Friday, 18 September 2009
THE TEAM’S FINAL & VICTORIOUS BLOG!
Bagpipes and Barbeques!
Arriving at Land Rover Portsmouth right on time, the guys tell us how they are feeling at the end of their adventure…
Click here to see the PHOTO GALLERY!
Team final blog entries: Friday 18th September:
Team final blog entries: Friday 18th September:
We couldn't be late at Portsmouth so we were on the road for 8.30, with first stop in 30 miles at Mercedes Benz Newbury. Great to see everyone awaiting our arrival at Newbury, but it was a short pit-stop and back on the road. David Churchill joined us at Newbury for the final 55 miles.
I'd been hearing a lot about Dave's cycling abilities over the last week, so I knew there was a huge potential for us to start getting competitive... But Dave did well to not get me started on that malarkey!
We arrived in Portsmouth bang-on time at 3.30 and what a great reception, with a Scottish Pipe Band playing us in and the Army Cadet boys and girls lining the entrance to the dealership, absolutely fantastic! It’s another Scottish thing, but the sound of "The Pipes" always puts a wee tear in my eye!!
The massage girls (and boy) were waiting for us, to sort out our aching legs, backs and shoulders... Unfortunately by the time we'd had that done the Barbecue was finished, they'd scoffed the lot, not even a lettuce leaf left for us!!
This whole experience has been pretty special really, it has been tremendous the way that people have got behind us and supported us all the way.
So I'd like to say a big, big thank you to everyone who supported us, to everyone at the dealerships we visited, who made us feel like stars and gave us loads of incentive to keep going, and to everyone who contributed to make it such a success. Really makes me feel proud to work for such an outstanding team.
I also have to say a big thanks to a cracking bunch of team mates Mark, Adam and our unsung hero, Ed. We've had a great laugh together. I know they've spent hours hating me and wanting to kill me for driving them so hard... But, I hope I'll be forgiven once the pain subsides!"
So... What's next???!!! ;)
"Thank the Lord - it's over!
After a fun dinner in Oxford we were all tucked up in bed by 11 on Thursday night. The morning started with a full English to get me in that 'last day' mood at our appalling guest house in Oxford. Breakfast was served without a smile in a badly lit basement. And the coffee was cold because Ed didn't boil the kettle properly (self service!)
I felt a lot better than Thursday as my soreness was soothed with lashings of cream and my hamstring felt ok. So off we set for our last day on the road at 8.30 with the wind in our sails.
A relatively straightforward journey to Newbury and a terrific reception from Mike Fellows and Nick Robinson and the Newbury staff. They'd clearly been reading our blogs as they nicked Graypaul's send off by blasting their horns as we arrived. The noise was so great I thought my ears would bleed.
After a cup of tea and yet more chocolate and cake we set off again, but not before we'd had a photo. So the photographer gets us all lined up outside the dealership and takes the photo. Then I suddenly realised that Mike Fellows was actually having a photo taken without a young lady stood next to him. First time for everything I thought and pointed Mike's error out to him. He quickly rectified his error however and so more photos ensued.
Then for the short hop to Portsmouth! Only 60 miles John coaxed, but it still felt a long way to go.
So after passing through some lovely villages with 'chocolate box' cottages (which kept Ed busy again), and through lanes and even over a Ford, we started hitting some big hills which are apparently called Dragons Teeth due to the frequency and severity of them. I can confirm they are just that, but in true Southern style, they were a bit soft really.
The descent into Portsmouth was exhilarating and it was a great feeling to see the sea. A quick jaunt up the dual carriageway and it was right, then left and with 100 yards to go we stopped. Adam, John and I all shook hands and then, relieved to finally be in Portsmouth, raised our arms aloft for a photo for Ed. Then in celebratory mood we slowly cycled up to the Land Rover dealership to a great welcome from Alex and the team. A Scottish marching band played the bagpipes and the local cadets were also present on the bbq. After the congratulations and handshakes were done we were summoned for a massage, this time a sports masseur was present (male) so I quickly volunteered to have a non-sports massage with a young lady.
However I soon wished I'd opted for the bloke when I was ordered to take my top off. I tried to bargain with her, insisting she would be mentally scarred seeing me semi-naked. However before I knew it I was stripping down and plonking myself on the table and the lady was literally rubbing her hands. However she was very gentle and I was relieved not to have chosen the sports masseur as Adam (who did opt for him due to his injured Achilles) was soon jumping up in pain with every squeeze. At one point he jumped in pain so much the table actually left the floor! Poor Adam - he really did get a going over.
And last but not least, having had a massage and feeling ravenously hungry, I visited the afore mentioned bbq. I thought it odd that the chef was walking away from it so I asked him if I could have a burger. "None left" he said. "How about a hot dog?" I countered feeling as though I'd struck a telling blow. "None left mate, no food left at all." If I could swear now I'd tell you what went through my mind but I can't. So I thought oh well, jolly hockey sticks and off I popped. At least the team were well fed!
