With only 10 days to go until we set off from Cheltenham and 13 days until we start our journey from Brighton, there is a palpable feel of excitement amongst the team. Our WhatsApp group chat is buzzing as we share stories about our training rides, compare notes on our respective packing lists, talk technical… Continue reading Buzzing
Variation on a Theme
Variety has been the theme for this week's cycle training. First the Wattbike at home, then cycling along a stretch of the East Coast of Scotland and finally a few days cycling in Madrid. The training mileage wasn't high, compared to some recent weeks but over a variety of terrains, in a variety of conditions,… Continue reading Variation on a Theme
Endure or Enjoy?
Training for the Bike to Barcelona challenge has been ongoing throughout the winter period. Now, with only four months to go, it's time to ramp up the duration, the distances, the frequency and hopefully, the fun. Last week, in addition to indoor training, I cycled 40km through the gorgeous Gloucestershire countryside on a beautiful, near… Continue reading Endure or Enjoy?
Brighton to Barcelona
With only 138 days to go, it feels like the right time to introduce the Brighton to Barcelona team. We are a group of 20 cyclists plus our guide. We will set off on 16th June this year and cycle an average of 106km each day until reaching Barcelona on 2nd July in time to… Continue reading Brighton to Barcelona
New Year, New Challenge
Fabulous artwork by the very fabulous Jonny Acheson (https://jonnyachesonart.com) I love a challenge and thrive on the planning, preparation and training that goes with each new one. It gives me a sense of being in control - even if I'm not, challenges my brain and body - which can only be a good thing and… Continue reading New Year, New Challenge
Reflections of The Raid Alpine
Exercise, the only thing that has been shown to delay disease progression in Parkinson's, should, in theory, be easy to commit to doing on a daily basis. Yet at times it can still be difficult to find the motivation to exercise, particularly on a cold, wet, windy winter's day. In the autumn of 2019, signing… Continue reading Reflections of The Raid Alpine
Reflections - The Raid Alpine 2022 by Rory Chappell I was part of the support crew for a group of five cyclists as they took on The Raid Alpine. 770km long. Over 18,000m of climb. Geneva to Nice. I had never even heard of such a challenge, nor would I have thought it would be… Continue reading Rory’s Reflections
Raid Alpine – Day 10
Setting off in already blistering sunshine, our last day proved one of the hottest. Perhaps a little blasé about having 'only' 834m of climb to do, by the time I was 15km into the ride, already on the wrong road, still leaning heavily on my right hand side in a very lop sided fashion with… Continue reading Raid Alpine – Day 10
Raid Alpine – Day 9
Distance 83km. Elevation 1700m. Our penultimate day saw us leave according to our speed. That was Claire and I setting off first for a ride that would take us 8 and 9 hours respectively. The others who are much quicker were rewarded by a slightly more leisurely breakfast and had still caught up with us… Continue reading Raid Alpine – Day 9
Raid Alpine – Day 8
We expected today to be our toughest challenge for many reasons. Longest rideBiggest climbSearing heatExisting saddle sores, blisters, aches and painsFatigue from the previous seven days hard cycling To add another challenge to the day, was for our support team, Callum and Rory when an erratic / maniac driver tried to overtake the van they… Continue reading Raid Alpine – Day 8
Raid Alpine – Day 7
Guillestre to Jausier. Distance 42km. Elevation 1154m. Our shortest day and we made the most of it. An early start saw the men powering up the hill by lunchtime whilst the girls took the same early start but a more leisurely approach. I'd like to say we did so from choice but my legs were… Continue reading Raid Alpine – Day 7
The Raid Alpine – Day 6
Col du Lautaret to Guillestre. Distance 81km. Elevation 1392m. What a fantastic day! Today we 'bagged' Col d'Izoard. 19.1km uphill during which we climbed 1173m. At a peak gradient of 11% and an overall average of 6%, it was tough. No nice pictures at the top as it simply resembled a building site. A huge… Continue reading The Raid Alpine – Day 6
Raid Alpine – Day 5
