To see my progress please visit My Blog
To Donate please go to www.bmycharity.com/iangreasbytourdeforce
To see a Route Map and Distance / Height Climb table - go to the foot of this page.
Dear "anybody who is reading this"......
This is a very cheeky way of asking you to help me, help others.
I know its non personal, but it’s better than facebook right?..... it would be nice if you could help!
Most of you know my famous “Follow me .... it’s easy” catchphrase. If you haven’t heard it, you’re lucky!
I think you will agree my “Follow me .... it’s easy” has lead many people into the unknown, perhaps pushed a few limits, a few boundaries, but people have generally come out unscathed and all the better for the experience. Well this time I’m not going to use it. This time it’s just me who I will be pushing, and definitely pushing myself to the limit.
But I need your help to do this ........ Why? How? Please read on. And please..... help if you can.
Why? What’s this all about?
From 28th June until 20th July 2014 I will attempt to cycle the exact same course that the 2014 Tour de France professionals are racing.
We aim to raise money for the William Wates Memorial Trust (see below).
I have been lucky enough to be able to join a team of amateur cyclists who will set off exactly 1 week in front of the professionals (sounds good hey....ahead of the professionals!), and will replicate their journey for 23 days and over 3,600km of crazy French (and even English this year) mountains.
Yes, I am taking part in the 2014 Tour de Force! www.tourdeforce.org.uk
21 days riding (+2 rest days) of approx 200km every single day...... think about it....... 23 days. It’s a long time, it’s a long way.
How can you help?
Tour de Force is primarily a charity ride and raises money to fund the William Wates Memorial Trust www.wwmt.org which gives grants to British charities that support disadvantaged young people to keep them away from a life of violence and crime and to help fulfil their potential. Please click on the link to read more about the fund.
I have personally met a member of the Wates family and they are an extremely sincere family wanting to help less fortunate children.
So I am asking you for some sponsorship money. The simple link to giving on-line is here:- www.bmycharity.com/iangreasbytourdeforce
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE can you can you find a bit of spare cash to donate, and help these children?
To take part in the ride I have personally paid £3,150. This includes ride support, most of my food and shared accommodation. In addition I pay my own transport to the start and from the finish (and I won’t be cycling that part!).
On top of that I have to raise a minimum of £2,400 for the William Wates Memorial Trust (hopefully more, depending upon your generosity).
And, I have to do a lot of training, cos its a long way...have I mentioned that yet?
Me, Training - ?
Nothing too technical, no special diets, no personal trainers or programmes to follow I am afraid. You know me. Beer, curry, pasties and crisps will remain my staple diet, but a lot of hard graft is involved! I’ve never actually trained properly for anything before, so this is a bit new for me really!
I have one of those ancient sit up cycle fitness trainers in the gym in Siberia. I wore the seat out last year practicing on it for IronManWales. It’s not pretty, but then neither am I. We are starting to get along fine though. 6 months to go!
Training completed so far
In 2013 I completed IronManWales. I chose this one as it’s the hilliest and known as one of the toughest. It proved I have good base fitness and a very stubborn mind over matter (but you knew that anyway!) 4k swim, 180k cycle, marathon 42k run. I completed in 12.5hrs. It rained for most of the day!
I also cycled from my home in Oxford to my folks home in Cornwall (some 350km, 4,500m ascent) in a single day (3am till 11pm) last year, just to see if my legs could handle distance and hills.
These two events gave me confidence I might be able to do the Tour de France route.
In December I was out in the cold and wet on my Mountain bike. Back to back 100km road/trail rides, and some horribly wet and muddy mountain rides. I was out nearly every day I was home, come rain or shine (and it didn’t shine much!). My base fitness is good. But 23 days of cycling is something else.
Training from now on?
From 01 Jan – 28 June I will be in Siberia (or travelling there) for 108 out of the 177 days until my Tour starts. So most of my training will be on an ancient Siberian static gym cycle. However, whilst back in the UK I have a few dedicated cycling events which I have entered. This includes the Tour of Wessex (a 3 day mini TdF in Somerset, and apparently pretty tough) and several local Sportives. That will be combined with lots of Mountain Biking, Moto Cross and hard road cycling (in between the school runs) when home.
