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Now retired but busy still living..

Sunday 30 June 2013

#10in10 First Reflections....

Dave 'The Broom' at Work...!

One of the Great Meals prepared by Lorenzo...
It's now just over a week since we returned from the Ten Countries in Ten Days (10in10) ride and I thought that it was about time I started a short series of posts here at Purpletraveller looking back on the ride and various aspects concerning it's success's and failure's.....plus a few facts and figures...

It must be about five years ago now when after seeing a programme on television concerning cycling I first became aware of the Cyclists Chapel at the top of The Ghisallo climb near the shores of Lake Como in Italy..... I can remember after watching the programme turning to Anne and saying "I would love to go there...I would love to cycle from the UK to visit it, what a ride that would be." Anne replied  "Well do it then."
A seed was sown....it became another ride on my to do list filed in the back of my mind....but it wasn't until last October when I completed my 10,000 mile self set mileage target that everything clicked into place to make 2013 the right year to do it.....

I had made a comment on twitter concerning reaching my 10k target and asking for suggestions for another cycling goal to work towards.... @JonJoynes who at that time I had never met replied with "What about ten countries in ten days" I liked the idea and the more I thought about it the more I realised that it would be an ideal way to fulfill my dream of cycling from the UK and completing the Ghisallo....

Jon and I met up, as the more he thought about it the more he felt that he would like to do it too...The plans were set...Dave Vaughan was recruited as support driver having been involved in a number of my previous supported rides...John Donoghue expressed an interest in giving it a spin and also a friend of his Lorenzo Maraspin said he wanted to do it too.... 

Eight months later...it's done!!

Two big thank you's to be made.......

I must say a big thank you to Dave Vaughan for all the back up he gave the team.... Logistics on this sort of project is always difficult but it was made easier by having Dave support us....Indeed at the point it became obvious mid way through the ride that the team would need to split into two sections in order to succeed, without his support the 10in10 attempt would probably have ended  there and then.

The other big thank you must be made to Lorenzo who took on the role of Team Chef from the middle of the ride...
The meals that he managed to produce for us were the best that I have ever had on any cycling trip  I have been on...... Pasta...Rice...etc all the right kind of food that we needed to keep us properly fuelled for the task we had taken on....

Over the next few postings I will be looking at our nutrition in general...as well as training for the ride...the Highs and Lows of the trip....plus more photos etc........

Tuesday 18 June 2013

10in10 The Ghisallo Climb.

Today was the finale addition to our 10in10. A ride around part of Lake Como .....a ferry trip to Bellagio....and a climb up to the cyclists chapel on the signature climb of the Giro de Lombardia.
The temp today was well in excess of 100f and sadly I was the only one of the team who cycled to the top.
The others were picked up by Dave and taken to the top to meet up with me.
In the chapel we left a photo of Joanne Rutherford who sadly died of cancer earlier this year....we had carried the photo from the UK especially to leave in the famous cyclists chapel.
After a visit to the chapel we then visited the cyclists museum next door.
Today was for me a dream come true....to cycle from the UK and then ride this famous climb in the searing Italian heat....with the sweat pouring off me and all over my bike was the ultimate cycle memory....
I will share more of this and the rest of this great adventure when I get back to the UK.

Monday 17 June 2013

Stage Ten.

We did it !
We crossed over the Spurgen Pass  and  into Italy mid aafternoon. Quite a bit of snow on the pass.
We are now at Lake Como and were out for a celebration meal and a few drinks this evening.
More info over the next few days and a full review will follow upon return to the UK.
Ten countries in Ten days.....I still can't quite believe that we have done it......

Sunday 16 June 2013

Stage Nine

Famous last words from the last posting about the easy 90 mile day we had in front of us.....we didn't take into account today's heat....33c for most of the day. We found it energy draining .
JD had an accident today...he hit a rut in the road which caused him to go over the handlebars. He hit the road with a thump but other than cuts and grazes on his elbow and knee he is OK . Minor damage to bike.
We completed Austria and Liechtenstein today so just need to reach Italy tomorrow. Just one little obstacle in our way....the mountain range seen in one of the photos here. Our route is up the Splugen Pass....we were speaking to a local club rider today and he told us a week ago it was covered in snow but should be ok for us tomorrow. We are all very worried about the climb.I will give you more details about the climbs and facts and figures plus more photos when I get back to the UK..until then tomorrow will be success or failure for our 10in10 objective.
Oh one last thing...we found ourselves mixed up with the Tour of Switzerland mobile village today....quite exciting for us bike riders and again photos when we get home.

