A wheely good evening to you all on this chilly Sunday evening, well it is to me after 7 days of continuous 30 degrees plus!! This was my fifth trip out and the rides on this surpassed all before. After the early part of the week I have written about there were still more col’s to enjoy/enjure/persevere!!
Wednesday was a rest day but a short spin of the legs is what we told Jason, like a club run to flush the legs through. Haha this turned into a 1000 metre climb of the Col D’Ornon. The road wound its way up through the valley as the morning sun sprinkled the tarmac with golden rays. Once at the top it was the fast sharp descent back to the chalet before heading off to Grenoble sight seeing.
So that took us to Thursday and what a day. In any Grand Tour they have the Queen stage, regarded the most brutal day of the race. Well this day was our Queen stage day as we took on the Croix de Fer, Col du Telegraph and Col du Galibier. Over 15,000 feet of elevation, nearly 10 hours in the saddle and some brutal leg burning riding, Yes this was a cycling holiday!!! But boy so glad we took it on and even though fell short of getting back to camp before dark (massive thanks to Andy Caton Curdlér for picking us up in the van) had an epic day in the saddle. This was almost the same route as stage 17 of this years tour and to follow the greats a couple of weeks later just amazing.
So Friday was our last day riding and we left a true gem for this day………the Col D’Izoard. This mountain held its first summit finish of Le Tour back in July and what a climb. For me this was the gem of the week with gorgeous scenery, sweeping bends, sharp hairpins, magnificent views and of course the Coppi monument near the top. A truly great day in the saddle and in my five years of riding probably one of if not the best day cycling ever. To add to this day while we were on this climb Dennis who came out with us rode the Alpe D’Huez climb, all 21 switchbacks at 84 years old, what an absolute legend, totally brillaint. If that doesn’t give you inspiration to get on your bike nothing will!!
So that was this years trip to the Alps with Paul Ashman Cycling and Recycles RCC and we all had a blast. So much so we have already booked the chalet for next year and not just one but two chalets as 11 of us going across.
As for this week I am off to Bournemouth for some chill time with my girls, kim and my parents. Will the bike go with me……well you never know haha. Until next time bye for now and happy riding all of you 😊🚴🏻
A wheely good evening to you all from the sunny Alps. Paul Ashman Cycling and the Recycles Road Cycling Club are enjoying a week out here cycling the iconic mountains of the Alps. It has been an awesome two days already with many more beautiful rides still to do.
Yesterday we took on the most famous of them all, Alpe D’Huez and it’s iconic 21 stages. We all set off together from the start as a group but clearly weren’t gonna stay together. Andy, Matt and Jason laying down the hammer from the off!!
Having already done this climb three times before I wanted to savour the switchbacks and the famous plaques of riders who have won on this mountain along with taking in the magical views. Switchback 3 is honour to The Pirate, one of Cycling great losses.
Once at the top we all reconvened for coffee before heading out to go up further over the Col de Serenne, some 2300 metres up this was new territory for myself and allowed me the chance to explore new terrain. Road surface wasn’t great but this added to the challenge and what it did present to us was the most amazing views and cracking descent back down to the valley. Quick Coca Cola stop and we had the final push back to base. Day 1 over and a well earned BBQ enjoyed by all.
So this took us to today and our trip south to Mont Ventoux. Otherwise known as The Giant of Provence and one look tells you how it got its name towering in the distance from 30 miles away. This was going to be a challenging day with temperatures reaching 40 degrees. The first part of the climb is up through the trees to Chalet Reynard and here a welcomed cold drink awaited.
From here we were left with the final 6 km’s to the summit and took us past the Tom Simpson memorial. Here 50 years ago the legend Tom Simpson collapsed during the Tour de France and lost his life. The memorial is a fitting tribute to a hero and legend in the cycling world. From here we were left with the final kilometre to the summit where a well earned cold drink awaited. The wind was getting up and this was going to make the descent interesting however didn’t stop me touching 55 mph!! From the bottom after a light lunch we had the final climb over the Col de la Madeleine before getting back to the van and setting off back to our chalet.
Apologies for no pics as poor internet here in the Alps but please check out some on my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Tomorrow is just a flush of the legs and day off the saddle. Until Thursday happy riding one and all.
A wheely good morning to you all and I hope you are all doing well.
So yep we only went and did it Paris and back in 5 days with 552 miles done. I know I have bombarded my social media streams over the last few days with our trip but we both just want to say a massive huge thanks to everyone for all the support along the way. It was a challenge and we have ended up with a couple of aches and pains but worth every minute of the trip.
