Planning is well under way and approaching extraordinary levels of unnecessary complexity. T has provided team members with individually mapped stages and 200 GPS co-ordinates to memorise. There’s been more average speeds banded around the cyberspace table than Boris’ latest Transport for London meeting. Kit lists are being developed and scruitinised. There is much debate over whether lycra shorts are actually worth the loss of dignity they no doubt incur.
An official Man With A Van has been pulled in for support. Roy, as he’ll no longer be known, a lover of metal music and Mexican women, will be following the riders all the way. R will be carrying the spare kit, food and a lilo (on T’s odd insistence), as well as shouting generic abuse and picking up any members of the team too weak / feeble / sensible to carry on.
Training has also been stepped up another notch this past week. G scoped out the first stage of the big ride from London to Sittingbourne and back in glorious sunshine, much welcomed after the previous weekend’s soaking. Despite a high speed pigeon-to-the-face incident, G did the 90 mile ride comfortably in less than the time allocated for the first leg of the challenge, which is promising.
Meanwhile this week, T and L have been doing laps of the classic cols of Cambridgeshire and O has been getting up unthinkably early to take on the Welsh mountains. Staking a claim as the most mentally unstable of the team, one morning this week O chose to awake at 3:30am to embark on a 180-miler. D has been working on his explosive power in the squash court, preparing himself for those long stints at the front of the pack that the rest of the team has volunteered him for.
One exciting piece of news for the team is that A will no longer be donning his skinny jeans to ride his hipster fixie to Paris. He has thankfully acquired a road bike. O kindly travelled to Bristol to meet a man in a car park (not for the first time) and to his delight found a bright orange velo in mint condition. A, having sneakily left the country on Friday for a weeks holiday, has received an official team warning and faces a fine of one round of pints at the first bar in Paris
We are, by all accounts except for maybe fitness, ready.
The title is largely misleading, as it is in fact a tale of two rural and suburban areas surrounding two cities, but we couldn’t find anything in that vein in the literary archives.
T has given us an extensive run down of his training regime this week, we read it so you don’t have to. Highlights include a five and a half hour road ride on Sunday, of which four hours and fifty two minutes were spent riding, average speed between 15.7-16.4mph. Unfortunately T didn’t go into much detail about the ride so you’ll have to settle with that. He did mention that the distance was between 76.8-85.5 miles, but isn’t sure exactly as his speedometer and Android GPS app came up with different results. We’re not sure on the exact make of the speedometer or model of Android. Again, we can only apologise for the lack of detail.
After work on Friday A&G retreated to the leafy suburbs of A’s parents house in Watford, in what was by all accounts a terrible terrible ride. On Saturday they met with new member Oli, who chased after them in a van for a while with his camera shouting things. The ensuing footage will be posted shortly. Blessed for the first time with gears, and having left O and his camera behind, A&G did another ride on Saturday. The joy of multiple gears was short lived as a torrential downpour which lasted for three hours left their extremities too cold and numb to actually operate the gears. A cried in the shower when they finally got home. G was unable to speak coherently. O just laughed, glad that he had trees to fell instead that afternoon. What a man.
While in Watford, A&G went to CostCo Wholesalers to stock up on food. Unfortunately A got very much carried away and spent upwards of fifty pounds on a wide variety of cereals.
L is currently studying rocks in foreign climbs, combining his studies with putting some spins on the pedals in, apparently on the very same rocks he claims to be studying. It may well skew his results, but it is too soon to tell.
In exciting news, there may well be a sixth member joining the team. Bam, or Banter is he is otherwise known is somewhat of a wildcard. Not much is known about this character, but what little we do know suggests he is somewhat of a maverick. Once spotted riding the Black Mountains of Wales in only a single wooly sock, he is sure to add something to the group dynamic. What that is exactly we’re not sure, but hopefully his mad bike mechanic skills will be useful, as will his witty banter.
We may have sorted a van, a driver, another driver, a guy with a camera to film us do this silly journey and some floor space in Paris for us to rest our heads when/if we get there. So all-in-all things are progressing splendidly. Stay frosty.
So, not a huge entry today but important none the less. Important in both what did and didn’t occur in the past two weeks.
Firstly to what didn’t happen; training hard. Poor weather conditions meant that not much time was spent on the bike outdoors. This confined A&G to the turbo trainer in the flat which began to grate on both their patience and their tyres. T felt as much cabin fever on the bike machine in the gym back in Cambridge. A&T travelled up on the weekend to train with T although ice on the roads meant that plans for big rides didn’t come to fruition.
To add insult to injury, this week G cracked his rear rim and A suffered an unfortunate morning commute puncture, so once again the flat transformed into a temporary workshop. Oh, and the boiler broke.
Next, to what did happen; the team grew. That’s right we are now officially an international team. Joined by Oli (who lives in Wales, which means we are international), some would say a bike evangelist, others the next Lance Armstrong, most just call him Oli.
The next addition to the team was Lawrence, a Geologist by trade, a road rider by nature, Lawrence has been riding bikes since before he could identify different rock strata. With some big names joining the team, planning of the trip continued in full steam. We have an itinerary, a kit list and big plans to train a hell of a lot harder….
A&G have taken to getting up before work to ride out east along one of Boris’ cycle super highways in an attempt to avoid the dreaded turbo trainer, O is cutting sleep out of his schedule in order to cycle more and do more protein shakes. Now a double team, T&L will be hitting the (hopefully de-iced) Cambridgeshire roads to burn rubber.
