Next year’s ride

It’s almost six months since our intrepid little gang of very amateur cyclists set off from Hampton Court on our jaunt down through France to St. Emilion, but I’ve bored you about that before.

Ever since we finished the ride there’s be an appetite to do it all again next year, and after mulling over the potential route for a while, I think I’ve finally settled on it…and it’s something of a cycling classic. While starting in England was nice to do this year, to a man the lads weren’t that bothered about including a UK stage in next year’s ride. The lighter and more respectful traffic along with the better surface of French roads and, frankly, the adventure of being in foreign climes on our bikes has resulted in an agreement to both start and finish in France.

But we still needed a proper ‘journey’, so the one we’re going to try is cycling from the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean. If you click on the little map above you’ll get a clearer view of the proposed route…and those of you who know your geography (or, indeed, your cycling!) will also know that it’s rather hillier than this year’s ride. In fact, it takes in two of the Tour de France’s most historic climbs, the Col du Tourmalet and the Col d’Aubisque.

There’s a lot of excitement amongst the group, plus not a small amount of anxiety. These aren’t small hills! I get particularly nervous when I look at the route profile and the numbers on the left-hand side of it. In this year’s ride, we didn’t get more than 200m above sea level…and 200m doesn’t even appear on the scale of next year’s profile! And given I live in one of France’s flattest regions, training might be an issue…

Still, life’s nothing without challenges. We’re starting the ride on May 3rd 2009, which is four months before my 40th birthday, so this might be a last hurrah before a steady slip into sedentry middle age…

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5 thoughts on “Next year’s ride

  1. Matt Ravden says:

    Hang on, doesn’t the Canal du Midi go from the Med to the Atlantic? In which case, how does a Canal go uphill? Do you see where I’m heading with this? There must be some secret flat route from one coast to the other! Just follow the canal …

  2. Mark says:

    That’s hardly the spirit mate is it? It’s supposed to be a challenge…not ‘please sponsor me…I’m about to cycle along a towpath with some mates for a bit. Give generously.”

    No pal, it’s the mountains for us.

    Wanna drive the van?

  3. Matt Ravden says:

    No but I’m tempted to cycle …

  4. Mark says:

    I think you definitely should! We could have a spring training camp down at your place.

  5. Matt says:

    So, mate, if you’re up for an extra cyclist, I think I’m in. Been looking at bikes. What do you reckon … Bianchi, Conago, DeRosa, Wilier, Pinorello ….?

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