Saturday, June 16, 2007

And finally.... the summary and Thanks

886 miles
15.4 mph average
57 hours 32 minutes cycling

Stuart Denham for the support over the first 4 days
Rachel Denham for the support on day 5 and especially for taking our kit upto Dumfries
Tina Denham for carrying our rucksack to Penrith
Ken Adams for the support on day 7
Rod Heyhoe for the support on the last 4 days
Rebecca & Matthew for being good for mummy while I was off.

Our sponsors
RaceScene - Ian's bike never missed a beat
TSW - the spare tyres came in handy
Herbal Remedies - The rubs kept our legs going

And everyone that sponsored us in our charity fund raising efforts

What's next?...... a few days rest and then the T-Mobile/Giant Mountain Mayhem 24hr mountain bike race.

Day 10 - and Scotland's finest North-Easterly straight into our faces

The last day and I don't know whether the whisky the night before had anything to do with it but Ian could not get going in the morning. His legs had already finished. This was soon resolved with some of the biggest hills of the trip - a real sting in the tail. We passed another couple of guys on their last leg to JOG (or was that last legs) Lee wanted to race them in, but Ian realised they must be flagging because he passed them twice on hills (a pit stop for a food in between)

They were even walking up the last one and even Ian didn't have to do that. Anyway a race would have been a non event as it transpired (we finished over 2 hours before them). We also passed an elderly women (guessing mid 60's) on her 19th day, solo, no support, carrying her supplies. She had done South of France last year and was already planning Ireland End2End for next year. What a lady!

We then had a shock - Wick. Not having seen a roundabout, traffic light or anything other than 10 house villages from Inverness, imagine the surprise when we came across Wick. Out of town shopping, Tesco, Argos Extra, B&Q, New Look, as well as traffic lights. It had everything. Through Wick for the final 17 miles, a few nasty little hills to shatter any thoughts that you had finished and eventually the drop into John o'Groats.

A stop for a photo at the sign into the village and then the descent to the end, where Rod was waiting with the camera. (Ian & Lee decided to sprint for the line - Was Rod ready?)
...... try againOn the 3rd attempt, Rod finally got us in the picture, onto the pub for our cards to be stamped, the official photo and then Ian was meant to spray Lee with some champagne. Unfortunately he didn't take into account the wind and a sightseeing couple 30 yards away got covered. Oh well!Stats

80 miles

14.6 mph average

5:25 hours cycling

43mph max


886 miles

Day 9 - Cold!........and Windy

Leaving Spean Bridge on Wednesday morning, the temperature had dropped considerably and the wind had picked up - deep joy! After a stop to add extra layers of clothing and numerous stops for the loo (P - no longer denotes a Parking bay, it is a Pee stop) progress was steady along the banks on Loch Ness. A couple of very low flying jets and over eager coach drivers kept us on our toes to Inverness. The sun had now come out (unlike the rest of the UK) and some of our layers were shed at lunchtime. A long drag of a hill started in Inverness centre (by ICT football ground),
over the bridge, where we saw our first sight of our goal since leaving Land's End and eventually to cross over the Cromerty Firth. From there up the A9 to Dornoch, past the Glenmorangie distillery. Rod had managed to find us a B&B (the only one not pre-booked), but they only had a double!! After a lovely pub meal and a sample of the local tipple (we had to check it travelled well from across the Firth) it was time for bed. A splitting of the mattress and base soon put a stop to sharing (Lee couldn't understand why I was doing that!) and Ian's winter cycling kit soon removed the need for extra bedding.

98.9 miles
16.0 mph average
6:06 hours cycling
34 mph max

806 miles

Day 8 - Wet!!

Well it had to happen at some point on the journey. Rain. After a gentle ride along the shores of Loch Lomond and a midge attack at Tarbet, we started the long climb. Just as it started to rise the rain started to fall and it didn't stop until we were over the other side in Fort William. It absolutely hammered it down for about 5 hours. Despite the weather it wasn't too cold and spirits didn't falter. In fact the scenary was still very spectacular and beautiful. We still had our favourite - the head wind and even had to pedal on one descent.

95.2 miles
15.8 mph average
6:00 hours cycling
36 mph max

707 miles

Day 7 - Hot!!

I never thought I'd be writing a diary with the words hot and Scotland together, but here goes. The road from Dumfries to Kilmarnock was long, hot (into a head wind, but that was now expected) and through some beautiful scenery. Lee had a rear puncture, which required a complete replacement of tyre (a nice 3/4 slash in the tyre wall). Unfortunately his dad had just gone past to find a lunch stop and we had to wait until he returned with the spare. We had now used up both our spare tyres (kindly denoted by TSW cycles), so that was another job for the afternoon - find a bike shop. At lunch, our support for the final legs of the trip arrived. Rod had managed to get someone to do his work for him and got away earlier than expected. 2 car support what a luxury. The long slog continued in the afternoon and it was getting hotter. Both were starting to suffer in the heat. A nice descent into Paisley and then a little detour over the Erskine Bridge, before hitting the rush hour traffic out of Glasgow, made worse by an accident. Onto the B&B and ready for another day in the saddle.

