I thought the best way to give you a sense of the ride was to put together some of the photos and video we have taken so far. The thing that doesn’t come across is just how good the crew is. The fact that they don’t speak a word of English and we have only a fairly poor recollection of our GCSE French only adds to the occasion. Two members of the crew have been directors of pro cycling teams and the masseur worked for Team Saxo as recently as 2013. He has even handled the legendary legs of Alberto Contador. To get advice and attention from a group like this really adds to the experience and we all feel very lucky…
Mont Ventoux looms large in the future and we catch ourselves talking about it regularly. I think the reality of just how tough it is going to be is starting to sink in. We have 3 days of cycling before we get there so (as with the daily schedule) we are in breakfast at 6:45am with the start scheduled for 7:30am. The first 20km is neutralized behind a lead vehicle which gives a nice opportunity to stick together and warm up our legs before the day starts in earnest.
With less than 3 months to go the training is starting to heat up. Last weekend the Financial News Strava group racked up an impressive cumulative 948km.
There are a number of ways to motivate yourself for such an epic ride but I think the graphic Fareed found depicting Mont Ventoux does the trick nicely. We face this mythical climb on day 7. We will have cycled a long way already, some 700 miles. This is our Everest and the scene of the Financial News London to Monte Carlo 2 inaugural King of the Mountain stage. To the victor the spoils.
With registration for London to Monte Carlo 2 (L2MC2) opening in 7 days I thought it would be good to answer a question I am often asked by people weighing up whether to take on the challenge in 2014, “what’s the ride like”. I have put together the top 10 things you should know about the ride when considering it.
Disclaimer: Remember I’m The Novice Cyclist and my thoughts and observations reflect that level of experience. It should be pointed out that far more accomplished and experienced riders also took part in 2013 and enjoyed the challenge immensely and will be returning for 2014. The challenge of L2MC really does cater for every level of rider.
- London to Monte Carlo is quite a long way to travel on a bike, however at 19 stone I did it without having attempted anything like this before. I trained, but only managed a few 50+ miles rides and maybe ten 30+ mile training rides plus a number of gym and commuting sessions. As per previous posts I plan to be fitter and faster this year but the above gives you a sense of my preparation for 2013.
- There are some tough bits to deal with. I would classify these challenges into two camps. The long straights, which are a bit of a grind, and the hills – affectionately called “the lumpy bits”. Both can be overcome with a little determination but it’s not a cake walk.
- Here are some photos from 2013 which give you a sense of what’s in store http://bphillips.co.uk/L2MC.php
- We’re planning to include Mont Vontoux in the 2014 route – you can find out about it here http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mont_Ventoux. Putting aside nervous trepidation, if reading that excites you even a little then this ride is for you.
- There is very little competition even with the introduction of the time trial and king of the hill in 2014. Riders find their level and groups quickly and the support and camaraderie builds from there.
- You won’t be staying at the Ritz. While we are attempting to make the hotels a little closer to the centre of towns in 2014 this is a charity ride and we look to limit costs wherever possible. Personally I would have slept on a nail bed in a barn at the end of riding 100 miles for the 6th day in a row!
- The support crew are the best in the business and you feel in very safe and experienced hands and if you or your bike need any help whatsoever it will be just moments away. I personally put this to the test in 2013 by falling off my bike going round a bend at speed and the motorcycle outrider was with me in 5 mins and the mechanic in 7 mins. They also feed you and pop a cup of tea in your hand whenever required (on a side note the rejuvenating capabilities of a cup of tea continue to amaze me)
- Read my account of the 2013 ride at thenovicecyclist.com and some of the other riders accounts on efinancialnews.com/montecarlo. We wrote this as the trip developed so you get a real sense of the highs and lows
- The sense of achievement is phenomenal, you get to raise money for fantastic causes and meet people you’ll know for the rest of your life.
- Spaces are limited so sign up as soon as registration opens on Wednesday 15th January. Email either firstname.lastname@example.org or me at email@example.com or through the contact section of this blog.
- The majority of the cost of the ride is underwritten by our generous sponsors and Financial News. There is a registration fee of £500 per rider (towards costs) and minimum fundraising target of £2000 (all of which goes to the charities). If you look at similar fundraising initiatives you would either have to pay the full cost yourself or a % of your fundraising total would go towards the cost (and therefore a higher fundraising goal). The way we approach and support L2MC ensures minimal cost to the rider and maximum contribution to the charities… pretty unique.
Ok so that was 11 things not 10. If I missed anything you’d like to know please do get in touch.
The last post of photos proved so popular I thought I’d cut out the middle man and give you the link to all photos taken by Ben Phillips. Ben joined us on the sixth evening of the 2013 ride in Grenoble and spent a couple of days capturing our endeavours as we took on the “lumpy bits”. As you can see from his shots Ben is a fantastic photographer who I recommend highly, he’s a nice chap too.