Distance Elevation Gain By Rory Chappell (Support Team) ‘Switchbacks are overshadowed by persistence.’ An early start for the cyclists to get a handle on the day ahead: the biggest climb so far. After breakfast, they hit the tarmac and pedalled along to the town of Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne. They waited for a top up of water from… Continue reading Raid Alpine – Day 5
Raid Alpine – Day 4
Bourg St ~Maurice to Lansleberg-Mont-Cenis Distance 83km, Elevation Gained 2,238m 'Over the Col and Far Away' By Rory Chappell (Support Team) The day started early high above Bourg Saint Maurice with a fantastic breakfast at our overnight stop, Montagn’Arcs. Joined by the fresh talent from Bolton, Neil and Jane, the cyclists set off up to… Continue reading Raid Alpine – Day 4
The Raid Alpine
Day 4 - 'Only' I desperately wanted to get to the top of Col d'Iseran, our 'only' Col of the day. 'Only' 2,200m of climb over 'only' 47km, with temperatures peaking at 'only' 28 degrees, with absolutely no shade. At every km on each Col, there is a marker depicting the distance to the top… Continue reading The Raid Alpine
Raid Alpine – Day 3
Day 3 - missing from our original blog series as exhaustion crept in and time ran out. For completeness, I've compiled this from a few scribbled notes to support my hazy memory, as Col after Col, the days seemed to morph into one. Today was to be our toughest so far. 75km, hilly from the… Continue reading Raid Alpine – Day 3
Raid Alpine – Day 2
Cluses to Notre-Dame-de-Bellecombe. Distance 63km, Elevation Gained 2,200m. '20%' By Rory Chappell (Support Team) Waking up this morning to grey skies after a night of storms isn’t what you imagine when you come away to Southern France for a cycling challenge. That said, it is perfect climbing weather. Today was the first chance some got… Continue reading Raid Alpine – Day 2
Raid Alpine – Day 1
First Time for Everything First Day Thonon les Bains to Cluses Distance: 81km Climb: 1913m First Team Gathering Lake Geneva First Climb Col de Moises First Celebratory Beer First Day Summary Hot, hot, hot, humid,, hilly, hellishly hard, hurting everywhere, happy it's over ....until tomorrow. Personal Perspective - Alison One of our 'lighter' days today,… Continue reading Raid Alpine – Day 1
Here's hoping our initial efforts at organisation are not indicative of how well organised (or not) we are going to be throughout the trip. John W, already proving his organisational skills, arrived at the agreed time, at the agreed location with all the kit that he'd agreed to bring and most importantly with the Campervan.… Continue reading False Start
Bring Me Sunshine
The Final Nail in the Coffin
'The Final Nail in the Coffin' "An event that causes the failure of something that had already started to fail" It was perhaps inevitable but after a full 12 months and 7,500km of training, 90,000m of hill climbing and being as ready as we've ever been, we've had to cancel our challenge in the Alps again.… Continue reading The Final Nail in the Coffin
A Few Hills Too Many
A hilly ride yesterday with the Sunday morning group. Lovely company, glorious sunshine and a beautiful route but hilly and I found it really hard. No personal bests today and the rest of Sunday was a write off for me as it's taken me 24 hours to recover! Doesn't bode well for The Alps....! I… Continue reading A Few Hills Too Many
Having recovered from the Raid Local challenge, spent some time with my family, caught up with some of the things I had neglected whilst training and taken some time to reflect, it's time to put pen to paper and, of course, it's time to get back in the saddle again. But first, once again, a… Continue reading ABC
A Team Effort
Doing the Raid Local challenge would never have been possible without the support of so many people, so I'd like to say 'thank you' to everyone who trained with me, encouraged me, supported me for months while I prepared for the challenge, supported me on the day, donated to The Cure Parkinson's Trust and to… Continue reading A Team Effort
Not So Easy!
The challenge, in reality, was not nearly as easy as I had dreamt it might be! (See Previous Blog) In reality, it took me a lot longer, it was a lot harder, my average power output was a lot lower and I didn't see Rowan Atkinson at all! My stats came in four parts: Until… Continue reading Not So Easy!