And so it was, after 540 miles it was over. What started as a minor idea in my head back in May had been fulfilled. It's been fun, terrifically challenging and a real showcase for the spirit in our Group. What a team we have - I'm very proud to be part of it. Thanks to everyone who supported or donated, but mostly thanks to my new best friends - John Buchan for his tireless pacesetting, navigation and maintenance skills. Adam Jordan for agreeing with my almost constant criticism of John’s pacesetting and navigation skills, and let's not forget Ed Lees who has had none of the glory but we really couldn't have done without him. Thanks Ed.
I'm now off to dream up what Gerard should do for charity next year - I'm knackered for a year or two! Thanks again for all your support."
It’s not too late if you'd like to donate to help Macmillan - www.justgiving.com/Mark-carpenter0
"After 6 days...not sure how many hours in total on a saddle the width of a fence panel...Mark (the leader), John (the fitness freak), Ed (the top team support) and my good self finally arrived in Portsmouth on time...3.31pm to be exact...all in one piece having suffered just two punctures (both Marks) a few aches and strains sustained over the 540-miles covered since leaving Edinburgh the previous Sunday. Wow what a relief as we finally climbed the last hill before the long decent into Portsmouth.
And what a welcome Alex Matschy and his team had put on for us...the Army, Scottish bag pipes... there was a BBQ and to soothe all those aching muscles, a team of masseurs. After 15/20mins of being rubbed, pulled, tugged and kneaded like a baker does with the dough for his morning loaf...I sat quietly with a strong cup of builder’s tea and reflected on the events of the previous 6-days.
Was it all worth it? The pain, fatigue, time away from work that I could have really done without? The thoughts of the 500+ e-mails sitting unanswered in my in-box…almost one for every mile covered...did their best to convince me it wasn't…but we did it...and will raise over £25k for good causes to boot...now how good is that!!? So was it worth while? You're darn right it was! Would I do it again…maybe?!
Thanks to everyone who has pledged and thanks to those who are about to do the same. Thanks to Mark, John and Ed who were terrific company on the journey North to South....back to normality Monday I'm afraid."
Ed Lees (support driver):
"Last day - last drive - its taken 6 days for me to drive from Edinburgh not using motorways or main A roads and along the way reading the route off the map. The sat nav had a mind of its own so I only used it to confirm my position in the end.
The support van was a comfortable place to be and thanks to Nic Surrey at Weston Super Mare for providing it and arranging for the sign writing.
I had a few stares on the way and even some people wanting to donate to the cause - I pointed them in the direction of the web site and blog - I hope they weren’t put off after reading our exploits.
We set off today extra early after a reasonably comfortable night in the b+b in Oxford and another full English - only trouble was it seemed to be a half English as there was no fried bread, beans, mushrooms or hash.
At MB Newbury we were met again by the staff at the door with Mike Fellows Nick Robinson and Ian Heap. After another photo call the cyclists were on their way again to face the last leg to Portsmouth - 55 miles of chalk downland.
One timely stop to take in a snack and a visit to a nearby hedge after which the route was barred by a closed road and although it was ok for bikes the van had to take a short detour.
Over the south downs I went ahead and was the first to see the sea coming down the hill to Land Rover Portsmouth where we were met by a piped band, army vehicles and cadets and massagers armed with essential oils!
It was over 540 miles of driving and more importantly cycling. I can say that I was a little envious of the feat.
I've got to know colleagues I work with even better like new friends and we will remember and reflect on this for years to come - now the next challenge awaits…"
4 men, 3 bikes, 1 van, 520 miles, 22,460 feet of ascent…and no satnav!
Last year the 100 plus dealerships which form Sytner Group were proud to raise over £263,000 for a variety of local charities and worthy causes.
At our Head Office in Leicester we nominated MacMillan Cancer Support as our chosen charity and worked in partnership with them to raise over £11,000 through a variety of fundraising events.
This year, however, we’re going the extra mile (literally!) and we’d like your help.
Inspired by surviving a half Marathon last year (running for MacMillan) Mark Carpenter - Sytner Group Finance Director, along with two colleagues - Adam Jordan and John Buchan, plan to cycle from our northernmost dealership in Edinburgh to our southernmost dealership in Portsmouth.
The team plan to complete this journey over six gruelling days with the aim of raising £50,000 for MacMillan.
None of us will need reminding of the great work of MacMillan Cancer Support – regrettably most of us will have been touched at some time by knowing someone with cancer.
Click here to see more information on the adventure, outlining the route, details of the cyclists and information regarding the work of MacMillan.
Each dealership that we visit will also be holding a fundraising event as we arrive.
To make a donation please go to www.justgiving.com/mark-carpenter0 or you could send a cheque to Mark at Sytner Head Office made payable to ‘MacMillan Cancer Support’.
Keep an eye on this page follow our progress and thank you in advance for your support!
