost every day and building his fitness quite well. How things turn around, as 6 weeks ago he was the one who looked doubtful for the ride due to illness and injuries.

Every day now sees internet shopping packages arrive as we pull together our kit and this weekend will be spent checking the bikes and kit to ensure we are good to go.

Then there is a need to re-plan the route to make sure that we have easy to follow directions and avoid, where possible, exceptionally busy roads.

So next week will be the final weekly pre-event blog before we start the daily blogs for the actual ride. In the meantime we need another big push on donations, please help us by circulating this blog to your friends and contacts and asking them to support Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011


For those old enough to remember the song and cricket parody, the number of days to go before we start riding is nnnnineteen, and the amount of donations we are still seeking is nnnnineteen hundred. For those of you too young to know what this means, never mind, as Shane has discovered wisdom comes with age.

Please see what you can do to help us drive up the donations, we had a great response from the early adopters but now need the mass market to pick up the donating challenge. We will be sending reminders out next week as many people have promised donations but not quite managed to make them yet. Just Giving

The event is now fully booked so we are committed to the expense with no cancellation clauses. This includes accommodation, cars, trains and flights (to get people back after the event quickly to meet other commitments). This must work like a well run project and we cannot afford to drop back on our planned miles per day, so we will need to dig deep on some days. People who have done it before tell us day 2 will be the hardest. This is an eighty mile ride from Fowey in Cornwall to Exeter in Devon and involves some very hilly challenges around Dartmoor.

Training is getting better with all three cyclists getting miles in their legs and Graham J managed 53 miles in the saddle without too many problems on Saturday. Graham R has now fitted the hill climb gears to his bike to make those long steep hills a little easier. The Cambridgeshire gear ratios will not be any good for the South West and Cumbrian hills. Shane just needs to fit a new gear lever which has now arrived (thanks to the wonders if e-bay) and he will be ready to go too.

So now time for a bit of internet shopping, getting extra pairs of shorts, tights/leggings and jerseys for the event. It will be important to be able to keep kit washed and free from salt build up in order to avoid sores while riding, so changes of kit are critical.

Then hopefully there will be time to plan the final detail on the route and print all the maps to take us directly between our overnight stops.

There is a nervous sense of confidence in the team although most people still think were mad and most don't think we will make it. We will see and for all those doubters, why not put your money where your mouth is? Donate now and promise us a second donation if we make it. It is for a great cause and will help more children and families in distress.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

OMG 26 Days To Go

It is now just 26 days until we will have started our challenge. At this point, we should be through the hard training and feeling quietly confident.

Well it is nothing like that in reality. The two Graham managed over 40 miles yesterday. This is a real success given where we were 3 weeks ago. Success for Graham J as he managed to sit on his new saddle that long and is not in too much pain today. Success for Graham R as it is the furthest he has been able to cycle so far due to back problems. Graham R is now trying to cycle daily while Graham J is trying to fit some riding around his regular commuter journey to London and long working days.

Shane is also working long days, trying to make sure he can get the time off for the ride. His is currently short on miles in training and needs more time on his new saddle even though he says it is quite comfortable.

All three will need a good ride this weekend to boost confidence as the thought of 11 days of continual riding (equivalent of 11 marathons) is very scary.

On the support side, the vehicle has now been serviced (all three of us did this over the weekend) and is almost fit to go, once the cycle carrier and roofbars/box are added. The support driver is studying hard for 'A' levels and will be ready to go.

Graham R has kindly rebuilt Graham J's bike after Shane resprayed it and it looks great and performs really well, so it's good bye to the old bike and on with the new. A real team effort.

Donations to the GOSH charity are slowing down and we need a new injection of Donors, so please tell all your friends, ask them to donate to help Great Ormond Street and get people to follow our progress. During the ride, we will blog every day.

Finally, if you have any tips for us, please note them in the comments box.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Training Hurts

Well we are pushing on with our training but it is getting hard. Shane has sore legs from pushing too hard and Graham R is taking it steadily as he builds up his miles and stamina. Graham J is finding that breaking in a new saddle is not a lot of fun and is suffering with saddle sores.

Shane and Graham J were riding on Sunday and for the first 25 miles Shane was getting fed up with waiting for the old man (30 years his senior) but eventually seasoned wisdom won over spirited youth and Graham J had to wait for the younger cyclist. Graham J was telling anyone who would listen the story of the tortoise and the hare. Still I guess he needs to enjoy the victory while he can, it wont happen very often.

The accommodation for each night is booked with a combination of Travelodge, Premier Inn, B&Bs and Youth Hostels. The Two Grahams are wondering how they can qualify to stay in a Youth Hostel given their age. Total cost for accommodation is £995 and we are looking for a sponsor or 2 to help cover some of that cost, so if anyone knows a company that would like to be advertised on the support vehicle and mentioned in the press when we submit articles to the news papers, please let us know.

Fund raising is going steadily but we need more help. Graham R has spent all day e-mailing companies and friends for support and we need people to recommend us on facebook and other networking sites. Feel free also to forward the link to the site to all your friends telling them what a great cause Great Ormond Street Hospital is.

Finally, we think we have found a fuel sponsor and are just finalising the details, so watch this space for an update.