95.1 miles
15.4 mph average
6:10 hours cycling
46 mph max

613 miles

Day 6 - Welcome to Scotland.... please have a seat on my bonnet!!

After a logistics nightmare, on Ian's part, which resulted in Rachel having to drive up to the next stop (Dumfries) to drop off all our stuff from Kendal and still be back for breakfast (THANK YOU), we were off again. A quick goodbye to families who had come up for the night and the three of us set off on the short warm up before we hit the climb over Shap fell. Not as bad as I expected, more of a long drag, then a steep climb, but the head wind was back just to make it a little more interesting! At Penrith, Kev left us to return home (by car) and Lee & Ian carried on through Carlisle and over the border into Scotland at Gretna.

We must mention the guy at the border crossing, who like us was travelling LEJOG, but totally self sufficient, on a £50 bike, with a small rucksack, wearing a fleece, a pair of Bermuda shorts and what could only be best described as slippers! How? Why? I bet it hurts? Just a number of the questions that went through our minds. (Oh and thanks for taking the photo)

Again an incident free day until we hit Annan, where some idiot who couldn't see coming out of a petrol station decided to set off anyway. Lee had already passed, but fortunately Ian had seen what was coming and was hard on the brakes. When the car finally stopped he had slowed down sufficiently for Ian to just sit on the bonnet of the car (to protect the bike more than anything). To top it off the fool then tried reversing, but I was still clipped into my pedals and was about to be dumped on the floor, until I politely asked him to stop. I took myself to the side of the road (bike and body intact, if a little shaken) for the fool (with wife and family in car) to drive off. A big thank you to the young couple who first checked I was OK, before setting off after the fool and making him come back and check I was OK himself. Thanks again. The remainder of the trip into Dumfries was uneventful, until we hit the town and realised the map to find the B&B was in our bag, which was already at the B&B. Thanks again to Rachel for the direction and we found it with no further hassle. At the B&B we met up with Lee's dad who was providing the support on Monday.

83 miles
15.7 mph average
5:14 hours cycling
33 mph max

517 miles

Day 5 - Flying... and no wind to talk of!

After a day off to restock on our supplies, recharge our batteries and do some family things, then we were off again. A early morning trip back to Warrington with Ian's wife, Rachel and the kids, a few photos then straight up the A49 to meet up with Ian's brother Kevin, who was joining us for the day. So a small detour to Wigan station and from there, Kevin sat on the front and gave us a nice shield all the way to Kendal.

Thanks to Alison Eccles and Richard who came out to cheer us on (walk the dog) as we passed through Wigan. An incident free day, a nice picnic with the kids (and Rachel) and a gentle reminder to Kevin that we had another 400 miles to go as we passed Lancaster University at over 24mph (and it wasn't downhill!!) - He didn't believe us that we had had a head wind all week, as today was perfectly still.

75.4 miles
16.9 mph average
4:27 hours cycling
31.5 mph max

435 miles

Friday, June 08, 2007

Day 4 - A bad morning at the office

A chilly morning and a dodgy knee, contributed to a slow start from Kidderminster. On arriving at Kidderminster the night before Ian missed his pedal while trying to clip in and jarred his left knee. A bit of a rub, a pint and early to bed seemed to have done the trick..... until he got back on the bike. Whether it was the cold weather or just the 270 miles in the legs, but Thursday morning didn't go well at all. But a good lunch (Tuna sandwich, Banana, Energy gel and a bottle of water) seemed to work and the afternoon went well, arriving in Warrington just before 5.00pm to fight through the rush hour traffic!! Lee's plodding on nicely - hopefully hiding the suffering.
Lee's secret energy drink - BP Ultimate (High energy, low emission, but from where I was they only got it half right!!)

82.5 miles
14.6 mph average
5:38 hours cycling
31.7 mph max

359 miles

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Day 3 - Is there any way out of here?

Set off nice and early after a good breakfast for the 4 mile trip into Bristol (on the A38) to follow it for the next 70 mile. The only signs we could find pointed to Bristol, which meant we went around in circles for a while (sound familiar to anyone at work). After a small sightseeing detour to see the Clifton suspension bridge (avoiding the red light area - Lee had to rub his own Sudacrem in!!) we eventually found the A38 again...... only to lose it again in Gloucester. This time it cost us 5 mile extra mileage, but the positive was we actually had a tail wind. We should have known we were going in the wrong direction!!! (This challenge will now be know as Land's End to John O'Groats and a bit extra - Andy F, Does this count as the lap of honour you requested)

Thanks to Uncle David for the board and lodging.

92.8 miles
14.3 mph average
6:28 ride time
33.8 mph max

Total mileage
277 miles

Day 2 - Someone has a sick sense of humour!!

