Monday, 30 July 2012

The Tour

Not sure how I managed it but I did go to the Tour. As soon as It was looking like we could have a winner it seemed right to go.
I only really managed one decent picture of Wiggins which was here on the Mur De Peguere
He came over the top leading the bunch and I was jumping around I nearly fell down the bank behind me.
This was the stage where he waited for Cadel after the tacks got threw on the road. I had ridden about 50 miles of the stage before I arrived on the climb and it was bedlem. I was getting cheers, screams, allez allez allez all the way up to the top and even the Gendarme brigade on the summit clapped as you arrived. There were thousands of people up there.
Twenty minutes after the riders had gone through I plummeted down the descent back to Foix at breakneck speed with a load of French club riders. It was Chaos in Foix as it was in most of the places I went.
But just to say I was there.
I will post more pictures when I get time.


This man above is probably responsible more than anyone for my obsession with professional bike racing. Freddy Maertens was the real deal when I was growing up. I finally met him on a detour to the Tour Of Flanders museum in Oudenaarde. He was a brilliantly gifted rider. He could sprint as fast as anyone. He nurtured Sean Kelly in his early years and won a lot of races. He fell on hard times after he finished racing but in the late seventies and early eighties he was the man.
He rode for Flandria which after Raleigh was my favourite team. You never got much information at that time but odd snippets came through. I remember reading about him when I first got my Raleigh racing bike. I polished it most days and pretended I was a racer.
Freddy was in the museum and casually told me he won the World Championship twice.
Of course I already knew that and responded by telling him that he was as quick as Mark Cavendish. He replied "We will never know eh".
The museum is a nice place to visit and I have wanted to go there for years. I might even go back and do the Tour Of Flanders route.

The first time I ever heard of him was when he won all those stages in the Tour De France. I even had to look it up.
Eight ( YES ) Eight stage wins.
Embroiled in controversy from the early years until he retired. That was and still is Freddy.
Even Kelly admitted he was the fastest man he ever raced with.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012


 Mark Cavendish has a bit of a reputation for not being able to climb the high mountains which in my eyes is total rubbish. He is actually a pretty good climber. As he came over the Tourmalet he looked pretty impressive. Mr Eisel may have helped him a bit but to be fair he was climbing well. Maybe not the standard of a true climber but definitely able to hold his own further down the peloton.
I did offer to throw water over him but he declined.


 Yep its that time of year when every run you do off road leaves you with a scratch or a rash. Fear not as its all part of the seasons that we run through. How much does it hurt though when you plough through some thorns. Its just the worst thing. Every night I must get some kind of cut or graze or rash which results in another night of itching or patching up. Roadies dont know what they are missing. 

Monday, 23 July 2012

Great Hucklow Fell Race

More about the Tour De France later. I arrived back and decided to do the Great Hucklow Fell Race. After riding 20 odd Cols my running legs felt very strange. I think I may have managed 6th which I was happy about. What a lovely registration sign. I think it may have been a fiver actually. The race was a tough one and I didnt use fell shoes which was a mistake. A good turnout and a banana and a flapjack after.

Finally I pay my respects

I have wanted to climb Mount Ventoux for more years than I can remember. On the way down to the Tour De France I headed over to Bedoin and cycled up the famous mountain. Everyone knows the story of Tom Simpson. He was a brilliant rider who tragically died on the slopes of the Ventoux. The mountain indeed lived up to its reputation. It was over 30degrees and very windy on the top. I purposely climbed it pretty quick wanting to get a feel what it was like on that fateful day in the tour all those years ago.

I found it pretty tough but managed to climb it in the 39x23 gearing. Its a hard pull up and goes on forever with the heat like a furnace coming first off the road and then off the rocks as you come out of the forest. Ten minutes on the top then I freewheeled back down to Tommy's memorial stone. ( There is now a Pete Bland bumbag there). I then blasted back down to Bedoin at crazy pace. A couple of hours riding on the flat roads around Carpantras and then I called it a day and started the drive down to the Pyreneese.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Its that way Badger

Badger seems to have an inbuilt compass in his head. All Border Collies have this I am sure of that. You only have to take him on a route once and he will remember it months and months later. So If your planning on doing lots of recces just show your dog the map and off it will take you. Forget the quickest lines. The dog will happily guide you around. All for just a few dog treats.
Seriously though he is the perfect running partner.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Can you think of anywhere better

The Screes above Wasdale overlooking Wastwater
It does not get better than that

Monday, 2 July 2012

Fed up with it yet

So tonight I set off on the bike. 54miles later after having done a few big climbs and clocking just under 19mph I arrived back at base totally soaked. I think I have had only two nice weather rides this year.
Can we actually have anymore rain.
Tonight I was riding in possibly the worse rain I have ridden in for 10 years.
Roll on August

When you need that little bit of

I very often will think of the people that inspire me in our sport. Joss Naylor the Wasdale shepherd has through his exploits possibly been responsable for more runners getting into fellrunning than anything else. I first heard about him years ago and his achievements never fail to amaze me. He is in his seventies now but still out there doing it. If I am struggling to motivate myself I very often will read a chapter of Joss's book or a tale about one of his massive days out on the fells.