Wednesday, April 16, 2008

London to Paris 2008 Fundraising

Riding from London to Paris I didn't think was going to be too taxing, but the fundraising for Action Medical Research was going to be a chore and as a consequence I've been putting it off.  With only a month to go before half the minimum funds had to raised I decided to get started.  Firstly I established an online sponsorship page on Action Medical Research's website, that was easy - I then crafted an email to all my work colleagues who I've worked with over the past 10 years. To my amazement the number of people I've worked with was quite astonishing. Within 3 days after my email I raised £600; amazing. The generosity of people choked me. More money to raise but at least I've made a good start.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

London to Paris 2008 Calpe training camp cont.

London to Paris training camp in Calpe so far has been fantastic. Only a 2 and half hour flight from a wet and cold London to 20 degrees C and wonderful sun! Of late, I of have been focussing on base training with long runs under a 150 bpm however, last night I really felt the difference of the additional 10C on my heart rate. Went out for a liesurely, 12K run and keeping my heart rate below 150 bpm had me slow down significantly. Interestingly, was it the flight or the heat or even the terrain, as at home I run predominately around the flat coast line between Sandwich and Deal. However, this morning's run I felt much better and 16 K in 1 hr 15 min, I was able to complete with an average heart rate of 150 bpm. So last night I'll but down to may be the heat and the flight. Alterantively within 12 hours I've been able to physiologically adapt to the weather, possibly a mixture of the two. Off to check out the mountains now.

Friday, January 18, 2008

London to Paris 2008: Training Camp?

Cycling London to Paris over the 3-4 days covering some 300 miles I don't think is going to be a problem. However, I'm participating in a number of triathlons around the time the bike ride and this has become a concern to me, as one of my major goals this year is to complete the London Triathlon within 2 hours and 20 mins.

Currently, I'm in my base training stage and running at least 5 days a week with mileage around 40 miles/week. Cycling, I'm on my Tacx iMagic which I love; the DVDs are great I enjoy are the Alpine Classics, Mount Ventoux and for Christmas I received the Ergo Video DVD of Roth, Germany triathlon cycle route following the Rabobank team around the course. The Roth DVD is pretty tough and I struggle to keep up with the wattage particularly on the hills, but a great work out.

In attempt to escape the UK wet and cold winter, we have decided to visit Dominique's mum in Calpe Spain; a great place for a winter's training camp and I've planned a number of runs, may attempt to swim in the sea however, this time unfortunately I'm not taking my bike. A pity as there are some great climbs around the area of Calpe. In fact Quickstep often use Calpe as a base for their winter training sessions. There is a great loop which includes a Cat 1 climb and tons of hairpins and mountain views which are breath taking (see map).

Looking forward to 20oC and running and may be a dip in Calpe and more importantly Dominique's mum looking after us.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

London to Paris 2008 : May try this more competitive race next year

As I've been looking at different London to Paris races/events that people participate; I contemplated to doing this London to Paris (London to Paris Cycle Tour 2008) cycle event however, I chickened-out thinking that I would be dropped off the back before the peloton reached the outskirts of London.  Secondly, I'm keen to be in Paris when the Tour de France arrive.  It was this event the London-Paris Cycle Tour that inspired me to do such an event.

The London-Paris Cycle Tour attracts riders from all over the world, indeed, last years winner was a follow Aussie.  The event sounds great and is known for its friendly, sociable atmosphere, hard riding and great spirit!   The London-Paris Cycle Tour is advertised as an unique 3 day “Tour de France” style endurance event for amateur and cyclosportive riders. It is a "professional event for amateurs" and is the closest an amateur will feel like a "pro" having full support, rolling road closures and covering 600km in three days.

Pretty exciting however something I may consider doing next year, let's see how I go this summer as June and July is getting busy and I am concerned how I'm going to feel physically come early August. June it all starts with the Blenheim Sprint Tri, a mate at work wants to get all our families together to go up to Northampton to do the Beaver Tri (2k swim, 80k, bike and 20 k run) in July, then I'm riding London to Paris finishing end of July then the next weekend I'm doing the London Tri were my target is 2:20 min. 