From Okehampton to Tiverton went smoothly and then we hit the A38 to Bristol. Then straight into the wind again, through Taunton and then just short of the finish someone put a very big hill in the way (Redhill - near Bristol airport if anyone knows it). From there it was onto Winford to the B&B - and then to the Pub (The Prince of Waterloo). Thanks to the pub and locals for their kind donations to the fund - definitely worth a visit if you're down that way.

Lee's new energy drink!

86 miles
14.3 mph average
46.0 mph max
6:05 cycling

Total mileage
184 miles

Day 1 - Cornwall is NOT flat

.... Anyone want a caption competition?

and it's roads are pretty uneventful as well. 98 miles up the A30 (nearest Cornwall will get to a motorway) into a head wind. Only a couple of mechanicals - Ian had a puncture after 23 miles, which trashed his tyre (Dave, we've already used one of your kindly donated spares) and Lee had to follow suite with a puncture after 94 miles

Thanks Chas for your support as you passed!!!

98 miles
16.4 mph average
5:58 time cycling
39.1 mph max

Day 0 - Trip to the End of Cornwall

Set off at 9:30am and arrived 4 miles east of Land's End at 4:00pm - Good journey and a great B&B - if a little off the beaten track (1 mile down a cart track). Thanks to Mrs Warren for the hospitality and sponsorship.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

All packed and ready to go

All bags are packed and ready for the trip down to Penzance on Sunday. The weather looks as though it may be kind, but the forecast wind is definitely in the wrong direction!!
The bikes have been serviced - Thanks Michael at RaceScene and they have provided a box of goodies for the trip - tubes, energy gels, bottles and a very smart RaceScene t-shirt. Thanks again Richard

Also thanks to Dave at TSW Cycles for the goodie box - again tyres, tubes, energy bars.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

2 weeks to go and we've just finished the Etape!!!

Just completed the Etape Du Dales (110 miles) in a time of just under 9 hours (8 hours actual cycling). Anyone got a spare pair of legs they can lend me!! If anyone wants a challenge try riding 'The Coal Road'. What a brute! and especially after 5 nasty hills prior to it and about 70 miles in your legs.

Anyway that just about completes the training before we set off. Maybe an odd the jaunt just to reacquaint our bottom with the saddle.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

3 weeks to go and we make the local press

Thanks to Lee for raising the profile on our ride, by contacting the local paper (The Rochdale Observer) and thanks to them for the interview and the photo call! Hopefully it may bring in a little more sponsorship.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Only 1 month to go........

The good news is the weather has been dry if just a little windy for my liking - it is the one thing we can't plan for and the one thing I fear (unless it's a tail wind).

Training is going well - Ian completed half of the Etape route last week as well as a couple of 95 milers over previous weekends and Lee continues to cycle into work every day.

Weight down to 195lbs (5lbs less than on Apr 1st, on target to be down to 190lbs by the start)

Sponsorship as started well - just need to twist a few more arms at work and with friends and family

Ian (& Lee)

Friday, March 30, 2007

The training so far ....... 1st Apr update

Only 2 months to go

Continuing to cycle into work whenever I can as well as the Saturday ride with the club. Hopefully with the longer days and warmer weather (?) the number of miles should be increasing. Weight down to 200lbs (5lbs less than on Mar 1st, if I keep this up there will be another 10 pounds less to carry over them hills)

Entry had been confirmed for the Etape Du Dales at the end of May and now the T-Mobile/Giant 24 hr Mountain Mayhem the week after we get back. Can't wait!

B&B booked all the way upto Dumfries now, just need to sort out some logistics with Rod and we can get on with the rest.

Herbal Remedies Ltd who provide sports rub have very kindly donated some of their wonderful products to help ease away the pain during the ride and training. Thanks

Friday, March 02, 2007

The training so far ....... 1st Mar update

Only 3 months to go

Continuing to cycling into work twice a week whenever the day job allows it. Also putting in a few extra miles on a Saturday - up to 50 miles now. Weight down to 205lbs (only 2lbs less than on Feb 1st, need to start eating less I think)

Entry confirm for the Etape Du Dales at the end of May.

Looking to book the B&B for the first week of the trip - My Dad has confirmed he can come along as support in the car. It will make a huge difference - Thanks Dad.

Just need to finalise a support crew/driver before for the second week now - hopefully a good friend Rod will be able to help out.

Also tried a few companies for some sponsorship. have provided some lightweight carbon stems for the trip (thanks) and Richard at has said he will help nearer the time. Already fitted a nice compact for when the legs get a bit heavy!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The training so far ....... 1st Feb update

Cycling into work twice a week now (25 mile round trip) apart from an odd storm and a bit of ice.

Weight down to 207lbs (10lbs less than on Jan 1st)

Started looking at B&B for the trip - just need to finalise a support crew/driver before booking.

Monday, December 25, 2006

And to finish off.......

Subject to getting an entry, we will be taking part in the Mountain Mayhem 2007 - 24 hour MTB race over the following weekend (June 23rd/24th)