With the summit in sight, I mash the pedals even harder, throw caution to the wind, ignore all the suffering and attempt to overtake everything I can see.
Sunday, 11 May 2014
Friday, 9 May 2014
Thursday, 8 May 2014
I'm having trouble sleeping as I'm worried about cramp. The Chopper's easiest gear is not easy enough to allow much cadence in the forested section of the mountain where the steeper gradient is relentless. This means that more demands are made on the muscles and they are more likely to succumb to seizure, particularly after a long period of stress. I don't want to let everyone down. If I fail it'll be because either the bike or me is broken. I feel that if I can get on to the open ground above the tree line where the gradient settles a bit, I've a good chance of success. According to the latest forecast I'll have 30 kph winds to deal with but I think I should be able to do that. On a positive note, I can scarcely believe how generous everyone is being. The fundraising page shows over £1,500 including gift aid has been raised thus far and more is promised. I've also received so many thoughtful messages of support. I want to thank everyone. My father died of cancer 15 years ago. He was 55. I'm still angry he was taken so young. I'll be using that tomorrow. I hope the money I'm raising can play at least a small part in reducing the number of people that have to go through what my family is still enduring.
And the pedals are on properly. Thank you Dan Andrews and John Gelling for driving 750 miles yesterday to get us all here. I'm just off for a training ride in 70s Sergio Tacchini tennis shorts, a Levi's corduroy jacket, Ray Ban Aviators and Adidas Rekord trainers.
Wednesday, 7 May 2014
When Alan Oakley, Raleigh's chief designer devised the Raleigh Chopper, I'm willing to bet he wasn't wondering how long it would be before somebody rode one up Mont Ventoux. As he died of cancer in 2012, he will never know. If I am able to do it, I hope he would have approved, both of the feat itself but also the cause, ie raising money for Leuka. Meanwhile, the mountain gods continue to toy with the attempt. The wind is now forecast to be up to 45 kph. An increase of 30 kph in approximately 2 days. It seems I should steel myself for winds in excess of 50 kph unless Alan can have a word with the Almighty.
We have been driving for over 12 hours and I've just looked at the fundraising page to see that, thanks to the extraordinary generosity of you, the sponsors, the total raised is over £900. A couple more donations and it will reach four figures, which is beyond all my expectations. On behalf of Leuka I would like to thank everyone who has already been so kind. The weather forecast isn't looking quite as good as it was a couple of days ago. Friday's wind speeds have increased from 15 to 30 kph. I hope the current trend doesn't continue. In any case, tomorrow we'll assemble bikes and I'll take the Chopper for a test ride. As it's France I'll be drinking Orangina rather than Tizer. Honestly, the French have no idea about fizzy drinks. What's the point of having one with a recognisable foodstuff in it, ie actually fit for human consumption?