Having lived cycling, talked cycling, blogged cycling, thought about nothing but cycling for the past few months, I have now started dreaming cycling. If I believed my dreams, I would be cycling ahead of the rest of the team, they would be shouting 'Slow down! We can't keep up! When did you get so good… Continue reading Easy!
My fourth 'first' for this week was to cycle Sudeley Hill today without stopping. As part of a hilly ride today, after Harp and Ham hills, I finally did it! At 2.5km long, with an average gradient of 8.4%, a maximum gradient of 18% and a total climb of 215m, it was a tough one.… Continue reading Fourth ‘First’
Wild, Wet, Windy and Wintery
With a dislike for indoor training, despite the threat of rain and a moderate breeze, the great outdoors won my vote. The weather forecast wasn't great but it painted a more optimistic picture than was the reality! Heavy rain, strong winds, debris on the roads, flooded roads, fields, cars...... Emergency tree felling to avert an… Continue reading Wild, Wet, Windy and Wintery
What cycling has taught me about Parkinson's Disease By Paul Jones Thanks very much to Alison, PD fundraiser and networker extraordinaire for letting me guest on her blog. Cycling has always meant freedom to me. As a child growing up in 1970s Hemel Hempstead, cycling set me free to explore the world beyond home and… Continue reading Guest Blog
We’ve got Wind!
According to the Met Office, the following descriptions of wind apply. The Met Office does't mention cycling in these winds, so for the cyclists amongst you, here are a few extra pieces of information. Light Air (1-5km/hr) Not a problem for cyclists. We generate more air by talking on the flat and deep breathing when… Continue reading We’ve got Wind!
A Second Wind!
Rarely have I ever cycled and not enjoyed it. Yesterday, however, was one such occasion. Despite a beautiful, hilly and carefully planned route during which we thoroughly enjoyed the first 40km, the homeward bound route was tough. After the trauma of cycling in winds strong enough to knock me over, we eventually made it home… Continue reading A Second Wind!
A Fabulous Day
Cycling 86km with great company, lots of laughs, some wonderful sunshine (I'll not dwell on the gale force winds and cold temperatures of the way home), stunning views and I'm fitter and (a little) faster than ever before. https://videopress.com/v/D5TXZmeD?loop=true&preloadContent=metadata
Saturday’s ‘Sunday’ Cycle
We did our usual Sunday morning cycle on Saturday as the weather forecast was much more favourable! The Cyclists Jackie, Caroline, Al, Nigel, Roland & John Highlights Good company and the essential cake and coffee stop Beautiful countryside Amazing Wildlife We spent a few minutes watching Fallow Deer running across fields and at one point,… Continue reading Saturday’s ‘Sunday’ Cycle
Over the Hill
Cleeve hill boasts to be the highest point in Gloucestershire, indeed the highest of the Cotswold Hills. I was disappointed to learn after making the claim on several occasions, that from the highest point by road, there are a few hundred additional metres to climb to reach the actual highest point! Not manageable by road… Continue reading Over the Hill
First Ride of 2020
With no offers of company for today's cycle, I set off alone and tackle Cleeve Hill for my first ride of 2020. It is unusual for me to cycle so far alone, there is usually someone willing to cycle. It's a very different experience, cycling alone but I enjoyed the challenge. No personal bests today… Continue reading First Ride of 2020
The last ride of 2019 made me reflect on the cycling I have done during the year, before turning my attention to the challenges that lie ahead in 2020. My Strava Statistics for 2019 The Strava statistics tell only the numbers, so here's a little personal reflection on the experiences. I cycled nearly 4,000km, predominantly… Continue reading 2019 Statistics
Last Ride of 2019
No longer able to use Christmas as an excuse to put off training for The Raid Alpine challenge, I head out for my last ride of 2019 and a gentle re-introduction to my training following the festive period. It was cold but dry and great to have some new cycling companions (James and Jess) as… Continue reading Last Ride of 2019