Team blog entries: Thursday 17th September:
"Oh... it was soooo difficult to peel myself out of bed this morning! Legs felt really stiff, but they loosened-up reasonably well.
Had my second breakfast at Penman way(!), Simon Moorhouse slaving over a hot BBQ, before joining us on the ride to Coventry. It was great to see all the crew at Penman Way... Apparently I looked knackered! :( As my mum is now constantly telling me "Och chohn, your overdoing this cycling thing... You’re looking Gaunt"!!!
We set off for Coventry with a great send off and kept a good pace to Coventry. Where, for the first time this week, we arrived on time! Everyone outsite, BBQ on the go and a couple of masseurs!
Fantastic... Eagerly leaping onto the table, the concept of two girls massaging my legs just too much to resist... But I knew this was going to hurt like hell!!! Now I can usually cope with one leg being beaten to a pulp, but both at the same time made me "squeal like a pig"! Possibly an unfortunate quote to use, but you know what I mean... Don't you!!!???
So that's the warm up done, now for the 60 miles to Oxford, nothing in between just miles! At some point not too far out of Coventry Mark did question the route... that earned my special "Paddington Hard-Stare" a look that my Lizzie has perfected... Must be learning, it worked surprisingly well!
Mark was suffering today, I think we got to the bottom of him yesterday... So to speak! However, speaking of his bottom, we did hear that it was a constant and significant source of pain throughout the day!
We arrived finally at Oxford at 6pm and the team were waiting at the end of the road to escort us to the dealership in a Tuk-tuk, haven't seen any of those in the UK before!
Tonight another err "interesting" B+B and an early start ahead of us tomorrow. Last day, got to try and be on time this time!"
"Hoorah! One day left and another 90 mile ride over with.
The day started well with a Macmillan breakfast event at Penman Way and the enthusiastic participation of the Penman team meant we felt well supported by them. I managed a small athletic breakfast of sausage egg and beans.
A round of applause later and we were off again, today joined by Simon Moorhouse of Group Finance for the leg to BMW Coventry. A relatively flat road and 2 hours later we were arriving to the smell of sausage and burgers ably cooked by Tim Wilson and Nick Koumblis outside the dealership - fantastic.
And then Ed, who has morphed into many things on this trip, passed me his phone as he had Mercia FM on the line for an interview with me. So Ed now does PR!
So the interviewer introduced himself and asked me questions about how we were feeling, why were we doing it and finally he asked me what awaited us at Portsmouth. So I said tanks, the team and some food and I meant to say a masseur (kindly arranged by Alex at Portsmouth) also awaited us. But what came out of my mouth was "massage parlour"! Now, this may have been wishful thinking on my part but I can assure you it is not in our plans for Friday. Fortunately he was able to edit it from the interview. Or so he said.
Then into the dealership for a drink and ...heaven - two masseurs awaiting our presence with hands at the ready. Thanks BMW Coventry - that was a great touch. So up on the table I leapt and the ladies set about work. However, within one second I regretted it. Agony. My legs were so sore that their every touch caused me to yelp in pain. I think I even called out for my Mum at one point!
Once I'd recovered it was onwards to Oxford. Which is a long way from Coventry. I can confirm that it is a very long way. Many hills, not on the scale of the past few days but if its not hills its distance that gets you on our tour of Britain.
So into Oxford and met a short distance from the dealership by Alex Scott in a Tuk-tuk (a far eastern motorised rickshaw). Pure comedy - Alex has actually bought this piece of metal to sell! Has Jeremy had a Tuk-tuk stock review? It’s over 60 days old I think so a write-down may be in order! I think Alex was actually trying to sell me the thing in the end?!
Onto the guesthouse and another delightful example of why Brits go abroad... Our room tonight is burgundy - carpet, curtains, wallpaper and bedspread…Truly awful!
So into Oxford for dinner and a pizza is before me. Keep the calories up!"
Last blog tomorrow!
A BIG thank you to all the Penman Way staff for a terrific send off this morning...after a plate full of bacon, eggs, baked beans & sausage I was ready (all be it a little bloated) for the penultimate day of the epic journey North to South.
The ride from Leicester to our 1st stop at BMW Coventry was much easier due to the lack of hills…much to the annoyance of Mr Buchan. The welcome party were out in force... busily cooking on the BBQ were Mr Koumblis (where there's food NK is close) and Tim Wilson…a really warm greeting...thank you.
After the rub down we set off on the 60 mile leg to Oxford. As the Portsmouth finishing line is getting closer the focus gets even greater. Ignore the pain, the fatigue the hurt its all for a fantastic cause...keep going!! About a mile from Jaguar Oxford we were met by a member of their team driving one of those Vietnamese 3 wheel Tuk-tuk (rickshaw type vehicle)...a sound profit opportunity (not) well done Alex. We followed the Tuk-tuk to the dealership and the finish of day 5. There is still plenty of time to go online and pledge...Rainbow Children's Trust need your support...they get nothing from the government…they survive purely on the public's generosity. Please give anything you can.
