Archive for the ‘charity’ Category

First and foremost, let me express my heartfelt thanks to all those that supported me through my 550 Mile Cycle Challenge. To all those who supported me through donations via my Just_Giving page I would like to say a big Thank You: both the charities (End Polio Now & Bruce Trust Barges) and I genuinely appreciate it. For those who supported me during my training and the event itself, I also say Thank You: without you, I wouldn’t have been able to make it.

I’m not to going to make out it was easy because it wasn’t. In fact it was harder than I thought it would be. The combination of daily long distances, temperatures as high as 105f and a worsening of COPD did take its toll. But there are others worse off than me, which is why I take on, and complete these challenges.

While I will write a more comprehensive account of each day, this is just a brief recount.

We left Hungerford at the allotted time (mid-day) to head for the Ferry Terminal in Portsmouth where we were to encounter our first challenge of getting 6 bicycles and 7 passengers into a 2-berth camper van along with all the associated luggage and provisions including 18 Kilo’s of Bananas(!). One big problem was that the cycle rack on the van was only designed for three bikes, but with the aid of numerous zip ties, we were able to extend the rack’s capacity to 6 . I’m not sure if we could have taken to the public highway, but for boarding a ferry, it was ideal.

2013-07-07 20.08.00

Each day thereafter brought with it, its own challenges, low points and high points. The challenges, in the main, were distances and hills combined with high temperatures. The highpoint, for us all, was the reception we received from Hungerford’s Twin Town of Ligueil: they certainly know how to lay on a barbeque and their hospitality was second to none. The low point? It has to be me being taken out by a stupid driver who clearly wasn’t yet awake. As I was navigation round a roundabout, using the well marked cycle lane, a Renault 4 failed to spot me (a great big overweight cyclists in garish cycle clothes on a garish Colnago) a turned off the roundabout taking me with it. I was only bruised and winded but with a dented pride I just lay there gathering my thoughts before getting back up and continuing with my journey.

All too soon however, the ride was over and we headed back to England and Hungerford to a fantastic welcoming committee laid on by the local Rotarians and Bruce Trust Barges plus many more well wishers, all of whom plied us with drink and cakes (I think there was sandwiches as well). And then, it was over: we all dispersed and went home to rest and then rest some more.

Now the planning starts for next years ride……

Must Stop Cycling: Must Stop Cycling. . . .

Go Podge, Go

www.justgiving.com/kevin-stirzaker

The ferry dropped us in St Malo at 07:15 (08:15 French time) having released all our bikes from the back of the van. Our first task was to locate the train station as we needed to. Get the 09:30 to Rennes as we had lost one day due to the Saturday ferry being full.

We now know that the Ferry’s were so full because there were loads of poxy cyclists coming over to see the Tour in the area.

Having found the station, found the train, hooked up the bikes in their special hooks on the trains, we all settled down for a 50 minute snooze before the cycling began.

Heading out of Rennes ( having agreed to meet the support crew, Graeme and Norman in Chateaubriante) we quickly split into two groups with one going off route while the other pair, the two old Codgers, staying on route. How smug were we.

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So, the ride down from Hungerford went pretty well having set off only a few minutes after 12:00, my first obstacle was Combe Gibett, when once again my bike realised the term Push Bike. But, after that, it was so much the better as so much of the next fez miles were either down hill or flat.

Being an uneventful, albeit slow ride, we opted to stop at Cheriton for a drink and lunch, but as always,  they had stopped doing food so we had a quick drink and set forth for the Ferry Port. This ti,e, to cut out as many busy roads as possible we opted for the back roads over Ports Down Hill via Pigeon House Lane: by now, i was too hot and bothered and caved in a little bit too quickly and climbed off to push ny bike up the hill. On reflection, it wasn’t that steep and I could probably have nade it, but hey ho, fro, here on in, it was all down hill, pqst the hospital, past the scene of the cat incident, and round the back roads to the Ferry Port.

This when the truth hit us, we had been pooked on as 7 passengers with 6 bicycles all in one camper van. Well, we did it, we placed three bikes on the outside rack then zip tied the others to then so that we had all 6 bikes hanginf oof the back. In all, these 6 bikes were probably worth in excess of 10 grand, but what the heck: We had to get on. We had a few strange looks but we got away with it 🙂

That’s about all I can say about Day 1. So what was I not ready for? The next dqy’s temperature hitting 105° F. More in next Updqte.

Go Podge, Go

www.justgiving.com/kevin-stirzaker

Am I Ready

Posted: July 5, 2013 in charity, COPD, Cycling, training
Tags: , , , , ,

I started my training proper on the 7th April and over the subsequent weeks, increased the ride mileage from the initial 14 mile ride to the longest ride at 74 miles.

Over that time, My average speed has gone up by 2.5 mph while my average heart rate has dropped from 130 to 118. These facts suggested to me that I must be at least more ready than I was for the Hungerford to Ligueil Cycle Challenge. So, when the time came for my regular respiratory test, I was quite naturally upbeat.

how misguided was I!

After numerous goes at getting my best blow into the machine, nearly passing out each time, the results came back worse than they were in March. The figures suggested that my COPD had deteriorated from moderate to severe. The nurse could see that I was clearly downbeat, especially with all my efforts over the last three months and she tried to impress upon me that irrespective of the results, the main thing was how I felt in myself and I must be doing all the right things: nevertheless, my lung performance had dropped.

disheartened? Of course I was, and very upset.

But, having had time to mull it over, I decided, I’m not going to give in. I’m going to complete the challenge: I’m going to lose even more weight: I’m going to keep on cycling; and when I can cycle no more, I shall organise and support cycle rides by whatever means I can. The one thing I’m not going to is resign myself to becoming inactive. Neither am I going to quit cycling. Now, it truly is what I live for, and Debbie of course who is just so supportive: I’m not sure what I’d do without her. And then of course there are her two boys, Matt & Nick who carry on my passion for cycling. I love them all though in slightly different ways…..

So, until the Good Lord decides otherwise, cycling shall be my driver for life. After this years ride, I start to prepare for next years ride to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day Landings. My aim is to find 70 riders. Tall order, but it’s the stake in the ground. Give me nudge if you might be interested.

Must Cycle Harder

Go Podge, Go