LEJOG Days 7 to 10 and it’s completed!!!

Well a wheely good morning to you all from a van trundling back home from John O Groats. In about 14/15 hours we will be back in Swindon having completed our epic journey and what a trip it has been.

The last 4 days saw us take on the majority of Scotland and the beautiful scenery it has to offer. The road from Gretna up to Lockerbie was arrow straight and gave us a chance to hone our TT skills. Then Day 9 was a fabulous trip along the canal path from Fort William to Fort Augustus where we joined the minor road over our toughest climb of the trip. Average of 10% for over 5 km’s that was just brutal.

Finally we got to Day 10 and that first morning when we left Lands End seemed a lifetime away. The last day was heavy rain and winds for most of the day and posed a challenge in its own right but gradually that finish line was in sight and the realisation kicked in.

We had completed the 1435 km’s from one end of the UK to the other in 10 days and had a scream all the way. It was a lifelong experience and in turn raised lots of money for two great charities. Thank you for all the support.

We kindly ask that if you are able to pledge, please choose one of the charities below that you wish to support or split it evenly between the two charities in the links below. One is the Swindon Downs group which is very close to me and my sister and the other The British Heart Foundation. Thank you so much all of you. X

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/paul-ashman2

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/paul-ashman3

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LEJOG Days 5&6

Well a wheely good evening to you from Scotland, yes that’s right Scotland! The last two days have been spectacular with some stunning scenery, fast paced sections and a couple of tasty inclines. Yesterday we took in some of the cities of the North West on route to Kendal with the last 20km meandering through the lanes of the Lake District. Today we left to be greeted by the climb over Shap Fell which in itself isn’t too hard and the weather was stunning all day. The descent down the otherside was a corker touching 75kmh at times and then onto lunch stop in Carlisle. After this it was on into Scotland stopping for pics in Gretna Green and Lockerbie to pay out respects before reaching Moffat. Another great day and only four to go until we reach John O’Groats. Thank you so much for all the support and messages and donations.

We kindly ask that if you are able to pledge, please choose one of the charities below that you wish to support or split it evenly between the two charities in the links below. One is the Swindon Downs group which is very close to me and my sister and the other The British Heart Foundation. Thank you so much all of you. X

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/paul-ashman2

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/paul-ashman

LEJOG days 3 and 4

So wheely good evening from Runcorn and a double blog for you all, sorry they’re short but by the time we finish and shower, eat and prep bikes it’s sleep time. Yesterday was a great trip up from Weston with a flat first section and then via a diversion great lunch stop in Tintern. Onwards up through the Wye valley we got to Hereford for about 5:30. All in all a good day and we felt strong. The steak and.coder went down well.

Today was day 4 and a case of shut up legs all day. We a heavy legs but we’re in good fettle for he day ahead. Today’s route was an Ardennes classic type lumpy stretch that got us into Runcorn at about 5:30pm. So far nearly 600km covered and John O Groats awaits. All the support means so much to us all. So roll on tomorrow for the trip up to Kendal in the Lake District.

We kindly ask that if you are able to pledge, please choose one of the charities below that you wish to support or split it evenly between the two charities in the links below. One is the Swindon Downs group which is very close to me and my sister and the other The British Heart Foundation. Thank you so much all of you. X

LEJOG DAY 2

Well all I can say on this day was rain rain and more rain. We left Sourton Cross in rain which just got heavier all day. At times there was a stream running down the road and some of the lanes were so flooded. It didn’t dampen our spirits though even if it did dampen everything else. But then after 110 km it suddenly stopped and we had a dry patch and even a glimpse of sun. As we rolled into Weston Super Mare it stayed dry to be greeted by family on the sea front. Today was a tough day along with punctures to add to it but another day ticked off. Tomorrow for day 3 looks dry and a bit of sun thank goodness.

As always thank you for the support and donations to our charities below. Many thanks. Paul.

LEJOG Day 1

Wheely good evening and just a short update on today’s ride. Day 1 is completed and gosh that was a tough one. It was a headwind all day and a good few hours of heavy rain added to the challenge. On top of this we did 175km with 3000 metres of climbing elevation. So all in all a tough day in the saddle but day one done. Will sleep well for sure and look forward to a slightly easier one tomorrow as we roll out to Weston Super Mare.

And the best bit doing it for two amazing charities. Thanks for all support. Laters 👍

Calm before the storm LEJOG 2019

Well a wheely good day folks and it’s been a while since I have blogged but here I am sat on a train on the way to Penzance complete with my bike. Why you may ask well tomorrow myself, Kim, Jason and Andy will be setting off on our 10 day adventure.