In other news, if anyone knows of anyone with floor space in Paris we’d love to be put in touch. Oh, and A is still looking for a road bike…
Just as the previous update was posted, our dear friend, Katie Rogers, sent us this ‘post template’ to help alleviate our apparent writers block. We feel she may be mocking us.
AT & A (ambiguous title and ampersand)
Short opening sentence. Many full stops to give strange, hipster rhythm to the delivery. The occasional cheeky semi-colon; wise statement about the nature of being on the road. Undercut by single line joke about Austin’s testicles / Greg’s debilitated hand.
The story is continued with an ellipsis…
And so to the ride. Some sort of mishap occurs, and a mechanical issue means it is inevitably less productive than it should be. A lesson is learned. Boys become men. The structure of the grammar then changes, and long, languid sentences appear, perfectly portraying the wistfully winding nature of your journey through the use of alliteration.
Attention is drawn to the landscape, the beauty of urban decay, and Greg’s years of practice at spinning together nonsensical architectural jargon in order to say nothing about something comes into play. The dynamic use of the words, juxtaposed against the backdrop of the whiteness of the blog site, guides the viewer intuitively to the next vertically aligned textual use of space.
[INSERT PHOTO. A PHOTOSHOPPED LAYERED VIGNETTE. CLOSE UP OF A BELOVED BICYCLE PROPPED UP AGAINST A PARTICULARLY DECREPIT PIECE OF LONDON MASONRY]
At this point, passing comment is made about Tom. His sensibilities do not match those of the stylistic intentions of the blog entry. His parallel plight is referred to whimsically. Silly Tom.
And so to the future. The outcome of the ride has affected your outlook – brief hint at the deep spiritual nature of the task being undertaken. Once again, the earnest tone becoming too much, a puncturing reference to something T/G/A did that emasculated them is made. Because we wouldn’t want to be seen to take ourselves seriously.
[INSERT PHOTO. A CLOSE UP OF A’S MUSH LOOKING DOWN A LONG WINDING PATH. IT’S A METAPHOR. FOR OUR PATH.]
We aren’t quite sure how eleven days have passed since the last post. According to the wordpress stats, a large number of people (you, in fact) are reading and following our blog, which is much to our surprise. This is why we are gearing up to launch into a flurry of exciting, captivating, funny and down-right heroic posts to keep you all up-to-date, and most importantly, entertained.
This will begin tomorrow evening, with a mega update that will explain some or all of the following:
1. How snow and ice last weekend severed a limb from the training plan, much alike the damage done to Greg’s right index finger (see previous post)
2. How the team has grown from three to FIVE
3. Why Austin made the conscious decision to render himself unconscious, all in the name of training
4. How Tom’s date went on Sunday
Why not subscribe to our posts, that way, you’ll be sure not to miss a thing.
Mid-week training has gone well for A&T this week, and less well for G.
T made it out on Thursday afternoon for a pleasant 23 mile ride around rural north Cambridge. Despite some minor directional issues, it was some good time on the road. Although lonely at times, there were lots of middle-aged women speeding around in 4x4s to keep T company. He has come to realise, however, that whilst footballers are still massive pansies for wearing gloves, cyclists most certainly require them when it is -1 degree celcius. First thing the next day, T went out and bought some gloves.
For A, a few long sessions on the turbo trainer in the flat after work as well as a few lunchtime runs ensured that he kept his training right on track. Less can be said for G.
In a freak bike maintenance accident, G lost the tip of his right index finger to the chainring of his new fixie. We considered adding the photo to the blog, but it really is rather grim and we are hoping to broaden our readership rather than stunt it. Spending Monday night and half of Tuesday in hospital, before leaving with a large bandage on his finger, training for G was ruled out for the week. Oh dear.
Luckily come Saturday G rather bravely (and equally stupidly) felt the pain in his finger was sufficiently numbed to warrant getting back in the saddle. A&G headed out for a warm up ride out past the Olympic park, ahead of a planned long cycle on Sunday. The start of the ride was a bit of a disaster due to some poor navigating and a lack of prior planning, but once we found the canal path we were looking for, the ride turned good. We sailed back at decent speed through the Lee Valley Park and Hackney Marshes, before shooting right by the Olympic Stadium.
Cycling out of the city past the Anish Kapoor olympic park mega-sculpture before quietly drifting through canal-side industrial parks and semi-wasteland felt a little bit like cycling back through time. The change in scenery was coupled with a change in the weather; we soon found ourselves complaining our way through strong headwinds and freezing temperatures. There were serious concerns for all 40 phalanges, not just G’s maimed index finger, but thick gloves and double socking ensured that A&G just about survived.
We have suddenly realised that you, our dear readers, know nothing of the beasts that we ride. So here we are:
1. Austin’s fixed training bike
Despite a somewhat haphazard aesthetic, this fixed gear conversion is a nice ride and perfect for cadence training. Austin is yet to acquire a road bike for the big ride.
2. Greg’s end2ender
This green beauty is what took Greg the 1000miles from Lands End to John o Groats a few years ago. This bike has been through a lot, and despite being on its last wheels, has been a useful training bike these first few weeks. There is however no doubt that this won’t make London to Paris without one part or another falling off, so Greg, like Austin, is also lacking a racer for the big ride.
3. Greg’s new fixie
Instead of more sensibly spending his savings on a racer for the big ride, Greg has instead built this fixie for his daily central London commute and cadence training. It’s fast, it’s light, it looks sexy, but it lacks a few gears to pull off London to Paris in 24 hours!
4. Tom’s roadster
Austin took this from London to Marrakech this summer, which was quite a feat. In the process of doing this, almost every part had to be replaced, so now Tom is lucky enough to be the only member of the team with a currently fully functional racing bike. Lucky him.