Saturday 15 June 2013

Stage Eight

This morning started with a big climb. We had allowed ourselves 3hrs to do it and actually completed it in just over 1hr. I didn't count the switchbacks as I went up but I can tell you the views were spectacular and the cycling was absolutely brilliant. In actual fact today was the best days cycling so far.
We are now in Switzerland as can be seen in the photo of Jon at the border. We crossed over the river into Switzerland at a wooden bridge shown in the other picture.
We are currently camped alongside Lake Instances.
Tomorrow we have an easy day of 90miles and only a total ascent of 1700ft over the entire days distance.
The following day....day 10.... well that's going to be a totally different story......

Friday 14 June 2013

Stage Seven

<p>Last nights rain had cleared by the morning and although we had some clouds it remained dry. We decided to take a middle route and are now in the Black Forest at a place called Simonswold.
Gradient today were killers at the end of the days ride. Tomorrow we start off with even steeper gradients and an even bigger day.
This ride isn't in the bag yet and the next three days are crucial to us completing this within the ten days limit.
Photos today show the view from our site and Jon checking the route.

Thursday 13 June 2013

Stage Six

Today was a day of decisions. JD and Lorenzo decided that they were unable to continue without compromising the success of the 10in10. They felt that although they could continue riding they were unable to maintain the pace required in order for us to achieve our objective of 10countries in 10days.
Both the guys will continue to ride about 50 miles a day but will not continue with Jon and I.
They both have new tasks though to assist in our success. Lorenzo is producing fantastic meals for us and JD is now helping Dave with navigation and logistics.
Obviously if Jon and I do make it,to Lake Comp OK we will reform as a full team to ride around the Lake and up to the Chapel....
Today the weather was very very hot. Energy shaping heat!!. When we arrived at the campsite the weather blew up into a frenzy with strong winds and then rain.
We are currently camped about 10 miles west of Strasbourg.
Tomorrow we have another decision to make...over a mountain with a shorter distance....or follow a river for almost twice the distance. It depends on weather....so we won't decide till the morning.

Wednesday 12 June 2013

Stage Five

<p>&lt;p&gt;We are now in France after also cycling through part of Germany. We will be dipping in and out of these countries tomorrow as well. This means we are at 6in5 and halfway through the ride.&lt;br&gt;<br>
It's taking its toll on some of the team. Jon seems to have lost<br>
strength in his left hand making gear changing difficult &amp; the daily mileage and ascending each day is pushing the team to their limits.....
As I said...today was a long day...we have just had a meal cooked by Lorenzo so now it's off for some shut eye.

Tuesday 11 June 2013

Stage Four

We are now in Luxembourg and glad to have moved out of Belgium. The standard of the roads improved as soon as we crossed the border. Today started with a nice hill of  about three miles kicking up to 18% in one section....just what you don't need first thing..the hills carried on throughout the day taking us through some wonderful countryside and pure cycling heaven, swooping down from the tops into stunning wooded riverside sections on totally smooth surfaces...what a difference to Belgium.
Tonight we are eating out at the campsite restaurant. The Campsite is in a place called Larochette.
We are now at four in four.....we will be pushing on tomorrow towards our 10in10 objective.

Monday 10 June 2013

Stage Three

Cobbles....cobbles.....cobbles. That is what we have had today for about 50 of today's 96 miles. Don't ask why anyone would want to cycle on them...Hats off to those who race on them.
Our teeth were rattling...necks ached...bikes shaking. Total pain!!
We will all be glad to leave Belgium...As we have travelled south in the country they seem to be less bike friendly and the roads today were awful with plenty of gravel on bends etc.
Loads of long hills at about 7%-9%.
We are now in Rochefort and tomorrow will se us in Luxembourg.
The team are in good spirits and everyone, although tired, are holding together well.

Sunday 9 June 2013

10in10 Stage two.

