By Charlie Webster
This morning seems so long ago. I remember waking up trying to boil some eggs for ages with Mick, long story, the conclusion, we ate half done eggs. We jumped on our bikes in the rain all trying to smile and crack a few jokes to get us on our way. I got the Duncan Wood horn this morning from Paul – it is my turn to give it out tomorrow. Our first miles were on a bit of a dirt track which was an old railway line; we had to go steady because of the terrain, so I had a good old chat with Paul. Our bikes did not like the gravel and that kind of set the precedent for the day. Paul and Mike got punctures and Mick got a stone stuck in his chain. This is where we met Digby! If you haven’t already met Digby then take a look at the video on my twitter. He basically ran out of a farm as we were fixing punctures and tried to hump us all, he seemed to show a bit of unwanted favoritism to me. This wasn’t helped by Mike ‘Go to Charlie, good dog’ whilst he giggled away! I was covered in slaver and paw marks. Digby was absolutely massive and so strong. We couldn’t stop laughing despite stinking like dog. I had paw marks all over my back!
The rest of the day was long and windy. I found parts of today pretty hard mainly because of the strong head winds. We pushed on to a late lunch and you could tell we were all feeling it as not one of us was talking. The village before lunch was on the Tour de France and that is where I really started to feel my head go purely because I was having a bit of low sugar moment. The next 14 miles to lunch felt so long and I really had to dig. I should have had a gel, lesson learnt. When I eventually saw the next village, I whispered under my breath ‘please, please, please be our food stop.’ I saw Shiv at the top of the hill by a church waving, what a relief. I lied on the floor wolfing a sandwich down as quickly as I could. There were a lot of hills today and very long sweeping roads that just seemed to go on forever.
At this point we had 36 miles out of a 100 to go. We flew for 18 miles of this until Paul’s chain snapped. My left shoe cleat had also broken and kept coming out of the pedal. We all pulled up at the next village to help Paul try and sort his chain. I wasn’t much use so I just sat on the tarmac shouting moral support. I literally could have fallen asleep then. I felt gutted for Paul, as it is so frustrating when something happens like a mechanical which isn’t under your control.
18 miles to go and knowing we weren’t far from the end we really pushed, myself and Mick got a little lost as my Garmin died but the amazing support team found us on the side of a roundabout looking sorry for ourselves. We followed them in for the last 3 miles and collapsed. Long day! Please turn the wind machine off for tomorrow’s 114 miles or at least turn it in our favour. Thanks.
Day 3 – Darren Clark
We’ve arrived in France after a choppy crossing of le channel. 1st stop a cafe, were the TV news is Brexit and Hollande asking when are we buggering off (shakes head) …
80 miles done today across undulating countryside so hills a plenty, all good training for when we hit the Pyrenees .. !
2 highlights today,
1.Me demonstrating my grasp of the French language ” Je m’appelle Darren, j’habite à Rothwell et j’ai treize ans , oh et soixante neuf” which for those that don’t understand rudimentary school boy French, this translates to “My name is Darren, I live in Rothwell and I am thirteen years old oh and 69..” – cue general hilarity in the classroom.
2.Today’s grub, a Greggs esq deep filled Apple pastry for brekkie and a cheese and ham baguette for lunch followed by an eclair. – Definitely enjoying the cafe culture.
Finally I’d like to say it’s been a real pleasure cycling here so far, the roads are smooth and the drivers courteous..so now I’m off for a creme de menthe with an umbrella in it..mange tout Rodney, mange tout !
By Charlie Webster
We started in beautiful bright sunshine and finished today in the pouring rain of Portsmouth. It has been a funny day and actually the majority of drama came from my end, whoops sorry guys! I’m currently writing this sat waiting for my dinner to arrive, the thing with doing such a mammoth challenge of this, you have to get your nutrition right, so…I’ve ordered fish n chips, mushy pies and for an extra £2 I get scampi, battered sausage and chip shop curry sauce.
It’s arrived, hang on….
Ok I’m back that was lovely, the extras really hit the spot. Back to today, we started off really well, apart from going down a one way street. I blame the Garmin! Half way through we decided to kick on and just quickly scoff some OTE sports flapjacks. Our first serious hill so far and my chain got caught in my derailer, obviously my superb crunching of the gears up a hill! We sorted that after 10 mins but then a link in my chain had locked so we had to make a decision do I jump on the spare bike which is a little bit small for me or crack on! I cracked, and clicked and crunched my way to Portsmouth. You could definitely here me coming. To be honest I think it made me go faster because I had to make the bike shop, Cycle World Portsmouth for 4pm who kindly fixed it for me. I made it with 2 of the team, Mick and Paul who pushed on with me. It rained with a little bit of hail for the last 5 miles which made it a go quite cold in the end. We finished the Ride to Rio route to the ferry in Portsmouth and then I cycled back up to the bike shop in the pouring rain.