Final blog tomorrow....
Ed Lees (support driver):
"We left Penman Way head office of Sytner this morning with a cheer from the staff standing at the front door after another hearty cooked breakfast. Simon Moorhouse joined us for support
I had to run an errand at Coventry to the nearest bike shop and was grateful for the assistance of Jennifer Quinn to find the energy powder which John had requested. She kindly helped me find the shop in the darkest part of the city! By the time I had dropped her back at BMW Coventry half an hour had passed and I didn't catch up with the others until crossing over the M40.
So here we are having arrived in Oxford to a rousing welcome. Was lead in by the Tuk-tuk van/taxi type vehicle!
Buchan had failed to spot the toll bridge on his planned route a few miles prior and I had to blag my way over it even though the toll was 5p, I had no cash. After some explanation and pointing to the side of the van the chap let me through on the basis of the good cause.
Now back to the hotel- another ‘interesting’ establishment.
It is getting a little monotonous - one leafy lane looks much like the other so I took the opportunity this afternoon to take photos of some chocolate box cottages as we passed through the Cotswold countryside.
Looking forward the last leg and the surprises which Portsmouth Land Rover has for us...."
Team blog entries: Wednesday 16th September:
"Ok, so we knew today was going to be the hardest day with 9 miles of uphill from the start, then a bit of screaming downhill and a bit more up! Really enjoyed the cold, windy, desolate bit over the moors... It’s a Scottish thing!
Mark found the lure of the tea shops of Bakewell simply too hard to resist, and didn't have too much difficulty persuading Adam or me really!!! Our combined charm and fashionable looks immediately pulled a couple of old biddies who were most interested in our trip and gave us few quid for the pot too!
Good to see The Boys climbing well, it wasn't the big hills that did it today, but grinding out the many miles that followed.
The Bakewell tea shop did compound our general lateness heading for Derby, and with the news that there was a press photographer waiting for our arrival added a bit of pressure! Mark picked-up our first puncture of the trip... So I sorted that out whilst Mark took the opportunity to have a quick lie-down in the grass!
We finally arrived at Derby to another excellent welcome some much needed food and few photos for the paper! Unfortunately Mark found the comfy seats, and prising him out of it to get the last 30ish miles done was not easy!
That last bit to Leicester was a killer, great to see Rachel from Macmillan out on the route to give us a cheer! Finally rolled into a superb welcome at Mini Leicester at 6.30 (I think), again it’s great to see so many people there despite us being so late!
Good to get home for the night tonight, and see my gorgeous girlfriend... Who's now getting narked at me taking so long to do this!!!
I'm off, goodnight!"
"Oh my God. Oh my God…
Today was appallingly tough. Setting off from Landrover Sheffield with another boost to the coffers from mike and the team. It felt like we’d be in for a decent day. The mystery tour guide had informed us passengers that today would be a tough start with a 9 mile ascent out of hilly Sheffield and then a relatively flat course down to Derby and on to Leicester.
He lied. Big time. Maybe for the best, as if we'd known what lay ahead I suspect we wouldn't have got out of bed this morning.
Last night was a good night, felt ok and a decent meal in a nearby pub in Sheffield. Only thing was I'd put on a lot of deep heat (no, not one of Ed's in-van movies; the soothing gel). So we were sat in a corner of a pub with two ladies sitting nearby who moved tables within a few minutes of us sitting down. Then the waitress came over and started sniffing near our table and called the manager over! Highly embarrassing when she uttered (rather loudly) "I can smell deep heat!" Soon we were all alone in the pub with no one brave enough to sit too close. Food was good though.
So after a good breakfast and a chat with the 'staff' at Landrover Sheffield it was off to Derby. The tour guide with the now infamous satnav took us up every hill in the city (bloody hilly place Sheffield city centre, no wonder they need those trams!) and out into the peak district national park. More hills, more scary 45mph descents and yet more hills. We stopped off at Bakewell for a well earned cup of tea and a tart and agreed we were all shattered. Ed piped up that he was also tired, from what we couldn't work out....
The route to Derby took 5 hours, some 55 miles or so and a really tiring journey. Then at Derby, after a super reception again from Russ and the team, we had the worlds most time consuming photographer. 30 minutes of left a bit, right a bit, stand here stand there. Nightmare. Freezing cold and shattered it really took it out of me.
And so then to the simple trip to Leicester. Simple in a car, a marathon on a bike. 2 hours 25 minutes later we arrived to a great welcome. We were all, even John the iron man, absolutely exhausted. The reception from the team at BMW and MINI was terrific and a super contribution by them for Macmillan swelled the coffers further. I can't commend our dealerships enough - what a team we have. Air horns, cheering, clapping, yes, energy drinks - they've thought of everything! Well done and thank you.
Thanks to everyone who has supported us to date, and please keep donating!
