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!

Friday, December 21, 2007

London to Paris 2008 Day 3 Route

Day 3 of the London to Paris 2008 bike ride Abbeville to Beauvais some 100 km of a pretty flat track estimating only 330 m of climbing. The organises of the cycle ride will not disclose the route until closer to the start of the trip. Consequently, I've estimated the likely route see below.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

London to Paris 2008 Day 2 Route

London to Paris 2008 cycle ride day 2 route Calais to Abbeville some 100 km. Estimated route is as follows looking forward riding through the French villages on our way to Paris completing the journey the day before the Tour de France arrives; can’t wait.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

London to Paris 2008 Route London to Dover

The Action Medical Research Route 1 London to Paris Day 1 London to Dover  I have estimated to something like the following:
This will be great as I live in Deal and the family can wish me luck as we board the ferry at Dover.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

London to Paris 2008 Fundraising and Col Galibier: Get on with it!

The bike ride from London to Paris I think will not be too much and I'm really looking forward however, the fundraising that's a different story. Where do I start. I've planned an auction of promises thinking that the auction will provide the majority of the funds. But actually getting started is the more difficult than it seems. I've started a brochure of items in an attempt to demonstrate to local business the potential advertising opportunity to my colleagues. I think this should work I just should get on with it rather than procrastinating about it.

Training last night I got on the Tacx with the ambition to beat it and get to the summit of the Col Galibier however, I didn't get on it until 10.30 pm so decided to listen to one episode of Ironman Talk and climb Col Telegraphe and to the foot of the Galibier.
Stop delaying and get on with it both re the fundraising as well as getting up the Col Galibier. Is the Alpine Classic ride an analogue of the fundraising efforts; or I'm just over reading into it.
Need to get a theme tune re Ally McBeal. Tracey, I don't think Ruby don't take your love to town is appropriate as a theme tune.
Lunch time run 8 km in 35 min.

Monday, December 3, 2007

The list of things to do before I die

I've completed my list and it was fun to write down the things I wish to do before I die. The clock has started. Life's short but long enough.

One of my things to do is to paint at Saint Remy and visit the Hospital where Van Gogh attended.

Training was poor over the weekend in fact I completed a big fat 0. Went for a run at lunchtime 8 km in 35 min. Will have a crack out the Tacx tonight if time permits.