Day 0. Le Jog (Land’s End to John O Groats Bicycle Ride)

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In just under eight hours we shall depart for London, Kings Cross Station to be precise to embark on Le Jog, the epic voyage coursing some 1880km over a period of 18 days. I have to say, I am slightly apprehensive. I have not trained appropriately, I have the ongoing plague of my iliotibial band syndrome and we are both (my colleague and I) intrepid as we are, naive to the route we are taking. Unfortunately, only one half of Team ChainLUBE (Alderey Manning and Rafe Watson) will be committing to the entirety of this trip. We are hopeful of the appearance of Daffyd Garrick. Parker Johnson has sent his apologies.

My bike is a 2012 Specialised Allez. I am aware I am not using clipless pedals, you don’t have to remind me. I figured, given all my shortcomings – it would make sense not to fall at the first set of traffic lights being that I am not used to them at all. In any case, I have packed as economically as possible into a Carradice Nelson saddle bag. I honestly was as strict with myself as possible, limiting myself to barely the daily essentials and still the bag is breaking past capacity. In retrospect, some of the items are a bit more cumbersome than perhaps what is definitively required but then some, I consider essential. I am travelling with my Sony NEX 5n for documenting the trip. It has been in scintillating form since its purchase and in fact I have done the camera a disservice by scratching it in the way that perhaps only I can.

Anyway, that is it. I will need to sleep so to prepare myself for the early start tomorrow. This is how I looked this evening before embarking the longest bike ride of my life. Let’s hope I can keep a smile till the end.

Writing and travel broaden your ass if not your mind and I like to write standing up.

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Team ChainLUBE

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RIP STUPID TOUR DE FRANCE DOG

Team ChainLUBE are a cycle group of my friends; Dan, Rafe, Peter and I. I am not my own friend but I am part of the group. Pete is also not pictured unfortunately. Obviously I am taking the picture. As the group’s weakest member, I feel that I should do what I can to increase our profile and so here I am writing words about West London’s greatest weekend interracial cycling team.

We cycled the London to Brighton route yesterday and the above picture was taken at our first stop at Richmond Park. The weather was glorious and the Sun had put his fucking hat on. Oddly enough, there were few people who accompanied us on the journey down though there seemed to be many on the opposite side. The roads were quiet enough and I have to say, I had forgotten how beautiful Sussex can be. Village after quaint village was traversed and bar the odd industrial estate, there was nothing to shade the eyes from. We passed some horses, cows and sheep if that’s your thing. Some manure too. I love the smell of manure. I could literally sit in a barn full of that shit (pun intended) and be abundantly happy with life.

I like to think that we made our own little Tour as we tumbled through southern England. In honesty it was almost a permanent breakaway pack with Ralph and Dan ahead and myself leading a lonely one-man peloton. I need to get better quickly. Nowhere was that more apparent than the Beacon Hill.

The Ditchling Beacon, for those of you that don’t know it, is the big fuck off hill that one must climb before the descent into Brighton. Marking an ascent of some 248m, perhaps it is not much for those of you seasoned cyclists, but for poseurs like myself with A FUCKING ILIOTIBIAL BAND (yes, yes I know everyone has one) it is a literal mind and body fuck. I guestimate that I made it to about 200 odd metres to the main vantage point and the glorious view bellow before my leg gave away and I am ashamed to admit I walked the rest. My compardres, seasoned cyclists that they were, climbed the hill without issue and I have promised myself that on my next attempt, I will piss all over it. It was the only hill I had to walk for and for now, I will satisfy myself that for a first attempt, I was quite happy to get to where I did. My ITBS playing up today was testament to my tribulations yesterday.

We finally rolled in Brighton, some 6 hours and 60 odd miles later. It was a lovely climax looking out onto the English Channel and there were many who had come to welcome us into the town. Maybe not, but there were many people there. We collapsed onto the rocks, I took a few lacklustre pictures and we made moves for some food. An hour or so later, we jumped on the train back to Victoria and enjoyed a well deserved rest. All in all we covered some 70-80 miles which should be good enough, in the way of practice for the intimidating John O Groats to Lands End ride we will be doing shortly. What – did I not tell you? Yeah, we’re doing that. Stay tuned.

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