The Tour de Force

The Tour de Force

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

The Taper Caper!

"He waits...that's what he does...and I'll tell you what: tick followed tock, followed tick followed tock followed tick..."
What a load of pretentious old pony- but I bet you still remember it!

Right then, it's good news all round! The good news for the charity is that we have raised £3500. The good news for you folks is that this will be the last bloggage until the event kicks-off this weekend. The good news for me is that training is winding down to pretty much the square root of sod-all, or to give this period its athletically-correct term: the taper.

As one of my more learned TdF colleagues noted (take a bow JR), it's during this twilight period between the end of training and the actual event that your mind can start messin' with you...instead of constantly looking ahead to the "training that I'm going to do" you now are thinking of the "training that I wish I had done"! Could I have done more? No doubt, although I've ridden almost 3500 miles this year and climbed about 150,000 feet, so to coin a completely dumb phrase, we are where we are.

Fit for purpose? Nah, but we'll do it anyway. Cheers for the lens-work, Ed!
In my case I am at my lightest (73kg, Ryvita fans) that I have been for probably 20 years which is pleasing in terms of giving myself a slightly better chance of getting up all the inclines in the same calendar day as the other riders, although none of my trousers fit anymore, hah-hah! My targets remain pretty strightforward: to stay upright and finish each day, hopefully not dead last. And to enjoy it- it is a holiday of sorts after all, right?

Hopefully good company at the rear of the bunch. Team Lanterne Rouge rides again!
Covering all bases re size of boarding pass. Photo courtesy the Mayor de Fleetwood.
The lull in training also gives an opportunity to square away some admin: namely sorting out a packing list and also getting the bike fettled...I must admit that it has never been as clean! It'll be loaded onto a wagon tomorrow and hopefully we'll be reunited in Utrecht on Saturday morning. I'll fly out this Friday evening and meet Andy at Schipol, before we train it to our bijou Utrecht acco for a couple of nightcaps sorry, talk strategy...

First name on the team-sheet.
Usual 'souvenir issue' tat. But wait, this one has a free pair of socks: woo-hoo!
Considering taking armchair too: bike saddles not renowned for comfort!
As a nod to my roomie's 'elf & safety, new Odor Eaters installed. Every expense spared...
Earlier I mentioned that the fundraising total stood at around £3.5K: this is terrific and I am hugely indebted to you very generous and supportive types. Just in case anyone is coming to this page cold, here is a recap of the appeal...

This tour is organised on behalf of a charity called the William Wates Memorial Trust. No, I had never heard of them either until last year but what they do is give grants to projects in the UK that help kids who haven't had the best start in life or to charities that aim to develop and help young people see what they are capable of through the arts, sport and education. Big things, big achievements like the Duke of Edinburgh award!

The D.o.E. Award Scheme can truly be life-changing...
Their official mission statement/blah is, "To encourage disadvantaged and vulnerable young people away from anti-social behaviour and criminal activity, enabling them to fulfil their potential." Basically they’re the acceptable version of ‘Children In Need’ and ‘Comic Relief’ i.e. no sign of Lenny Henry or the cast of Eastenders doing a song & dance number!

Click here to be magically transported to the sponsorship page. Cheers!

Still got a soft spot for this terrifically preposterous vid from the old scrotes: the song ain't bad either...

I do have a bit of previous...

2014: 1000 miles solo & unsupported out to France, then La Bicinglette...6 x Mont Ventoux in a day!

2013: 1000 miles solo & unsupported out to Austria, then the worst climbs in The Dolomites!

2012: The inaugural Haute Route sportive from Geneva to Nice, followed by the worst Pyrenean climbs!

2011: 3500 miles across North America...coast to coast!

2010: 1600 miles from Gibraltar to Blackpool!

2009: 1000 miles from Land's End to John O'Groats!

2008: 250 miles from Blackpool to London!

2007: 100 miles around Manchester!

2006: 0.5 mile to corner shop!