It’s been a little bit like waiting for Christmas when you were a kid. My training is all done, the bike is shipped to France, and I have just had a weeks holiday to recharge the batteries. Now let the 360 mile cycling challenge that is stage 5 of the Dallaglio Flintoff 2012 Cycle Slam begin.
Tomorrow is an early morning rendez-vous at London Heathrow Terminal 5 for a flight to Luxembourg, followed by a coach transfer to Nancy – slap bang in the middle of France. Then on Tuesday we start our four days cycle route back to London, arriving back in Stratford (next to the Olympic Park) by Friday lunchtime. Me and 75 other riders – all with the same purpose in mind.
You will be able to follow my progress by a rather clever facility of Live Rider Tracking. You scroll down the list of names (with a Christian name of Paul I will probably be listed next to Paramedic Ambulance), click on my name (not the ambulance!) and see my progress on an interactive map. Tracking is the perfect way to share my journey and to make giving to the Slam easy, as there donation links to my Virgin Money Giving page from the tracking profile.
In terms of the scheduled rides and routes, on Tuesday we cover circa 100 miles riding North West from Nancy to end up at Chalons in the Champagne region of France. Then on Wednesday we continue north on another circa 100 miles ride skirting east of Paris to end up in St Quentin. Then on Thursday is the signature day, where we follow circa 100 miles route of the Paris-Roubaix cycle course, including sections riding on the famed cobbles. We finish in Lille for a short coach transfer through the Channel Tunnel. Last (but not least) on Friday is the 60 ride from Ashford to London.
And the weather forecast – not good! The first two days will be wet and (worse than that) a chilly northerly breeze means we will be riding into a direct headwind. The clouds may break up on Thursday, and Friday at present is forecast to be sunny. So the fabled “Paris in spring-time” it will not be – more like Blackpool in the winter!
But that just adds to the challenge. And with the camaraderie and support of fellow riders making it a shared experience, then it should be an interesting time for us all. Make sure you check back to my blog each night as, hotel Wi-Fi permitting, I plan to post a blog entry at the end of each day. Also don’t forget to try out the Live Tracking feature to check on my progress during each section of the ride.
And lastly, if you haven’t yet gotten around to making a donation, then please do that as well. Thank you.