Thursday, July 26, 2012

Day 5 - Thursday: LANDS END

Ok, we're here!!

Another long, sunny day of West Country cycling, ending with the group rolling down into Lands End at sunset. Very happy to be here but also sorry it's all over. A great week with a great bunch of people.

Thanks go to my fantastic team-mates, and to everyone who has supported this ride with sponsorship, practical help or freebies. Special mention goes to Keith and Pauline for putting up 9 grubby cyclists on Tuesday night, Jan and David for bringing us pasta and cold beer en-route, and Marek's uncle for supplying TONS of food from his restaurant (plug: Luigi's in Arnold!) to keep us fed for the first two days on the road.

So, Andy - about that London to Istanbul trip...

Photos are in reverse order this time:


Rolling down the hill towards Lands End at sunset. Amazing.

St. Michael's Mount, halfway through a picturesque final leg

Phil patents new cooling device en-route

The long, straight road to Crowdy Reservoir

Van Tetris

Inside the belly of the beast: the back of the van/laundry after 4 days on the road

Final day cycling breakfast

Morning sunshine to start our last day

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Day 4 - Wednesday: HEAT.

Shrewsbury to Taunton today.

Back in Scotland we longed for heat and dryness, now we have both. Today was all about powerful heat, cloudless skies and the increasingly slick nature of our 18-legged relay cycling operation. Life has been distilled to a simple mix of eating, drinking, camping and riding bikes. Add a growing sleep-debt into that picture and you can imagine our trance-like state. It feels like we're going feral and will have to relearn how to use cutlery and sleep in beds.

Anyway, another good day, ending with spag bol and cold beers courtesy of Andy's parents-in-law, Jan and David. Some nice early-evening riding in Somerset too. Here are some pics:

Evening riding in Somerset

Somerset apples: cider in the making

Arms as sticky graveyards for insects

Camp JOGLE set-up, penultimate night

After dinner round the campfire

Day 3 - Tuesday: winter to summer in an afternoon

Today saw us finally shake off the pounding rain of the mountains and join the summer that most of England has been having. The roads are flatter too. HAPPY CYCLISTS.

So, some pics:

6.15am, first leg of the day, Carlisle to Penrith

Marek as orange dot on the horizon

Roadside laundry

Being fed and looked after by Dave R's lovely dad and stepmum (thanks Keith and Pauline)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Day 3 and selection of pics

"here comes the sun"

2 days of miserable weather and thank the lord things are improving weather wise. Barry and I were treated to a great (dry) ride at the ungodly hour of 6am from just outside of Carlisle to Penrith taking in some rather pretty Cumbrian (edge of lake district) countryside.

Our 2nd ride saw us navigate (a little tricky) our way through Preston (in the sun), over dressed a little due to the changing conditions we ended up stripping off on a car park basked in sunshine to enjoy a sit down and a drink on warm tarmac... Wow now this is what I call summer!

Carrbridge south of Inverness

Two picturesque towns in Scotland. We passed through Carrbridge on our 2nd ride of the first day.

Day 2 - Monday: Aviemore to Carlisle

This post is a day late because yesterday (Monday) was so full-on. Between us,16 hours of being lashed by the elements, cursing the wind, rain and cold through gritted teeth.

Weather has been the biggest challenge, one way and another - making the riding tougher and filling up the vehicles with dripping lycra that never gets to properly dry out.

But we're still having fun, even if the laughter sometimes has a hysterical edge. We're also more well-drilled,and getting into a routine with changeovers, setting up camp and whatnot.


Morning: car park yoga, near Aviemore

The Daves pick out new outfits at the Gentlemens Country Clothing Hall

Evening: crossing the border at Gretna

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Meet our tenth team member

I did say labrador notwithstanding but...

Morning down, afternoon to go

These pics pretty much sum up our morning (labrador notwithstanding): stopping by the roadside, sorting out the changes between sets of riders; yawning, stretching, rooting around for flapjacks...

We have a routine going on now, and we're just about on-track - despite a hellish headwind that's taking its toll on all of us.

More later...

6am: laughing in the face of adversity (kind of)

Early morning and it's been raining and blowing a gale all night. It's still raining and blowing a gale now, as we take down the tents and pack up these folorn-looking vehicles. We're still laughing but through gritted teeth.