Friday, January 4, 2008

London to Paris: Now these guys are amazing or just plan stupid

Over the past few weeks I've been looking at different ways to travel from London to Paris, of course there is the obvious modes of transport, planes, trains, automobiles, ferries and even some of rowed (see earlier post). However, I have came across a feat of pure endurance. I come across a book during the summer of 2007 describing the Arch to Arc by Steve Haywood and was gob-smacked, I just sat back in amazement, but then quickly continued on with my day. However, as you dig deeper into the feat of athletic endurance, this individual race is astounding. The the London to Paris Triathlon or Arch to Arc (ie Marble Arch, London to the Arc de Triomphe, Paris) has to be one of the world's toughest endurance races and consequently few people have completed it. The race consists of a 87 mile run from London's Marble Arch to Dover, followed by a swim, 21 miles, across the English channel and finally bike 180 miles, from Calais to the Arc de Triomphe. A Run, swim, bike triathlon totalling some 288 miles from London to Paris.

Let's break this down: 1. Run 87 miles, that's equivalent to running more than 3 consecutive marathons. 2. Following the ultra-marathon you lather yourself up in lard to prevent hypothermia or alternative you can wear a wetsuit however, official Channel swim crossings are not recorded if a wetsuit is employed. Then you jump in the English Channel, wetsuit or not and attempt to swim across to Calais; that's 21 miles of swimming that's equivalent to swimming the Ironman swim distance of 2.4 miles 8.75 times or 1344 laps of a 25 m pool, but added obstacle being in open water swimming across the busiest shipping lanes in the world against at times relentless tides. Following this feat, which by the way has only been completed less than 1000 times since the first recorded successful unassisted swim across the Dover Strait by Captain Matthew Webb in 1875 who took 21 hrs and 45 min. Since then the fastest recorded swim was by Petar Stoychev on 24 August 2007 who completed the crossing in an amazing 6 hrs 57 min (what a time!!). Once you have removed the lard which was preventing hypothermia you have a chance to regain for land legs, allow blood to return to head then you commence the third and final leg of the race cycling from Calais to Paris some 180 miles equivalent to only 1.6 Ironman bike leg.

According the Enduroman website, only 5 men have attempted the triathlon with 4 of them completing; Eddie Ette in the World Record time of 81 hrs 5 min, And Mouncey, Julian Crabtree and Steve Haywood. Seven further people have booked their places to attempt this amazing endurance event over the coming 18 months. All the best to those contemplating this astounding feat of endurance however, the question that most people must be asking is why and I'll explore this in a future post.

Monday, December 31, 2007

Plans for 2008: Happy New Year

Over the past month or so I've been pencilling in my event calendar for 2008; it's shaping up to be an fun year. As Steve Runner mentions in Episode 121 of his podcast Phedippidations: Life is short but long enough! Make the most of it.
24 May Fun Tri

Looking forward to a fun year.

Happy new year to all!!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

London to Paris ? Why not run Sydney to Melbourne Ultramarathon

I grew up in Melbourne, Australia and in 1983 a local shopping centre Westfield sponsored an annual Ultra Marathon from Sydney to Melbourne, claimed to be the World's Greatest Running Race, some 860 km -1060 km depending upon the year. Over two hundred people started the race in the nine years that it was held. Only fifty two percent of them finished the run! Runners from all around the world attempted the race. The concept grew out of a planned Match race between Ultra Running Greats, George Perdon and Tony Rafferty with $10 000 prize money. The inaugural race held in 1983 was won by an unknown 61 year old man called Cliff Young, who use to train in gumboots around his potato and sheep farm in Victoria. Rumour has it he trained by running around his farm rounding up his sheep (no wonder people question Australians about sheep).

Cliff ran the race at a slow loping pace and trailed the leaders for most of the course, but by denying himself sleep and running while the others slept he slowly gained on them and eventually won by a large margin. Before running the Westfield Sydney to Melbourne Ultra Marathon race he told the press that he would run for two to three days straight rounding up all of the sheep. He claimed that during the race he imagined himself rounding up his sheep and trying to outrun the storms.
Cliff become a household name following his tortoise and the hare like feat and people came from miles to see him and the other runners shuffling along the Sydney to Melbourne running course and indeed following post race tours of the country. I lived relatively close to the finish and recall seeing Cliff and other racers finishing.
Cliff died at the age of 81 in 2003.
The race was held 9 times from 1983 -1992 other winners in the nine years were Geoff Molloy, Yiannis Kouros (who won an amazing 5 times and indeed there was talk about handicapping him in an attempt to make the race competitive), Dusan Mravlje and Bryan Smith.