A very lovely guy fixed it and cut his arm open at the same time on my chain ring. Whoops! I was very apologetic!
So now we are just waiting for the ferry to take us over to Caen, France where we get straight off the ferry and cycle to Mayenne for day 3. Last few hours in England so I’ve just had a brew. Standard!
By Mike Tomlinson
10 years ago tonight I was a guest at the British Consulate in San Francisco as they wished Jane luck on her ride across America. That journey was life changing for us all. For Jane the first 3 weeks were the last that she had in her life being relatively well. To watch her life deteriorate whilst simultaneously complete a truly super human achievement will be the things that I take with me until I die.
Ten years later finds me in Portsmouth about to catch a ferry to Caen to continue our journey to Rio. There is nothing that I will ever be able to do in life that could come within a country mile of what Jane did.
It’s hard to watch someone you love die, but it was an absolute honor to share that journey with her.
For me this ride to Rio whilst a physical challenge is done in honor of the greatest physical achievement i have ever witnessed.
By Darren Clark
Today I have the horn.. That’s the ITV Calendar, Duncan Wood challenge mascot, carried by Mike yesterday and presented by to me before we set off, I get to choose tomorrow’s custodian ..
Another short ride today (40 miles) as we aim to catch the overnight ferry to Caen – dunno which route it’s taking as I didn’t think France was that far, maybe it’s a Brexit thing.. Anyway, it’s been a steady ride through some beautiful villages, with some massive old fashioned pubs..no chance to stop and sample unfortunately. A few small hills to stretch the calves were actually a welcome distraction although Charlie suffered with a dodgy gear change at the bottom of one which ultimately led to a broken derailleur and a rather rhythmic clanking sound for the final 20miles. Bike fixed by cycle world free gratis in Pompey and showered, changed ready for the ferry at a friendly local gym.. Tomorrow the EU, we’ve hidden the union flag …!
By Paul Highton
Twitter has gone bonkers over the ride which is fantastic for publicity but not for my nights sleep !!
My had was buzzing with pre ride nerves and full of what ifs !!
Then 5am and DING I’m awake and chomping at the bit to rip in The day started with the interviews with itv Calender and team photos then we were off … Sort of …
We spent the 1st cpl of hours getting lost in the side streets of London and swerving irate drivers but then the Garmin kit sorted it’s act out and we hit the open spaces of Richmond park …
Beautiful landscapes littered with deer and other wildlife that wouldn’t have looked out of place on the plains of Africa.
After a short rest stop we had the days target in sight the town of Farnham and The Hogs Back Hotel.
Swim, Shower, Fajitas and “Kick and Giggle” on the tele …. I have no doubt that I’ll sleep tonight !!
Day 1 -By Darren Clark
Only 50 miles today, but what a 50 – east to west across London. Angry cab drivers, chatty tourists and a bloody brilliant new cycle lane that runs from tower bridge all the way to Westminster. From there onto Chelsea and a quick photo stop at the bridge for Tommo, on out of town through beautiful Richmond Park where the dear were resting in the shade as we passed through. Woking – passed the entrance to McLaren and a rather close encounter with white van man, but the legs are now turning well and the speed is good as we approach the end of day an enjoyable day 1 .. #ridetorio
By Charlie Webster
It feels surreal that we have started and done our first day. We have been talking about Ride to Rio for so long, planning, having meetings and now we have cycled our first miles. I’m at our first stop over and about to watch the England match, which to be fair I had in the back of my mind the whole way today ‘I hope we make it in time to watch the game!’
It is a nice to feeling to have done day 1, as we hit our finish point I felt so happy, ok I know we have thousands of miles still to go but I think we are going to have to set small goals a day at a time to get through this. So to sum up our first day we got lost, we got lost, oh and did I tell you we got lost! We made it in the end and definitely did a few extra miles. It was amazing going through London and we stopped for a few photos at the sights and I cycled past my house, although the traffic was rubbish and a black cab drive shouted at me. We scranned some sandwiches on the side of the road and made the occasional toilet stop, which consisted of a few cheeky bushes. Oh and it is 1 nil to me in the falling over charts, well I didn’t fall over I just fell into a sign as I was too busy chatting. Typical me! Right it is nearly kick off and I’m so hungry. Until tomorrow…
Day 0 – By Darren Clark
That’s right, pigs wee (according to the lady at The BP petrol station), aka AdBlue which the hire car needed before we’d passed Castleford and if we didn’t supply the car would stop, who knew this ? – we didn’t. Apparently it’s something to do with reducing emissions which is ironic as its a VW…
All fixed now for the rest of the journey, we hope, by adding the required 10 litres.. and now whenever it gets hard on the bike over the next few weeks, I can console myself by thinking at least my job isn’t to extract p1ss from pigs ! x