70Seventy Blog No#1
22 July 2017. North of Biarritz.
Just over a year ago when my bike was stolen from Orton Square outside Curve I didn’t appreciate that the thief was doing me a favour. I came out from my meeting ready to cycle back to the office and … No bike. After that moment of doubt when I wondered: “Did I lock it up there after all” I saw the cut through bike lock lying on the ground. Not much doubt left. A certain amount of cursing and reflecting on the state of society blah blah! and some fruitless searching through Gum Tree, Preloved and other such sites to see if I could find it advertised for sale -which is what, according to the police, often happens to stolen bikes – I claimed some insurance money and went to replace it.
In the FMB cycle shop they had an ex-display Forme Axe Ridge Pro bike for sale at considerably reduced price – but still considerably more than I intended to fork out. I had no idea what a Forme Axe Ridge Pro bike even was – but it was certainly light to pick up – I mean really light compared to my stolen one. Simon invited me to ride it round the block – and of course that was that. I shelled out and took it for a road test on the hills round Bradgate Park and Beacon Hill. OMG what a difference it made – I got carried away with the possibilities. I had been thinking of cycling through the Pyrenees for a while and now the idea began to take shape. What if I rode over the Col du Tourmalet – the legendary climb in the Pyrenees known to cycling nuts and riders of the Tour de France – maybe from Birarritz to Barcelona and raised money for Bamboozle. Exciting!
Why stop at cycling – what about running – and walking. What if we [did you note the seamless move from first to third person there – I’m recruiting help already] what if we also did the National Three Peaks – Bamboozle did the challenge in 2013 when I was a driver – now was the time for me to do the climbing. And – I had always wanted to run a marathon, never quite made it to the start line. I had done the training for London a couple of times but got injured just before the event – maybe now was the time. And what if I did all three of the challenges during my 70th year [June 2018 – 19] – and raised £70,000 in the process. The 70seventy challenge was born as an idea – thanks to a low down, good for nothing bike thief!
As I write the morning sun is filtering through the pines of our campsite the cicadas have just wound up their buzzing and the Atlantic surf is audible beyond the dunes. I am gathering up my courage to attempt the Col du Tourmalet next week.
I have been training for a while now at Ufit Studio in Leicester under the guidance of Sam Hanney. If you can call it guidance. He says I need to be training, eating and thinking like an athlete – I’m not going to tell him that I have just finished my second croissant of the morning – we are on holiday in the South of France after all – it won’t cut the mustard [French or otherwise] with Sam. The last time my weight went up a few pounds he asked “So what have you been eating then?”. No hiding place!
Early next week I’m going to have a go at the legendary climb. It can’t be that difficult can it? Actually 19km uphill without a break – it might be. I will soon find out and let you know. I’m more concerned about the coming down. Simon from FMB told me about how people arrived at the bottom of a ride he was supporting ashen faced – and I recollect Reg Perrins’ very nasty crash on an Alpine downhill involving helicopters and hospitals and broken bones. One of the issues is that coming down fast your hands get so cold you can’t feel them – so applying the brakes is tricky. I have thick gloves and my bike has new brake pads. See you at the top – and at the bottom!
Thanks for reading – more next week.
Christopher [Davies that is – not Froome]