Three stories down, three to go. As an aside, here are some photos of our brief altercation with the French Police when we arrived at the Arc. Noah was much more accommodating.
Warren Buffett once said “There seems to be some perverse human characteristic that likes to make easy things difficult”. I guess you could say we made an easy thing difficult by choosing a bicycle over a car, a day over a week, Paris over Watford.
Sometimes however, difficult things can be made even more difficult. And so to the bad news.
On Sunday morning, following Saturday’s 130-miler, T’s left knee was a little stiff and painful. He thought little of it and jumped back on his bike to cycle home from A & G’s flat. Unfortunately his knee had other ideas and after five minutes it became clear it did not just need loosening up.
Fast forward to Tuesday afternoon, after three days of icing, taking anti-inflammatories, seeing a GP and visiting a physiotherapist. T was given strict instructions to completely rest for two weeks due to suspected tendonitis. Sub-ideal.
It is hoped T will be recovered enough to at least start the big ride on the 19th, but whether the injury will recur or not remains to be seen. So at this stage, and unlike Cameron, in the NHS we trust.
We hope this does not dissatisfy any previous sponsors or put any prospective ones off. The ride will, of course, still be taking place on 19th April 2012 with at least five riders, now just 13 days away.
We have now raised over £1600 for KEP. The team are extremely grateful to everyone who has donated thus far – it is a great motivation for us all. If you haven’t sponsored us yet, please do! Let’s hope we can share pictures with you all of 6 riders passing under the Arc de Triomphe come Friday 20th April.
Thank you to everyone who has sponsored us so far, we have now raised nearly £800. We still have a long way to go to reach our target, so if you haven’t yet, please support our mammoth effort by clicking here!
The official jerseys arrived in the post this week. We would like to thank Mortimer Spinks and the other generous donors who have helped us by sponsoring the kit. The team will be donning two cycling tops on the ride, bringing attention to the two charities we are supporting; Kenya Education Partnerships & One Laptop Per Child.
Training this past week has been fairly intense. Early on Saturday morning G, A & T set out on a 150 mile ride, with O & D following by car to shoot a new promo film / clown around. Not satisfied with only managing 130 miles due to traffic, the team headed out that evening to a roller-disco to get some extra mileage in. T was especially prolific, spotted doing laps of the dance floor all night long. Women left right and centre were falling head-over-heels, although this was mostly due to G’s long flailing limbs.
L has been continuing his training out in the Pyrenees, ahead of his return to the UK in the coming days, while B has been secretly training deep in the Welsh Valleys.
T-minus 17 to D-day.
This past week L & T have been out of the country on a geology field trip (although they prefer the term ‘rock tour’). They have been trying to squeeze in training here and there when they can.
On the weekend G & A rode from London to Bath in a heat wave. Despite being fully clad in lycra (G resembling a highlighter pen) and sporting comical tan lines, the two ventured to a pub in the centre of town and had one too many pints. The pair learnt that after 115 miles of riding in baking sun, one pint is one too many pints.
The elusive D finally broke radio silence this week to discuss energy drinks, bars, gels and other manly things like protein. It turns out that we won’t be consuming 4,300 skittles each (3 a minute) for the duration of the 24 hour ride. This is a relief but in many ways also a disappointment.
Mid-week G & A met Andy Haigh, who did the London to Paris ride in 23.3 hours 6 months ago. Andy provided some really useful advice, and gave the team renewed confidence by describing the ride as ‘pretty easy’. Hmm.
O & D (the man with a movie camera) are venturing down to London this Saturday to join G, A & T on an epic 150 miler, destination as yet unknown. D plans to do some interviews for the big blockbuster. The team aren’t quite sure what he has in mind, so let’s hope it veers away from KONY 2012 and into the more favourable direction of something like this:
On Friday evening, while watching 4oD (in typical student fashion), T started to feel rather ill. Since there had been a fairly boozy evening the night before, T initially put it down to a late-stage hangover. However, as the migraine, fever and whole-body aches developed, it appeared to be something else. Come alarm clock 7am the following morning, it was not looking great for the 120-mile day. This was confirmed when T nearly fainted getting up, and then again when he moved to answer the phone to G. It was a frustrating weekend, but if that is the worst training set-back LtP24 has to deal with, we think we’ll be doing all right.
Without the bed-ridden T, G & A pushed hard on a big 120-miler on Saturday. Comfortably averaging close to 17mph, the two were pleased that all the training was paying dividends. On the big day, over the whole distance, the team needs to average 15mph (19 hrs riding, 3 hrs ferry crossing, 2 hrs in rest stops).
G & A were joined by L for a shorter 60 mile ride on the Sunday. This was the first of a three day cycling binge for L, who had taken a few days off for a different sort of binge. However when riding alone the next day, L worryingly felt the onset of illness like T. Luckily he is going to be spending some time in the next few weeks touring the hills of northern Spain. Bloody students.