When we landed at Rotterdam it was dull and cold. Before we could start riding the bikes we had to put cold weather kit on. It really felt as if it was November. It wasn't until this afternoon that the weather started to warm up.
Quote of the day was from JD who came out with "it's so quiet it feels like a Sunday" our reply "it is a Sunday John".
We have had a comms problem all day....no phone connections or i-net. It was only sheer luck that we managed to meet up with Dave twice during the day...the comms is almost sorted now.
Most of today's riding has been on cycle paths....not perfect due to the gravel and other rubbish which finds it's way on to the paths from the road.
We are now in Westerlo Belgium and have now cycled in three countries.
Spirits of the team are high at the moment and we are looking fo

Saturday 8 June 2013

Stage One

Well we've started the 10in10 ride. This morning we loaded the bikes on the motorhome
packed all our kit and camping gear and set off for Colchester.
Mind you even though we had tried the bikes out on the rear rack at our training camp it still took us almost an hour to sort them out.....truth be told none of us could remember the order we had decided was the best way to stack them
Anyway job was done in the end and we were dropped by Dave south of Colchester. The plan today was to have a short legspinner ride just to loosen the legs and give the bikes a shakedown to ensure that everything was running ok.
It was nice to actually get started even though all of today's ride was into a headwind. I can report that the bike and riders are all fine. Today's ride was just a thirty mile spin just to get us ready for the real distances which will start tomorrow with about 96 miles across the Netherlands and into Belgium.
We are now in the ferry queue and will be boarding in about an hour....leaving the UK at 23.15hrs. We land in Rotterdam at breakfast time tomorrow.
Hopefully by tomorrow evening we will have touched three of the ten countries.......
The picture in this post shows the lads unloading the bikes before today's legspinner...........

Friday 7 June 2013

All ready to set off....

Well, after months of talking about it, the team is ready and tomorrow the Ten Countries in Ten Days cycle ride sets off....a new adventure waiting to unfold....

We have reached the target that we set ourselves in respect of the fundraising for Cyclists Fighting Cancer.....but this doesn't mean that the fundraising now stops....No....No....No...
If you have been intending to support us but haven't got around to it yet, now is your chance..... 

Everything extra that comes in now will have the effect of turbo charging our cycling efforts, so don't hold back just empty your pockets of that loose change and click on the justgiving button on this blog and pay it in...
It is a fantastic cause that we are cycling for and all donations really are appreciated...

We will be tweeting throughout each daily stage and a review of the daily stages will be posted on this blog every evening subject only to us having a signal......

All the team have worked really hard to prepare ourselves for the 10in10 and it's not as if any of us are youngsters anymore and that makes it an even bigger challenge for us all....

Us 'oldies' take a bit longer to recover after a big day's ride, so ten days back to back without a rest day, with daily mileages up to 100miles and climbing up to 9,000ft of ascent on the latter stages of the ride really is a pretty major challenge.....

We will all be doing our very best to succeed....... 

Wednesday 5 June 2013

The New Member of the 10in10 Team.....

The New 10in10 Team Member- Como the Bear
A few weeks ago I told you here on the purpletraveller blog that the 10in10 team had lost our mechanic Steve Milsen due to unforseen circumstances.

Well I am now pleased to announce the recruitment of a new team member....COMO  the bear.

Thanks to Jon Joynes's mum who has been busy in bear production, Como will be joining us on our 10in10 trip.... Como's special job will be to show you all the various places that we will be passing through as we endeavour to achieve our ten countries in ten days challenge....

I have been told that pictures of Como will be posted on twitter and this blog throughout our ride...he will 'star' in photos on the bike....on the ferry....crossing borders....and of course at Lake Como which is where his name comes from.....

Yes Como the bear will be the star of the 10in10 ride....... Sorry JD... Not you this time!!

Monday 3 June 2013

My last ride outdoors before the 10in10........

The Bikes.....
Yesterday I did my last proper outdoor ride before I set off on the 10in10 ride which starts this coming Saturday....
I was invited by my daughter Verity and her husband Scott to join them and my two grandsons on an offroad MTB ride from their home near Wimborne to Upton House and Country Park near Poole...riding along the Castleman Trailway....

Now it must be a good twenty years since I last rode a mountain bike and I have to say that riding with my grandsons was a revelation. The youngest, Jack, at six years of age seems to have no fear at all....seeing him tackle a steep downhill on a rough rutted scree like surface with a bend at the bottom was a sight to see. 
On the flat he tended to lead me into a false sense of steady speed, because every so often his legs went into turbo power and he would shoot off at a rate of knots that even I found difficult to reel him back from.

We had a great time at the park and after a picnic they all seemed set on exhausting me with games of cricket, football and frisbee.....
A great time was had by us all and the kids showed no sign on the return journey of slowing up at all....Just what I needed on my last ride before the ten countries in ten days ride....

During this week I will be doing some short controlled sessions on the indoor bike more to keep everything moving than anything.... Lets face it, if I am not ready for the ride by now, a few more rides won't change anything......

Six weeks off.

 The visit to see the Consultant went quite well really ...   My ' numbers' have started to creep up again so I am going to be given...