So - Day 1: GO!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

John O Groats

Some pics from this evening...

National approaches to dinner preparation

England: feverish activity
France: on strike


Arrived at John O'Groat's, 5.30. FINALLY.

Bazza's blogging pose

JJ imitating Bazza's blogging stance. What is the optimum position for writing on your phone? Yoga + blogging?

Clear skies...

This was the view from the hotel at 8 this morning when The Daves and I went on an ASDA run. Hopefully this bodes well...

Friday, July 20, 2012

Back on track - but late ...

Ok - it's 22.50 and we're back on the road at last. Van fixed, courtesy of the AA man. More tomorrow - or later tonight if we break down again.

PS - we went for food while this was happening.  Here's Marek doing some Italian gesticulating with a chip:

The culprit

Day 1: van disaster!

Left Nottingham on time and headed north. So far, so good, and making good time up the A1 in Yorkshire when... bam!  Van breaks down. Talking to the AA man as we speak, and not sure what we'll do. Looks likely that we'll get a tow to Edinburgh tonight then either get it fixed or hire a replacement tomorrow morning. Watch this space... *sigh*

Thursday, July 5, 2012

iPhone navigation of JoGLE solved!

Ok so you might have guessed that I'm getting into this mapping tech. big time (geography always was my fav subject).

Main news is that I've tested the iOS app that I found earlier on when writing the first post about no getting lost.

Motionx GPS is literally a stunning navigation app. Just got it on my iPad and had a play with it (iPhone version obviously much more appropriate for what we have in mind and is only 69p for a limited time).

Managed to get the same .gpx file into it as the android and download the route so no connection is needed while en route. Has audio too but is giving me bearings to waypoints rather than turns while I test in house. Interestingly does audio coaching aka runkeeper and has like loads of other sweat features...(esp. like the route tracking and sharing and bliss of an interface. Jsut shows how iOS apps are so far ahead of andriod). What a find!! Right geekery over, need sleep.

Update on navigation app

Cool, just got the 'OsmAnd' navigation app to work on Android.

Awesome result, downloaded one of Andy's set routes and copied it to the 'tracks' folder of the OsmAnd folder on the SDcard. Picks up the file in the list of navigable destinations when you select navigate from the map menu (press menu while on main map viewing page).

So that wasn't that difficult, but a little faffy with messing with the settings. Really powerful app though esp. as it is vector based, OS type mapping and can give voice commands for which turn to take. Gonna set a route tomorrow and do a test run on it.

See screen shots of Andy's route loaded on my phone... (ignore straight line from my current location).

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Not getting lost en route

Just thought I'd post and let everyone know that I'm starting to look into how we can navigate our way around, i.e. not have to cycle further than we need to - which, apart from the 2 Daves, I'm sure you'll all be in favour of.

Offline, voice prompted, turn by turn navigation, that can accept a output file (.gpx is looking the most widely used format), both for iOS and Andriod (phew) is what we need. How close we get to that is another matter, although it's looking encouraging with an app called OMSand for the Andriod, but need to spend some more time on this.

Thinking we can use the Waze app as a simple 'where are people at' type app as it can show you where your friends are while they have the app running on their phones - that's right, you'll  have to live with me being defined as a friend for this to work ;)

Anyway, comment with any thoughts you have around all this, will update when I get round to looking at the different options in more detail.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Last chance to plan...

The first blog post but possibly the LAST meeting of the Cop-athlon riders before the event itself. Today saw the group complete a 25 mile training ride, plus a fat pub dinner and final planning meeting at the Ferry in Wilford:

The ride was great: between us, we had two punctures, got lost twice and nearly rammed an old biddy in a Micra (Marek, take a bow). The feeling is positive though - there's a definite buzz of excitement as we get closer to the actual event and everyone cops the reality of the journey ahead. For one week in July, we will be:
  • Riding: in twos or threes, relay style. Each group rides 25 miles in the morning, 25 in the afternoon/evening.
  • Sleeping: in tents; put up at 9pm, take down at 5am (in silence, out of courtesy to fellow campers), ready for 6 o'clock start.
  • Eating: cold pasta out of a bucket. I exaggerate, but not much: the emphasis is on QUANTITY and stodge-factor.
Andy, if I can plagiarise your website: "Basically it's going to be a short, intense, demanding, tiring, hard slog but it's going to be an amazing experience!"