LEJOG day 3 Tiverton to Chepstow

So the day began with the usual routine up for 630am ๐Ÿ˜ฆ breakfast which has now become a routine of porridge ( varying quality) scrambled egg and mushrooms as trying to avoid salty food which would make me thirsty . It’s then back to the room powder ones nose, fill the water bottles , shoes on then bags down into the van and wait until the 7 of us are ready and off we go generally leaving by 8am . Normally at a crazy speed for the 1st hour as enthusiasm gets the better of us . We then tend to wisen up and become a group of 4 for the remainder of the day . Liam who is suffering with his knee , Glenn who is having Achilles issues and Clem who is a machine . He has in built cruise control and will sit at any speed for any length of time ……….. An amazing machine we call him the Cleminator !!!
Today was to be a special day for the Cleminator as we had to do a fly past the school his daughter attends in Wellington . This turned out to be an amazing occasion as they all lined the streets clapping and cheering ๐Ÿ™‚ Am guessing it’s not too often some cycling royalty come to town ๐Ÿ™‚
Once again we are blessed with the weather for what is a fast and flat day along the A38 towards Bristol before we headed right towards Cheddar . I have ridden many miles around This area and they are fantastic quiet fast roads so really enjoyed us all flying along in a line taking turns at the front ……. Cracking stuff .
As always just when your getting into the swing of it comes a huge hill . Shapham hill to the south of Cheddar Gorge .Not only was This steep it meant dicing with death with the amount of quarry lorries struggling up.
Our reward at the top was another Discover Adventure lunch mmmm yummy .
The afternoon brought us flying along towards Bristol on a cycle path alongside the M5 . Whilst Riding across the huge flyover we heard what sounded like a gun shot expecting to be taken out by a sniper we were more than happy to realise it was my back tyre that had punctured phew !!! Tube changed with the help of my wingman Glenn and onward towards the Severn Bridge via what must be the most awful busiest lorry jammed road by the docks …… Scary stuff.

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Eventually making our way to the Severn Bridge which we decided was the older one of the two bridges we stopped for a few pics and entered Wales.

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Once in Wales we got lost !!! Incredibly this involved having to climb an 11% hill to retrace our steps …… Not a happy feeling but worth it when we arrived at our stunning hotel in Chepstow for a well earned pint of cider .

Day 3 stats
91.9 miles 6.23hrs 3839ft 14.4mph
Punctures 1

Ps what’s the difference between clotted cream and ice cream ?? Apparently if your a northerner you can’t distinguish between the two !!!

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LEJOG day 2 Liskeard to Tiverton

Day 2
After much scrabbling around I managed to get another lever from my sons bike ( thanks Niall you will get yours back when mine is fixed I promise ) dropped down the 15 odd miles from Plymouth to Liskeard last night and huge thanks to Ben from Discover Adventure who swapped it late last night.
So yesterday evening was full of agonising leg cramps and an awful nights sleep in a roasting hot room so not the best recovery. But on the whole the body is holding up quite nicely.
Today’s ride took us up and out of Liskeard and on to Dartmoor . No problem for a local man like myself must be my time to shine surely ??? Nope what a long hard day in blazing sunshine ( not moaning )
Many of the roads we cycled today I knew very well and I think to be honest with hindsight that’s not an advantage .
I knew what was coming and when not good mentally I think I would rather not know .

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Pork hill …… Ugh!!
Mortenhampstead ….. Ugh
All horrible but a huge sense of achievement and more often then not rewarded by a nice fast descent ๐Ÿ™‚

Lunch was to bad had by post bridge on Dartmoor in the village hall . Where we were able to witness our 1st comedy fall from a Scottish amateur stunt man named Glenn. In a car park full of fellow cyclists he pulls in and falls straight off …… The joy of clip in pedals ๐Ÿ™‚

More hills in the stunning sunshine and an amazing wooded and winding descent towards Exeter and the miles were flying by . Last water stop of the day was high above Exeter then it was a fast ride along the valley into Tiverton for our overnight hotel. Some rest ,recuperation a few pints of cider and a trip to tesco for suntan lotion !!!

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Day 2 stats
67.6 miles 5hrs33 6509ft 12.2mph
Comedy falls witnessed 1 punctures 0

Ps huge thanks to the random lady who donated ยฃ5 to my charity in the premier inn car park this morning

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LEJOG day 1 Lands End to Liskeard

So its been a while since I blogged and it was never my Intention to leave it so long . When I started this blog I was going to update every single evening during the trip . However this became an impossible task as after 6-7 hours in the saddle climbing endless ft ,riding endless miles, attempting to recover and eating a massive amount of calories I found it was impossible to find the time.
So now a few weeks has passed since we finished the trip the dust has settled and the sores have very nearly healed I will summarise the trip in a few posts.

