Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Down And Out In Paris And London

This week's blog comes from my colleague, and fellow Arc to Arch cyclist, Craig "Chopper" Chaplin. I hope you’ll tune into our blog updates throughout our preparation and the Arc to Arch event itself. You can support our endeavours, and these great charities, at www.virginmoneygiving.com/DWF or contact Hilary Garrett (hilary.garrett@dwf.co.uk / 0161 603 5000) to hear more about our corporate sponsorship packages.

It's 6am on Thursday 2nd May. Literally 5 weeks to the day before I leave for Paris on this two wheeled adventure. Sat here tucking into an unhealthy panini, I am reflecting that my preparation to date could have been better. I'm behind on everything....the training schedule .....the weight loss....this blog...and time does not stand still. It was comforting to read that Robin was deliberately under-preparing also. What's the point in a charity ride if its a breeze? Donors expect expect sweat and tears (and ideally blood) and we shall give them what they want.

Destination Paris

Don't get me wrong, I have seen off similar challenges previously with a couple of Etapes (see www.letapedutour.com) under my belt but that was after some serious training under the watchful eye of my physio and cycling mentor Rob Harris (mates rates available - see www.harrisandross.com). Left to my own devices, I stay away from the hills and move closer to the fridge....not a good combination. This diesel has 15 stone to lug 300 miles in 3 days and whilst he is good at topping up his tank, his power to weight ratio has been better. This is when you turn to your team mates for support....and fortunately for me we have the A Team.

If we are the A Team then what is MY role? Whilst I would be an obvious contender for the Face Man Robin has bagsied that spot early doors (damn his boyish good looks!) and there is an obvious mad man Murdoch on board in Duncan (five marathons!). Steffan has promised to get a Mohawk if we manage to raise £10k and is exhibiting certain BA traits such as garish fashion sense of the bling variety (his bike gear is, ironically, less loud) and a certain singlemindedness, "I ain't sharing no room!". Just like BA, Steffan is clearly the strongest of the group and, just like Hannibal, I am clearly the most intelligent. More than that, I have the lung capacity of a 50 year old cigar smoker so it's a perfect fit. I love it when a plan comes together.....

"BA" getting to grips with a 7am gym session. "I pity the fool.. etc"

....And together it will come. I woke up a week ago feeling the fear and have been on my bike every day since (and have already had 2 punctures). I've upgraded my saddle for comfort and my wheels for a nice smooth ride, I've bought protein shake, gels, energy bars and a bike computer. One day soon, I'll even fit it to the bike. Today, I'm heading to Spain for some altitude training....unfortunately, the specific altitude I will be training at is sea level...but there are lots of places where I can hydrate with carbohydrate based energy drinks called "bars".

Two wheels good, no wheels better. "Murdoch" forgets his bike in San Francisco

The next 4 weeks will be intense. I plan to drop a stone and ride myself fit. The process has started and I'm not looking back. Commuting to work on two wheels will help, as will a couple of 6am starts so I can get some miles in BEFORE work. Hopefully, once I have nailed Paris to London, I'll go for my hatrick of Etapes. Thanks to physio Rob (Yoda) for his guidance, my colleagues for tolerating my monologues about training and weight loss (lack of) and Mrs C for being as (more?) committed to the cause than I am.

They are great charities, lets raise some cash and make some memories....

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NYC Marathon, 2004

NYC Marathon, 2004
NYC Marathon, 2004