With the Easter holiday approaching, O and D were overheard discussing big rides and snow drifts. We know what you are thinking – it’s the beginning of Spring, snow is hard to find… Well, apparently not so up Mt. Snowdon and the surrounding peaks. Sometimes it feels like they aren’t taking training seriously.
It is now t-minus one month to D-Day!
A lot of people of late have been asking us why on earth we are doing this. So here goes…
Kenya Education Partnerships (KEP) is where it all began. After finding out about the organisation through soon-to-be-spy (and good friend) Jenny Jones, Tom floated the idea of a London to Paris charity cycle to touring veterans Austin, Greg and Oli. After consultation with previous accomplishers of the challenge, including a very helpful John Wright, LtP24 was born.
KEP, a registered UK charity and NGO in Kenya, recruits around 60 UK students per year to provide resources and support to schools in two south-western Kenyan districts. The focus is on sustainable investment (a minimum of £1700 per school per year) over at least two years. This may sound like a small fee, but it makes a big difference to schools which receive little government funding for basic resources such as textbooks and essential infrastructure.
All money raised is invested in the schools after consultation with the students, teachers and parents. The UK students are there to build relationships with the recipients and make sure the money is invested in sustainable resources—allowing the schools to continue to improve beyond KEP’s presence. This has proved to be a very effective long term strategy. You can donate here.
When Austin’s company, Mortimer Spinks, heard about the ride they were really keen to get on board. As a technology company they wanted to support something technology based. They chose One Laptop Per Child. These guys pretty much do what they say on the tin; they believe every child has the right to education and that computers are a pretty amazing way to ensure that.
So they built the XO, a rugged, low-cost laptop that can be used in all conditions and connect to the internet anywhere. All the technology is open source and promotes collaboration between students. The XO is a really cool bit of kit that can make a really big difference to children’s lives. The team would like to thank Mortimer Spinks for their donation to One Laptop Per Child and for supporting the ride.
Lance Armstrong, perhaps one of the most widely known and well respected tour riders in the world, famously named his autobiography It’s not about the bike. Our experiences this week tell us that this is most definitely not true. But more on that later.
It has been a week of firsts for the LTP24 team. For the first time since training began more than two of the team were able to ride together. T met G & A on an early morning romp from London to Cambridge. The three of them had the opportunity to practice their drafting and discuss complex and wholly unnecessary peloton politics. T also showcased his cunning lack of pockets riding solution.
A second opportunity of practicing professional manoeuvres was had when L, G and A, accompanied by Dan (a friend keen to lose his bankers belly, but not bonus) joined them on a planned hundred miler on Sunday. This was a second first for the team – a ride in GLORIOUS SUNSHINE. Despite the 4 of them having no idea what route to take, it turned into a fantastic ride around the beautiful countryside of Cambridgeshire, based on the ‘pick a road, any road’ navigating principle. Unfortunately Lance’s imposed false sense of security caused an upset late in the day…
A previous blog post mentioned how the old green work horse G has been riding on was coming to the end of its working life. Sunday may well have been that day. Amongst a long list of other ailments, a week or so ago a crack appeared in the rim of the rear wheel. By mid-afternoon the crack had grown into a much larger crack, despite (or because of) some cereal box based repairs. Making a sound resembling a steam train chugging up a hill, both the team’s patience and G’s brake pads were wearing thin.
Just as the team were hitting the 90 mile mark at the end of the day, an important looking part of the rim fell off. And so it seemed the old work horse may well have seen its last day. It now sits in the flat, its replacement only a few days away, silently awaiting a fate similar to Boxer. All bikes are equal, but some bikes are more equal than others…
This brings us nicely onto the next point, some of us do more than others. The man behind this all, T, doesn’t appear that frequently on the blog, but this is not due to a lack of activity. The majority of the important organisation and planning that is making this whole trip possible is undertaken by T, leaving the glamorous side to the rest of us. T, we thank you.
O and D probably did some insane amount of training this week too, but we have little to report – they are the quiet mavericks of the team who seldom make contact. We estimate the combined mileage of the whole team this weekend is somewhere in the region of 800 miles. Go on then, be impressed, sponsor us!
The last thing of note to report is that LTP24 has gone Hollywood. We now have our own cameraman! Dave, a man with a camera, will be joining Roy, our man with a van, to film the whole affair and put together a super sexy art house production of the ride. Pain and despair in glorious technicolour… coming to a cinema near you soon.
Plenty of miles have been churned through by the team in the past week, mostly in heavy rains, high winds and even gentle snow. The team now shares a collective confidence that the challenge is actually an achievable one.
Austin has finally bought a road bike, which is good news. A garish fluorescent orange, it matches the tan he returned with from his week-long skiing holiday. Soon we will upload some photos of the stallions that will be hopefully carrying us all the way to Paris.
In other news, we are going to start pushing sponsorship, now that the big ride is only an arbitrary 43 days away!
You can do so here.
We also desperately need some team support for things like energy drinks, food, support van costs and cycling jerseys. So, whether an individual person or a company, please get in touch if you think you can help. No amount is too small!