The modern day Pheidippides; Yiannis Kouros (Greek born Australian) aka the Running God once held and in some cases still does every men's world record from 100 to 1,000 miles and from 1 day to 10 days. Fittingly in 1991, Yiannis starred as Pheidippides in the movie A Hero's Journey about the history of marathon running.

London to Paris: horses for courses (some row it!)

London to Paris on a bike over 4 days riding some 300 miles got me thinking of the different ways you could travel from London to Paris.
As the crow flies it is about 200 miles from London to Paris. Flying to Paris from Gatwick would only take about 1 hour but it always takes longer and then you need to travel from the centre of London to Gatwick to Charles de Gaulle then find transport from the airport to the centre of Paris all adds time so that 45 min flight because 3 to 4 hour journey. The Eurostar can do the trip in about 2.5 hours, faster if the British rail system supported the fast trains appropriately, how frustrating it is traveling back from Paris on the Eurostar, you are hurtling along through the French country side towards Calais only to slow down as you enter the tunnel then travel at a snails pace to London.
You can drive to Paris from London and according to Google maps it's a 289 mile journey taking 5 hours and 43 mins now here's a challenge for Top Gear, race public transport ie tube from the National Gallery to another tube another to get on the Gatwick Express, book yourself in at the airport go through security get on your flight, fly to Paris go through passports collect your luggage, get the train into Paris versus driving; it could be a close call assuming the car got out of London with minimal delay and the French baggage handlers were on strike.
I came across an interesting race from London to Paris, now these guys are crazy, they row from London along the Thames out into the Thames estuary, they row the boat out around south east Kent past Dover then they cross the English Channel (somehow avoiding the traffic of the shipping lanes) they navigate their way up the Seine to Paris. Looking briefly at the website teams of 10 rotate over the duration of the event. It looks like there are 6 oarsman and a cox (pretty easy job sitting back looking at the view yelling at the crew to get a move we only have 300 more miles to row come on chaps, hey watch out for that oil tanker). The other interesting snippet from their website is the event is a race from London to Paris which started in 1990 with the Met Police crew being the first to row non stop however, since then only 4 crews have completed the race (some race). Apparently they are still taking entries from interested parties if you wish to have a go however, it looks like history is against you finishing. Good luck I wish you all the best watch out for those tankers.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Numerous organized London to Paris cycle rides in 2008

London to Paris organized cycle rides for 2008 there is plenty of choice, different routes covered and variety of charities to support. To my knowledge all are carried out for charity with a minimum amount to be raised in the order of £1000 depending on the charity. The charities are varied from children to raising funds to help identify potential treatments or cures for an array of illnesses for example from asthma, MS to cancers.

Examples of organisations that are offering London to Paris rides are , ,, , , ,,,,,,

I'm riding and more importantly raising funds for Action Medical Research I'm a research scientist and every day I'm looking to identify potential treatments to cure or at least improve quality of life. However, the ability for me to make an impact on people's health is a long term process, many years of research. However, the work of Action Medical Research has a more immediate impact than my day to day job helping for example supplying appropriate equipment to support premature babies through fundraising effects peoples life's in the relative short term. Action Medical Research played a crucial role in developing the polio vaccine in the UK, ultrasound scanning in pregnancy, hip replacement surgery and more. Touching Tiny Lives is the charity's major campaign to help sick and vulnerable babies. Action Medical Research aim to raise £3 million for vital new research to help prevent premature birth and life-threatening pregnancy complications and to develop better treatments for babies who require special care. Being a father of 4 healthy girls I couldn't contemplate the heart wrenching feeling of helpless if one of my daughters was ill during pregnancy or shortly after birth.

Therefore as a father and research scientist I'll be raising funds for Action Medical Research. Supporting their work Touching Tiny Lives I feel that I can help provide medical solutions indirectly for an almost an immediate impact through my fundraising compared to the long term efforts of my research, which may indeed never succeed.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

London to Paris 2008 Day 4

Another flat day of riding only some 250 m ascent over circa 100 km however entering Paris the day before the tour arrives will be great!