DAY 1 Lands End to Liskeard

They day began with an early breakfast in Penzance with 20 Ish fellow riders . A nervous morning was even more nervous as a few too many Guinness’s were drunk the night before . We then had a short coach trip to the start where we were to meet the remainder of the riders and collect our bikes for a few pics.

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At around 830 we were off , despite my best efforts to take it easy I found myself hanging on the back of a fast group this was never the plan !! After about 15 miles a few of us realised we were never going to be able to sustain this pace for 1000 miles so dropped off the back and fell into our own pace . Thus a group was formed which would pretty much last the entire trip.
Short sharp hills seemed to be the order of the day energy sapping but manageable riding with some great descents and surprisingly some long flat sections too .
We were also rewarded with some gorgeous sea views and St michaels Mount looked stunning in the sunshine I had arranged for everyone as a reward for training all winter ๐Ÿ™‚

Now came the bad news just as we approached the climb out of Truro my bike broke !!! Unbelievable it chose day 1 of my adventure to go tits up !!! Thanks then dont break during a training ride when it would be easy to sort !!! The Sti lever ratchet had failed which controlled the chain rings!! I managed to slacken the cable so I was stuck in the middle ring but I must admit it made the final 30 Ish miles an absolute horror and nightmare . I never normally used my granny ring during training but had decided on this trip it would be invaluable due to the mileage and trying to save the knees from too much brutality , boy did I miss it !!!
I limped on to liskeard for our 1st overnight stop after a rather good buffet lunch from Discover Adventure and some much needed encouragement from my new pals . And a few visits en route from some Cornish friends . I seem to have gained a reputation from the group as knowing everyone on Cornwall ๐Ÿ™‚
Day 1 stats:
74.2 miles 6152ft 5hr25 min 13.7mph

Ps
Broken bike – 1

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The hills have sighs

God darn can’t believe in a little over a weeks time I will set off on my Lands End to John O Groats charity cycle ride and to be honest I am pooping myself .
It has always seemed so far away , whenever I have appealed on Facebook for sponsors it’s always been ” in 4 months time I am………..” But now it’s real, really real !!!!! And to be honest I am a million miles away from being ready .I will reach the start with 700 miles in my legs but feel like I need a lot more but maybe it’s one of those things your never quite sure your ready for ๐Ÿ™‚ . It also feels very strange knowing that all the training is done and now I just have to sit here until we start . How that exactly works I really don’t know??? Maybe a little spin on Saturday If that’s allowed ??

There has been lots of talk about legendary hills that we will have to climb and one in particular on the edge of Dartmoor called Pork hill. Now I know this hill and to be honest it’s a cracker but once the route was sent to me for the 1st two days I went into panic mode . I started to visualise the route and much of it in Cornwall I have driven at various times and there are hills I am absolutely convinced no man or woman could ever possibly ride up !!!
So the priority is to ” survive ” the 1st two days and get on to the Somerset levels and recover . God this is gonna be so tough I wish I was a whippet mountain goat cyclist !!!

In other news I now realise that my Crud catcher 2 race mudguards don’t fit on Maddie with 25mm tyres (wet bum predicted) and my new cxp33 rear wheel has a slight wobble ( thanks mavic ) which will need to be sorted before Le Grand Depart !!! Have also ordered new cleats and some knee warmers ( not cos I need them have just always wanted them ) .
So from an equipment point of view am ready ……….. I think.
Suppose I better get this Blogs weather moan done . The long range forecast is not looking too clever certainly for the 1st couple of days but at least the wind has turned SW so that’s good news . But I guess it will be what it will be but am sure it would be so much more fun in the sun than the rain ๐Ÿ™‚
So it’s focus focus focus from here on in and think of the two amazing charities that with all your help I will raise an amazing amount of money for . There was a time when I was really struggling with the constant nagging and being a pest and I could have quite easily jacked it in but then suddenly a tenner here and there from Someone you don’t expect it from and it’s amazing the boost it can give ๐Ÿ™‚
Thanks everyone I really appreciate it and I know the charities do too. In fact St Luke’s rang me on Friday and they were so full of enthusiasm it was inspiring.
If you are still looking to donate your hard earned pennies the links are on this site ๐Ÿ™‚

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Let the wind blow high let the wind blow low