And finally I am aiming to cycle between and walk up the British 3 Peaks (that’s Snowdon in Wales, Sca Fell in England and Ben Nevis in Scotland). So that’s the 3 biggest mountains in UK and a small matter of 800 km cycling between them. Hope to do this in 5 or 6 days.
But the biggest challenge is going to the boredom and drudgery of sitting on that cycle machine in the gym in Russia, day in day out, after a 14 hour day in the office, listening to those glorious 80’s songs on my i-pod!! Am I gaining any respect or pity yet....?????
Hint: Please visit www.bmycharity.com/iangreasbytourdeforce
Do I deserve your sponsorship?
I know many people bake cakes and sell them to raise money.... I am afraid I can’t do that. I am hoping that by just attempting this ride, and all of the practice/training I am putting in, but mainly for the hours sitting in a gym on my own in Russia pedalling nowhere (yes, its driving me crazy already) that you will feel I’m doing enough for this charity to deserve a few of your hard earned pounds.
As someone said to me.... “Goodness gracious Greasby, this isn’t a sponsored Sunday dog walk, is it!” (actually “Goodness gracious” weren’t their words.... but y’know)
The official summary:-
The Tour de Force sets off on Saturday 28th June 2014 to cycle the Tour de France route, riding one week ahead of the Pros, finishing 3500km and 21 stages later on the Champs Elysees in Paris. Riders raise sponsorship for the William Wates Memorial Trust www.wwmt.org which gives grants to charities that support disadvantaged young people to keep them away from a life of violence and crime and to fulfil their potential.
I will be taking on all 21 of the stages of the route, incorporating the start this year in Yorkshire, a ride into London from Cambridge, the cobbles of Northern France and Belgium, the famous French Alps, the Pyrenees, and finally a ride into Paris for a finish at the Champs Elysees. On average I will be burning 9,000 calories a day (that’s a lot of pies!). Route details can be seen here:- http://www.tourdeforce.org.uk/route-map/
- When the real Tour de France starts, I will be one week ahead of them. Daily images and blogs will report on the stages the pros are about to undertake – a preview for the Tour de France. To view daily updates of Tour de Force and Tour de France (when they start!) log into www.tourdeforce.org.uk and I’ll be setting up my own little blog some time soon as well.
- Individual cyclists pay the cost of accommodation, food and transfers and then agree to raise a minimum sponsorship for the William Wates Memorial Trust.
- Since 1998 the Trust has donated over £1.25m to charities that support the most disadvantaged young people to fulfil their potential and stay away from a life of crime and violence.
- In 2012, Tour de Force raised £300,000 for the WWMT. In 2013 the riders raised an impressive £425,000. They hope to increase this year on year.
You can add to this contribution by visiting www.bmycharity.com/iangreasbytourdeforce and sponsoring me for all my efforts. PLEASE! Lets help these children have a better chance in life.
I can honestly say, I am incredibly nervous..... I really do hope I have not bitten off more than I can chew, and the next 6 months are going to be absolutely dedicated to getting seriously bike fit. The Tour de France route is a long way to cycle.
If you don’t know much about the Tour de France then if I can recommend one book (only few pounds in paperback) ... it’s by Tyler Hamilton (one of Lance Armstrongs team mates), titled “The Secret Race”. It tells the truth (allegedly!) of the Armstrong story which ultimately lead to his confession. Buy it now and read it. I practically guarantee you will read it in one go. An incredible book. My EPO (by the way) will be Enthusiasm, Passion and Obsession !!
I really hope you will sponsor me.
The Tour de France Route 2014. A mere 3,650 km with plenty of hills.
We will follow the exact same route as the Pro's.....except we travel by coach between big stages, and don't get to fly!
The Route as I see it, with daily distances and probable ascents etc (this is not official but my interpretation from reading as much as I can)
What started it all - in 2011.....?
A trip to the Alps wiv mi ol' mate Andy............ (who incidentally is also a "TdF Lifer"!)