When Neil suggested the tongue in cheek idea of riding there and back to watch Le Tour I have to say I agreed not quite realising the scale of the trip. However after many hours of planning, some huge headwinds, rain and loads of fun we had a scream. And the best bit raising over £3500 for the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity which is close to our hearts as it’s the charity supporting Neil’s brother.
So again a massive thanks and until next time happy riding folks 👍🚴🏻😊
Evening and hope you are all wheely well. So this morning we set off from Paris on the penultimate leg of our journey. It was a chilly but dry start so at that point all looked favourable for a showed days riding.
Anyway we set off from Paris and made great time getting to Amiens at lunch for a refuel at subway, not as French as we would have liked but it did the job. Setting off for the final 90 miles to Montreuil is where it all changed!! The wind turned to a head on, the rain came along and it made a grim journey. Legs were burning, wind was howling and and rain was cold but we kept in great spirits to land at the hotel by 6pm. And even better the hosts had a chilled beer waitin for us 👍😊
After a quick shower it was time to get dinner and that was a well earned meal. After over 9 hours in the saddle today I could have ate a horse but settled on omelette. It’s now bedtime and tomorrow we have the final 140 miles back to London.
This trip has been epic and thank you so much for all the support along the way. All the tweets, texts and messages mean loads. It’s time for zzzzzzz’s now here in Montreuil. As always check out all the Paul Ashman Cycling social media streams and will be back tomorrow with a day 4 update. Cheers.
Well another wheely good welcome to Paul Ashman Cycling again here on the start day of the greatest biggest sporting spectacle on the planet……..yes the Tour de France.
Last night the teams were presented to 100’s of fans in Dusseldorf and a chance to show off new bikes, new kits and their individual ambitions ahead of the next three weeks. Over this time the riders will cover over 3500 km’s, ride through all five mountain ranges in France and hopefully make it to the finish in Paris.
For each rider there is an individual ambition and we all have our favourites but I want to highlight where I think a few key moments will be decided over the course of the race. Without a doubt the general classification this year is going to be on of the closest on record and I think will go right to that penultimate day time trial in Marseille. Chris Froome is still the man to beat booths had an indifferent quiet start to 2017 but I think keeping the powder dry until the race starts. He has a super strong team around him and bar a massive mess up I cant see past him being on the stop step of the podium in Paris. However I do think he will be pushed all the way by Romain Bardet and of course his friend and old team mate Richie Porte.
Then there is the green points jersey and who can this possibly go to!!! Peter Sagan has won the last five years and is looking to equal the great Eric Zabel’s record of six consecutive wins in this competition and who can stop him?! He has that all round ability to win stages, get over the mountains and take sprint points. I certainly wouldn’t bet against him taking his sixth.
As for the rest of the race there is many riders who will be out to prove a point and get those elusive stage wins. Mark Cavendish returns from a long injury lay off to aim for more sprint wins, Steve Cummings fresh from national championship victories will look of r astute or two and of course lets not forget those mountain points hungry riders I am sure we will see battle it out at the summit finishes.
What I can say is to will be one cracking race throwing up many exciting races and stages and I for now will be glued to the TV each day until I make my way out to Paris for the final stage. Until then happy cycling one and all.
A wheely great welcome to Paul Ashman Cycling on this sunny May afternoon. I am sat writing this while awaiting my operation. Those who have followed my woes over the last year will know where I am at but having been cancelled this week it is scheduled for next week and hopefully these head pains will soon be a thing of the past and my racing and riding can get back on track.
So as I write this the most beautiful race in the world is on the TV, yes the Giro D’Italia. This race is the 100th edition of the first grand tour of the year and the organisers have pulled out all stops to make this a special one. Starting on the gorgeous island of Sardinia the race has since moved to Sicily for the summit finish on Mount Etna and now it is firmly back on the mainland. The route is one of testing climbs, demanding time trials, explosive sprint stages and parcours made for breakaways. Already the pink jersey has changed hands four times and given us five winners. The sprints for Greipel and Gaviria and a classic summit win from Polanc amongst the stages so far.
The big boys will come to the fore this Sunday with the first serious summit finish of Blochaus mountain and who will bet against the likes of Nibali, Quintana and our own G battling out on the slopes. What we do know is the next 15 stages of this race will throw up some surprises and give us some superb racing. Catch it all on Quest TV and Eurosport and enjoy!!!
I am off to the Spin Cycling Festival this weekend so check out my instagram for updates throughout the day on Saturday from this cool fashionable show and until next time happy riding one and all.
Polanc atop Etna
Greipel sprinting to victory