So I sit here 3 weeks away from the start of my Lands End to John o groats charity cycle ride and I must admit to feeling 110% ready ……. Hahahaah not a bloody chance!!!!
Not only have I put weight on ( was never in the master plan) but I have to date only cycled 560 ish miles this year.
To put that into context that’s about 5-6 days on my lejog trip . Hmmmm not looking good then !!!
Anyway the revised plan is now to get fit and lose weight on the way instead, clever eh???
I originally aimed to get to the start line with approx 1000 miles in my gorgeously tanned and defined legs . But plans ain’t for keeping everyone knows that!!!
The reason for my lack of miles is as always the weather. Yes it’s been dry for a long while but god darn the last 2 months have been so cold and that EVIL easterly wind had been biting . We have regularly been getting 30-35mph winds and to be honest it isn’t fun .
In recent weeks I have managed to get some nice reliable mavic cxp33 wheels and also some Grand Prix 4000s tyres specifically for the trip . So gone are the sweet light weight wheels and tubeless tyres ….. For now ๐Ÿ™‚
As always things are never straight forward. The new wheels and tyres arrive from Germany in a few days and I mount them on Maddie . The tyres came highly recommended from many people including an around the world cyclist who swears by them . Oh yes they made me swear many times !!! 1st ride 3 punctures , 2nd ride 2 punctures !!! Yep they are fab ๐Ÿ˜ฆ , now as expected this bothered me as if i can have 5 punctures in about 60 miles it makes for a long old trip to John o groats . After much investigation I realised I had the Wrong rim tape on the wheels …….. Oooooops problem solved ๐Ÿ™‚ and sorry to tesco for slagging off your inner tubes ( although in fairness I was angry and they do feel a bit crap)

Bath 100 this weekend so some decent miles before I taper ( haha ) for the last two weeks .
Am excited and scared for my lejog trip but am sure it will be an amazing journey ๐Ÿ™‚

Huge thanks to everyone that has sponsored me so far . Still quite a way from my targets but am hoping once I get my arse rolling ( not literally have not put on that much weight) the money will come rolling in ๐Ÿ™‚

Ps where the f*#k did me troosers go??

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Moan 500 miles I would moan 500 more

It’s time for a confession my name is Neil and I like to moan , not just any type of moaning as generally am a happy go lucky kind of chap or at least I like to think I am.

Nope my moaning is moaning whilst cycling . I moan the roads too bumpy ,the cars are too close ,the roads too wet , it’s too slippy , it’s too flat ( odd I know but riding on the flat can be bloody hard work) , I have been known too gasp and grunt out loud when I see a large hill looming on the horizon but mostly my moans are weather related , it’s too cold , it’s too wet , it’s too windy ,the winds in my face !!! Raining is by a large margin my worst moan and no matter how positive I try to look it never works . The fact is if it rains I need to stop and put on a jacket and when the rain eases I need to stop to take it off . Now this takes time and as I haven’t perfected doing this whilst moving it prompts me to moan !! I also know if I do try this whilst moving like the pros do there is only one possible outcome and that outcome involves me in a heap on the floor with a broken bike and moaning !!!

I have also realised by signing up for my latest trip to cycle the entire length of the UK I have 1000 miles or 12 days of moaning to do . What an amazing opportunity to get some serious moaning done my only concern is will I run out of stuff to moan about ?

I have now had the chance to get to know a few of my fellow entrants on this ride via Facebook and forums and I can feel there may be some common ground in that many of them confess to being moaners too . So either I have struck it lucky having picked a trip with some fellow moaners or its cyclists in general are born to moan?

One thing I really can’t moan about is the fantastic amount of support people have started to show by the amount of sponsorship that has started coming in.
I have raised nearly ยฃ900 . It really makes me proud that people are willing to give up there hard earned cash for my chosen charities and to show support to what really is a tough challenge , and I thank you all . Remember every single penny goes to the charities prostate uk and st Luke’s hospice ๐Ÿ™‚

Bumz72to 70070 prostate UK
Legz72 to 70070 St. Luke’s hospice

Quick update on training this year which has been halted by sever man flu in the last week ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Mileage to date : 220 miles
Time in saddle : 16hrs 42 mins
Elevation gain : 11522ft

Right am off to the garage to practice putting on a rain jacket whilst on the turbo trainer …….. One step at a time ๐Ÿ™‚

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The wheels on the bike go round and round

So time for an update and the 1st one of 2013 , the year I will actually cycle a 1000 miles the length of the country……. Holy poop scary!!!
The wheels on the bike go round and round sadly not as often as they should be ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
So a quick summary so far I have managed a grand total of 102 miles in January (WARNING WEATHER MOAN ALERT) which considering the shocking weather we have been experiencing is in itself a god darn miracle .
The amount of discipline and self motivation this whole event requires is astounding and that appears to be my weakness . When it’s freezing cold with icy Horizontal rain I would much rather stay in bed …… Hey am just being honest I am only human you know ๐Ÿ™‚
So lets hope and perhaps even pray that we have some milder weather soon or I become super human and find some enthusiasm to get my sorry arse out of bed and start putting some decent miles in as my longest ride this year is 40 miles . By march I need to be doubling that on a regular basis .