Tonight I have the luxury of my own bed, but only after dealing with my three children. My youngest son Charles broke his leg 8 weeks ago and when I left for Edinburgh on Saturday was still unable to stand or walk having just had his cast removed. Tonight he practically ran to me - fantastic and I was so pleased. A got bath and ointment applied and all sores are now soothed for tonight at least!
Coventry and then Oxford tomorrow. Hopefully fewer hills please!"
"Day four done, over, finished destined to history....thank God!! It's wrong for me to use God’s name in such a way…but to be honest we could have popped in, had a chat & a cup of tea with the creator of all things known to man the hills Mr Buchan had us climbing today…it really did feel as if we were climbing upwards into the heavens...I've never felt pain like it in all my life as my legs strained attempting the climbs.
Anyway at last a B&B which was clean and homely with an owner who really did care about delivering great customer service...the night before we set off for Derby on day 4 of the ride we stayed in Sheffield in a lovely B&B…once again I drew the short straw and had to share with Mark...another night being kept awake...for goodness sake Mark...go and get your adenoids or tonsils removed...how does your poor wife cope?
After breakfast we set off for LR Sheffield, the official start place for Day 4, Mike Tyson and his team gave us a great send off which really did galvanise us all for the journey ahead. Yes it was tough...the road from Sheffield to Derby through the Peak District really did test us all, other than John 'Lance Armstrong' Buchan who was loving every minute of it! Tired and fatigued we arrived at Audi Derby...more than two hours late. A quick bite to eat and we were off again on the 35 mile cycle to Leicester. God, there I go again, it was a lovely site to see the BMW flags as we rounded the final corner arriving at Sytner Leicester. A brilliant welcoming from Steve Gough and his team made the 95+ miles all worth while...thank you Steve.
So 4 of the 6 days done...just under 200 miles to go. If I were honest there has been times when I have thought I simply can't go on...but I have dispelled this from my head as quick as it entered…why?...well how could I let down all those who have given so generously in support of the Rainbow Children's Trust? I would never have forgiven myself at giving up...do the families they support ever give up...of course not they're all fighters!!
Day 5..the penultimate day only hours away...so off to bed to rest those aching bones...just before I go could I ask one last thing? A favour.... all those who have read this day 4 blog who haven't pledged to go to my just giving website and give whatever they can for Rainbow :-) http://www.justgiving.com/Adam-Jordan-/"
All the very best Adam (A BIG kiss for Zorina, William and Luke...X)
Ed Lees (support driver):
"Another long day in the saddle for the cyclists – another long day in the driver’s seat for me!
Came up over the moors out of Sheffield to enter the Peak National Park – cold wind fortunately blowing from behind. That must have caused MC to need a comfort break which he did narrowly missing the van in the process. Fast decent in to Hathersage.
Bakewell – short stop at a café for coffee and bakewell tarts – a local lady, upon overhearing our exploits, thrust a donation into my hand which was very unexpected but made the stop even more worthwhile.
After then I think I went off the route in the myriad of lanes which presented themselves on the map.
A friend of mine works in an office on Pride Park Derby – I had called him and was waving from the van window when the team came up from behind and not knowing this thought I was flagging them down so they all stopped??
Next stop Derby Audi again greeted by all the staff at the entrance and the obligatory air horn. The photographer was very enthusiastic and was trying to get an unusual composition including the team climbing a grassy bank to get a silhouette. The team just wanted to get on with the cycling – needless to say we were a little late which made us even more late for arrival at BMW MINI Leicester
Rachel Herrick – the local MacMillan representative came to meet us all in the lanes between Ashby and Leicester and give encouragement as they were all getting very tired at this point.
Steve Gough and his team presented us with a huge cheque and the MINI showroom was decorated with Macmillan banners and balloons.
Home for one night now apart from Adam who will be sampling the delights of Premier Inn at Leicester."
Team blog entries: Tuesday 15th September:
"Had the pleasure of Mark "I don't snore" Carpenter and Ed to share with last night, but still slept like a dead-thing despite the resonating drain in the next bed! :)
We set off at 9am with Tony Buckley and James Warne joining us for the day. Tony was having some issues with his "bone shaker" trying to spit him into the weeds, finally calling James's wife who came to the rescue with James's spare bike.
The guys at Harrogate Audi had a spectacular welcome for us... It’s a great feeling turning up with everyone cheering and clapping, starting to feel a bit like Ewan MacGregor in the "Long Way Down"... And whilst we're somewhere close to a Star Wars theme... I think the boys are starting to feel "the force"; they're getting much stronger on the hills.
Another welcome at Wakefield, and a cheerleader (excellent, more of them please!!!). I had been keeping quiet about the final 3rd part of the day, adopting a "Don't spook the Horse" approach, best they didn't know what was to come, they'd only worry (complain) about it... :)
A good few long and steep hills to get over before a screaming descent into Sheffield. We had a quick break after the first couple of hills, and Tony looked like he was likely to need a defibrillator but he managed to keep it going all the way to Sheffield.