Lands End to John O’Groats is a very popular trip undertaken by cyclists and one that is on everyone’s bucket list. This is one that I personally have wanted to do for a long time and now the time has come. But it so nearly didn’t happen…….

Six weeks ago I was involved in a nasty crash fracturing a few bones and getting many bruises and grazes in the process. At first I thought that’s it my ride will be over but I have healed and bar a few aches still I am ready to start the adventure.

Tomorrow at 7:30am we will set out on day one wildly regarded as our toughest day. Up through Cornwall and into Devon we will cover 170km with some near 3000 metres of elevation. It’s going to be a tough long challenging day in the saddle as will every day but equally going to be great fun.

We are not only doing this for a challenge but to raise money for two great charities. The Swindon Downs Syndrome Group and the British Heart Foundation. Below are the links if you would like to donate.

On the trip I will do a short updates by blog each evening on the days riding so please check back in for an update.

Until then laters and see you in John O’Groats.

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/paul-ashman2

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/paul-ashman3

Belgium……the home of cycling, cobbles and classics

A wheely good evening to you all and as I wrote this I am sat on a rather choppy ferry heading back over the channel after a great weekend in Belgium. This country really is the home of cycling like no other and absorbs everything bikes into the life of the place. Where else in the world will a car stop on a roundabout to let a bike out or cross!!!

My trip was to witness the opening classics weekend of the season and what a cracking one it was. After a delayed journey on Friday evening we got to the hotel about midnight ready for a good sleep as we knew the next two days would be full on.

Saturday dawned and it was the day all cycling fans have been waiting for, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad the first cobbled classic race of the year. This race is like a mini Flanders but no easier and took on many cobbles and bergs. After getting to the start we milled round the coaches catching up with the riders and soaking up the atmosphere. The start was in Ghent and there was a great team presentation prior to the race in the famous Kuipe indoor velodrome. Not before long it was start time and we watched the men and women roll out one after the other to embark on 200 gruelling kilometres of racing. For me and Richard we then jumped in the car and got straight to our first stop out on the course to watch the race fly by. There was a break clear at this point but all was calm in the peleton . After a stop at the feed zone we went to watch the riders ascend their 9th climb of the day, the Wolvenberg. We walked about halfway up to the point where it is a 17% incline and it certainly felt steep. As the riders approached everyone pushed to the edge of this narrow road to allow the peleton to pass. It may be steep but the riders flew up as if they were on the flat, they sure know how to climb!! For us it was a quick jaunt back to the finish in Ninove and watch the climax. Zenek Stybar one of the Wolfpack jumped with 2km to go powering to victory. Unbeknown to us at this stage this would be the first half of a double header for Quickstep this weekend. After a look round the coaches and picking up a few bidons we grabbed dinner and headed back to the hotel for a well needed rest and nights sleep.

Sunday arrived and we woke to typical Flandrain weather of cold, wind and rain, perfect for another classics race. Today was Kuurne Brussels Kuurne which generally ends in a sprint but would today buck the trend?? After a hearty breakfast we headed for Kuurne to the start. Again we were able to have a great look round the teams and buses and meet many riders. Another signature on my yellow jersey was good to get and of course some mandatory selfies. The race started and they went off at a blistering pace and I had this inkling it could be one for a breakaway rider to win. After the start we went across to the feed zone which even though yielded no goodies was great to see the race pass. On our way back to the finish we stopped for a quick look round the Flanders shop in Oudenaarde. This really is the home of Flanders and cycling in this area and a recommended place to visit if you’re ever in the area. We then headed off to the finish back in Kuurne and as per my earlier thoughts a 5 man group had gone clear. Excitement was building and with 15km to go the man from Luxembourg Bob Jungels jumped clear. With the group he left behind caught by the peleton he was up against it with them chasing him like a pack of lions. He dug in, gritted his teeth and found that inner strength to hold them off and win…..a breakaway rider had won. This was back to back victory’s for Quickstep and took their tally to 13 wins already in 2019. What was also so good to see was the second place by the young Team Sky rider Owain Doull, could this be the breakthrough ride he needs? I really hope so for this talented young Welshman.

For us we had to get back to catch our ferry which as I said is where I am sat writing this. Belgium is a great country and such a fabulous place to visit. I will be back in 5 weeks for the Tour of Flanders which really is the highlight of the classics season. Until then for me more riding and training getting ready for my Paris Roubaix Challenge and Mallorca 312 rides, both in April. Until then happy riding and from me……..laters.