As for my my other preparations I am making good headway I have now booked accommodation for the night before I leave in Penzance , I have also solved the conundrum of returning back to Devon once the ride is completed. Having checked out the prices for trains & planes I have settled on an automobile. Yep that’s right like some kind of crazy fool i have booked a hire van and will endure the 2 day drive back complete with Lenny Henry style stop over near Wigan . MADNESS I TELL YOU MADNESS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Today’s final thought ……. 12 days without a lay in is gonna be blinking tough so please take the time to sponsor me via the links on this page Remember every penny raised goes straight to the charities as all the costs involved in my trip (approx ยฃ1600) are paying paid by myself !!!!

Today’s another final thought……. Thanks to everyone that has already sponsored me I am eternally grateful for every penny raised for Prostate uk and St Luke’s hospice

Prostate uk

St Luke’s hospice

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I Resolve to be resolute with my resolutions

So the 31st of December is upon us once more and as is tradition its that time of year when we look back and review the previous 12 months normally with a sense of disappoinment and look forward to the next year with the excitement and mystery of the unknown.

When I look back to 2012 in a cycling sense it looks like a year of let downs , mostly caused by the terrible weather. My original target of 2000 miles was amended to 1700 miles and i failed to reach that target missing it by a measley 11 miles !!! If only i had gone for one more ride Grrrrrrrrr!!! Easier said than done of course and as it stands today I have not ridden since the 9th of December. Pretty poor show really but who wants to ride in the rain , certainly not me.

That said I did complete Bath Sportive,Wiggle Isle of Wight sportive and also the Lands End Sportive all of which I really enjoyed. I also have a fantastic new cycling buddie who is really able to push me (not literrally) so thanks Uncle J. I raise a glass to you and your new found bicycle parts buying OCD illness which i too suffer from.

A few other disappointments this year is the constant battle for sponsorship I am sure it seemed easier in 2010 when I cycled from London to Paris or maybe people have become bored of me asking or maybe its the financial climate ??? Who knows ???ย 

When you consider the huge outlay for me to self fund this trip which is currently looking to be around ยฃ1600 ish ish!!!ย Then the knock backs from huge companies when you look for help not in financial support but a discount on a hotel or car hire is sometimes hard to take but hey ho. Have they lost their charitable ways or maybe its wrong of me to expect them to offer discounts ??ย 

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A few things i am certain of is

A. In 16 weeks time I will be cycling from Lands End to John O groats (even if I only raise ยฃ300)

B. I think this will be my last charity adventure

Blimey that sounds like a proper grumpy arse rant ;-(

Anyway onwards and looking forward to 2013 a few resolutions as always which I expect will last a few days haha then be totally forgotten about ๐Ÿ˜‰

1. target mileage 3000 (easy peasy considering lejog is over 1000 miles)

2.20lb weight loss before April 30th ( d day for Lejog and any pound lost is one I dont have to drag the entire length of our country)

3. give up smoking (sorry mum)

Erm think thats it for now hopefully next Blog may show a bit more positivity and maybe even that I have actually been cycling , Maybe my new Shimano Ultegra brake calipers will inspire me to get out there………..nope wont want to get them wet ย hahahahhaย 

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PS dont forget I can be sponsored atย 

http://www.justgiving.com/neil-bradleyLEJOG1

or

http://www.justgiving.com/neil-bradleyLEJOG2

ย 

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If I had ยฃ1 for every time someone said……………

So am back in blogville after a short rest mostly because its been non stop rain since I completed the Strava 79 mile challenge and my bikes have been mostly redundant. In fact its not been non stop rain its been quick get some timber and build an Ark style weather!! Yeah cant beat a good weather moan!!!

Now since the Olympics and Tour win of Mr Wiggins Wiggo “my ” sport or pastime has become very mainstream. This is of course a great thing but it does have its drawbacks. Firstly I think bikey bits have become more expensive . Obviously this is a bad thing for us ย  serial purchasers.