Finally arrived to cream teas in Sheffield at 6pm and another 94miles. A bit late, well 2 hours late, think I've a bit optimistic with the timetable!
Properly lovely B+B tonight, looking forward to my own bed tomorrow night!"
"Another day done and now half way! Having started from Northallerton at 9am feeling tired and jaded we were joined by Toni Buckley from Mercedes Stockton and James Warne from Seat Huddersfield for the ride to Harrogate Audi and VW.
After a brief start we had to stop for an issue with Toni's £3k bike (borrowed fortunately). A simple issue really- at 5mph the front wheel wobbled profusely. Frankly I thought it was Toni's age or the amount of beer he drank the night before at dinner with us. But no, having already named Toni as Toni 'The Wobble' Buckley it was confirmed by our mechanic (John Buchan) that the bike was - erm – rubbish! So a replacement was kindly sourced from James’ home nearby and we were off again.
So onwards to Harrogate, and a decent ride on flat surface with an overcast sky, so we managed to go along at a decent pace.
Another great reception from the Harrogate teams, with a few funny moments. First, having awarded prizes to local school children for a design a car competition (fantastic idea Garth) we were setting off when John Cragg (in his usual style) pointed out a graphic on the dealership window, so off I dutifully went on my bike. Then hit a kerb. Then fell over with foot still in the pedal. In front of the entire dealership team! Their concern was overwhelming - overwhelmingly non-existent that is! So I now have a small scratch on my elbow to show the lovely Mrs C how brave I am!
We paused for a photo with the team at VW before departing which again was entertaining. "Bikes at the front!" instructed our official photographer Mr Ed Lees. However the VW team soon irked our photographer again, standing too far back. "Excuse me, can staff move nearer the bikes" he barked. Staff? Do you mean "Team" Ed? One team Ed, one team! I suppose you had to be there.
Whilst on the subject of dear Edward, I've had to give him some guidance on his role. Ed seems to think his support role involves hiding his hedgerows and lanes and as we ride past jump out and then video us whizzing by. It is quite terrifying and I think Ed may actually be a frustrated paparazzi photographer given his tendency to hide in hedges and ditches.. Ed has also spent a rather worrying amount of time alone in the van in quiet country lanes. Quite what he's been up to us anyone's guess but all I will say is that it does have a dvd player in the back!?
Whilst on the team, I have been quite touched today by the friendship John struck up with fellow cycling anorak James Warne. To see the two of them cycling on ahead next to each other was a beautiful sight. They were obviously comparing notes on the best chain to buy or something. They became so close at one point I thought they were going to hold hands. I think they arranged to meet again when there were less onlookers.
And as for Adam I am becoming concerned by his delusional tendencies. He claims I snore which is incorrect as it is merely my strategy to slow the team down so I can keep up (which is working so far!). Also he must have very strong velcro on the inside of his bike helmet as each time he removes it he seems to have less hair. I think his memory is also failing as his spelling is atrocious! Each night whilst doing our blogs (what a sight - four blokes sitting in a pub saying nothing to each other and tapping away on blackberries) we have a spelling test as Adam does his and says "how do you spell snores"?
So it was off again after Harrogate in no time and on to the staff (!) at Landrover Wakefield. Escorted in from the nearby dual carriageway by Paul Williams in a Range Rover with horns blasting - treated well as always by Paul! A great welcome again but our mystery tour guide John Buchan had slightly misjudged how fast Adam and I could pedal, i.e. at about half as fast as he can.
After a well earned spot of lunch it was with some apprehension that we left for BMW Sheffield. Apprehension because John had been quite excited by the challenging hills that lay ahead. There's no longer anything that strikes fear into me more than John being excited about a hill. And he did not disappoint. Brutal, knackering, awful, terrifying. Take your pick, they all apply. At least it was only for 2 hours I guess.
So we arrived at BMW Sheffield to another terrific reception, this time from William and the team at 6pm. Some of the team had even stayed behind to greet us - fantastic and much appreciated. Our appetites are clearly getting some press - we are well fed at every stop to compensate for the estimated 6000 calories a day we are burning off.
So on to tonight's accommodation and...... It’s lovely! Same price as the other godforsaken places we've stayed at but really quite nice. Adam and I even had a bath. Separately I hasten to add, although I think Adam was trying to make a pass at me when applying his bottom cream suggestively. I politely declined.
Wednesday sees us ride from Sheffield to Leicester via Derby; some grueling hills lie in wait in the morning so when you read this I will be in severe pain I suspect!
Please keep donating - it's so easy to do and after all that's the reason we're doing this ride! Every penny counts!"
Thanks and more again tomorrow!
"He fell over...he fell over...yes the highlight of the day for me was seeing Mark fall off his bike in front of the entire team at Audi Harrogate...it was like watching Barns Wallace perfecting his bouncing bomb the way his rather ample backside hit the tarmac...fortunately no injuries other than a small dent to his pride.