The other drawback is the average man on the street now has been blessed with a little bit of cycling knowledge. Yep thats right they have actually heard of a pro cyclist, and if I had a pound for everytime I have heard someone shout ” Geddon Wiggo” at me I would have about ยฃ3 now.

I know myself and Mr wiggins Wiggo have a great deal in common , not least our weedy builds and silky pedalling style. We also share the same sideburns. But for the record I HAD MINE 1ST!!!!! YES AM ALL SHOUTY COS AM FED UP HEARING IT !!! YES MINE WERE THERE 1ST!!! HE COPIED ME !!! I INSPIRED HIM !! HE WON BECAUSE OF ME!! THAT MEDAL IS MINE !!! HE OWES ME !!! HAND IT OVER MR WIGGINS WIGGO!!!

Mr wiggins wiggo with my sideburns and medal

Mr wiggins wiggo with my sideburns and medal

Oh and another thing Lands End To John O Groats is not all up hill . Its just the way the map is orientated!!

Anyway few stats for year to date whilst I get over my little rant ……………..

1653 miles

102637ft assent

134hrs 33mins

PS please sponsor me am beginning to think people dont like me !!! Two fantastic charities will raise much needed funds from me hauling my arse across this crazy little island of ours ๐Ÿ˜‰

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49.6 MPH Darn you!!!

After a week of very little cycling (0 miles oooops) this Sunday was pencilled in for a biggie. I think we will say last week was a taper week. Hey if it works for Team GB am sure its ok for me to disguise my laziness as a taper.

So my biggie this weekend mostly came about due to the Strava BMC 79 challenge , strangely enough this involved cycling 79 miles in one ride at any point of this weekend , and the prize for completing this ride is a digital badge !!!

Now a digital badge sounds fairly lame doesnt it but A. lets be honest am never going win anything worthy by cycling at the grand old age of 40 B. I have to date not completed a single challenge on Strava , including The Specialized Climbing from March which if it was still running I wouldnt have climbed the required 105000ft. Some riders managed to triple that climbing?????

So this was the one for me I have cycled 124 miles in one ride so hey this was going to be a snip!! However what I didnt realise at the time was I hadnt ridden more than 73 miles this year and also none of my previous biggies had been down here in the horrendous terrain of Devon.

The route was planned via Garmin and Uncle Jon was to be my ride partner. So all was well although Uncle Jon had never ridden more than 42 miles.

So all set for the off on a freezing frost bitten November morning. The route headed out of the Big Smoke and east towards Ivybridge which is relatively flat where I was to meet Uncle Jon then it would be on to our usual weekend loop and up on to Dartmoor.

Dartmoor for those that arent aware is stunning with views to die for although in fairness it wasnt my intention to do the whole dying thing just yet. We made haste to Burrator and stopped for a few pics on the reservoir then it was a circuit around dodging the 1000’s of joggers then the plan was up to Princetown which from past experience I know is a hellish route with steep, sharp hills.

At this point Uncle Jon who has quite obviously been doping with Mr Armstrong came into his own showing me how to climb hills with a vigour never quite matched by myself and in all honestly probably never will either. But then he weighs about 2 stone and combined with his EPO intake i never stood a chance. Hopefully the UCI will hear of his exploits and he will get a lifetime ban!!!

Next stop was Princetown to Tavistock , now this is my kind of cycling long sweeping descents with open views of all the bends. 49.6 Mph !!!! But my record was 50.0 Mph darn you Maddie!!

Into Tavistock where by all accounts i am a living legend for my hockey exploits and one day they will take down the Sir Francis Drake statue and replace it with one of me I am sure. In all honesty by Tavistock I had just about had enough, My bum ached my legs ached even my aches ached. But Strava had to be beaten.

Onwards Tavistock to Yelverton was amazing cos yayaya its all up hill !!! Which meant seeing very little of Lance Armstrongs new training partner so I plodded along at my pace to arrive at Yelverton for a quick Full fat Coke (mmmmm naughty) and a quick breather.I ย had this Strava malarkey beaten now , with my belly full of Coke gas we flew along the last 7-8 miles back into the City that never sleeps. YEEEESSSSS it was done!!!

Well actually it wasnt as I still had another 16 miles to find so Uncle Pantani headed back to Ivybridge whilst I concocted a plan to find the flattest 16 miles I could find. ย This involved a few local flatish loops and seemed to take forever. But eventually I did it I am now a proud owner of a BMC 79 ย challenge completed Digital badge…… does life get any better ??

81.5 miles

6352ft of climbing

3695 calories

6hrs 24 mins

12.7 mph average

max speed 49.6 Mph

Dont forget to sponsor me …… this training is bloody hard work !!!!!

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