The day started well even though it followed yet another disrupted nights sleep having been kept awake not this time by Mark C but by my new room mate Toni Buckley who after claiming he didn't snore did a fantastic impression of an old man suffering from emphysema gasping for his last breath...I kid you not the curtains were being sucked towards his cake hole then blown away with every breath he took.
Breakfast was good, all be it served by a man with a dreadful syrup, giving us all the much needed fuel for the 35-mile distance to our 1st resting place Audi Harrogate...anyway back to my room mate Mr Buckley now re-christened Toni “the wobble" Buckley after nearly losing control of his top of the range bike within 5-mins of leaving for Harrogate..bike condemned off he went in the back of the support van with Mr Lees to keep him company. I'm now know how royalty feel when they arrive at a function having sampled something very similar when we rode into Audi Harrogate...what a fantastic job Garth and his team had done...brilliant well done! Even Craggy left his 'squeeze every ounce out of his DP's' conference call to wish us well before we set off for LR Wakefield.
Paul Williams and his team had put on a real welcoming party...there were dancing girls supplied by the Wakefield Wild Cats...wild being an understatement…what legs, mind you legs on an old chest of draws would look better having had the displeasure of looking at Marks over the last three days. From Wakefield we left for Sheffield... the scenic route of course planned by our infamous sadomasochistic Mr Buchan…more hills than at any other part of the journey not what was required having already covered 80miles…tired legs and sore parts you get what I mean?
Finally we arrived at Sheffield and another great welcome from William Le Fevre (shame he's leaving) and his team. Tea and jam scones were laid on which were fantastic...thank you. Anyway day 3 now done...just under 290 miles covered...less ahead of us...again roll on Friday...can wait to see my beautiful wife Zorina.
...one last thing before I sign off...please, please, PLEASE keep pledging, every pound pledged will help the Rainbow Children's Trust support the families of those gravely ill children. Just click on the link: http://www.justgiving.com/Adam-Jordan-/"
Ed Lees (support driver):
"Northallerton to Sheffield
Day 3 in the bag - now half way
Eventful day with Toni’s bike failing him and having to collect James Warnes spare, fortunately we were not far away.
Audi Harrogate had done a stirling job with raising funds and getting some local schoolchildren to participate with prizes!
Tyre on the van was also replaced thanks to Garth and his team arranging that.
We were on our way by 12pm to Wakefield traveling from nice countryside to the Leeds conurbation. Under the M62.
Wakefield’s reception was buoyed up by the cheerleaders and a wildcat mascot.
Then onto Sheffield over the hill onto the don valley - arrived at about 6pm. A cream tea was laid on - very nice - the only problem is I'm not doing much exercise stuck behind the wheel?"
Team blog entries: Monday 14th September:
A corking climb up out of Newcastle had the boys puffin' a bit but nice to see both Mark and Adam climbing with a bit more pace!
I do seem to be taking rather a lot of grief about the route, the navigation, the hills, the weather, the scenery....etc etc.. But hey, I get my own back on the hills!!!
We are starting to get this together; the boys are getting the hang of sitting in my slipstream... This is great, it means on reasonably flat sections I can pull us along at 25mph+ and really cover some miles!
Adam needed the stop at Stockton, his legs cracked about 15 miles out of Stockton and he did a great job of suffering his way to the dealership where a mars bar and some coffee sorted him out...
Toni Buckley joined us for the ride into Northallerton, think he found it a baptism of fire... We were cracking on a bit!
The station hotel, is err interesting, but I do seem to have bonded with the guard dog!!!
Bring on tomorrow, James Warne from Huddersfield is joining us for the ride to Sheffield... Tomorrow has a sting in its tail, but keep it to yourselves... They don't need to know!!! ;)"
"Phew! Another day down and I feel ok given we're now up to 200 miles. We had a few entertaining moments with John's 350 quid satnav - just goes to show no matter how much you pay for technology you still need to read the bl**dy instructions! John has now been renamed John 'mystery tour' Buchan!
The morning saw us depart our Rothbury establishment (very similar to 'The Slaughtered Lamb' pub in the film American Werewolf in London).
After the chill had worn off we tackled a ridiculously steep hill - why put a road up a hill that steep? Then another and another. Soon we were approaching Newcastle and an appreciated and rapturous round of applause from Jeremy and the team at Newcastle - a full parade of clapping hands for us to ride through - great. Lots of carbs and coffee later and after drying the kit (in Newcastle's oven!) from the morning rain it was off again up another demoralising hill out of Newcastle and on to Stockton. Met by Toni and the team and it was on again to Northallerton, this time admirably joined by Toni Buckley.
The hotel tonight is another prime candidate for a visit by TV's ‘Hotel Inspector’ to resolve some major issues! I now feel intimately close to my work colleagues having showered in a communal bathroom whilst Adam was in the bath! Tonight's lucky roommates are John and Ed!
The journey tomorrow takes us to Harrogate Audi, Landrover Wakefield and then to BMW Sheffield.
Please keep supporting us - it makes a huge difference to our motivation knowing money is being pledged whilst we're ploughing through the miles! www.justgiving.com/Mark-carpenter0"
More again tomorrow!
"Day two behind us...approx 100miles of tarmac covered... feel ok other than my toes are starting to swell, if they carry on at this rate I’ll be finishing the ride in bare feet as I won't be able to get my shoes on!!
We all felt relaxed this morning after a good nights sleep..well Mark, John and Ed all felt relaxed...I didn't having been kept awake by Marks snoring - it was that bad the occupants of the adjoining room were banging on the wall demanding we kept the noise down...I'm sure all those who have a noisy partner (not that I class Mark as a partner even though he does look very fetching in his cycling shorts...) know exactly what I mean!
Anyway the day started well...John Buchan didn't disappoint selecting the steepest hills for us to climb on route to Newcastle...what is he on? I'm sure he gets a little stirring in the nether regions when faced with the hill of all hills. After about 35 miles we arrived at Newcastle...what a welcome from Jeremy Simpson and his team...clapping and cheering it really was quite moving.
A good day but I do miss Zorina (wife), William, Luke (sons) and Tilly the West Highland Terrier dog...roll on Friday so we all can be reunited.
Please please please keep pledging...the Rainbow Children's Charity need all the support they can get. http://www.justgiving.com/Adam-Jordan-/"
The very best wishes
Ed Lees (support driver):
Unfortunately the tyre on the van needs replacing as it is irreparable. This will be done in the morning at Audi Harrogate.
Otherwise fairly uneventful afternoon apart from the team overtaking me by taking a different route - I only just caught up with them when we arrived at Stockton on Tees!
Although I must say that you wouldn't want to dwell much longer than we have at the overnight accommodation?!"
Team blog entries: Sunday 13th September:
“Arrived in Edinburgh last night and went for a curry. Was surprised and slightly worried that Mark and Adam eat like church mice... Bet that changes over the week!
What a really pleasant day out, excellent send off from Edinburgh with the Ferrari owners club all blasting their horns as we rolled out of the dealership.
A few good hills to ride (I like riding up hill, bigger the better); I'd forgotten how beautiful Northumberland is!
Mark and Adam got through the day well, but I think they spent most of it dreaming-up ways of killing me.
Arrived in Rothbury about 6ish and set about getting the bikes cleaned, ready for tomorrow.
Tomorrow is a bit tougher, not quite so much climbing but more miles and I think Mark and Adam will feel it...”
“We started off with a healthy breakfast in the salubrious hotel and then set off for Graypaul Edinburgh. A great welcome from Garry and the management team - hog roast, Ferrari owners club send off and lots of photos and cheering.
Macmillan rep was there and thanked is for our effort which brought home to me why we were doing this - for people less fortunate than us battling a serious medical condition.
Nervous and excited, Adam missed the first turn and that settled us down with a laugh.
The 40 miles to lunch were grueling - lots of hills, some hairy descents and I felt really tired throughout the morning session. Mind you watching John and Adam disappear up hills ahead of me was pretty demoralising but I managed to improve after lunch.
Ably supported by Ed in the van the miles tucked by and the afternoon session was better and some consistent speeds were reached.
So the end of a long day at 6pm and pulling into the hotel at Rothbury was a great feeling. 89 miles and some sore legs but pleased to get the first day complete with no incidents.
Monday is on to Newcastle and then Stockton and then overnight in Northallerton. Wish us luck - we appreciate all the messages of support and donations.”
“Well first day done 90 miles under our belts...all went well..legs a bit tired...two layers of padded cycling shorts have done wonders...no soreness there (thank god!!).
Please keep pledging..."
Ed Lees (support driver):
“First leg in the bag!
Support vehicle has suspected slow puncture and will need to be looked at by MB Newcastle. So I am going onto there first thing.
Driving has been quite entertaining. Met up with the local Macmillan guy out of Edinburgh in a couple of laybys. Good to have the support.
Leaving Edinburgh was fun, loads of people; staff and customers with their Ferraris turned up.
Scenery was spectacular around the Cheviot albeit a little damp.
Lads have done well of the first day not too many complaints except for a section of lane which turned into a rutted track.” .
Team blog entries: Friday 11th September:
"It was all going too well really, I was taking part in a 100 mile mountain bike race on Saturday in Kielder Forest in Northumberland and strained my right achilles tendon. From the point I noticed it hurting I still had another 6 hours of riding on it, which was never going to do it any good!
I think as long as I carefully look after it this week it should be ok for next week!
The bike is clean and ready to go, just need to pack clothes and tools etc and we're ready to rock!"
No, really I am anxious and hoping that come Tuesday I’m not in agony with cramp. There’s been a fantastic response from the dealerships that we plan to visit albeit John’s timetable will be slightly quicker than I suspect we’ll achieve. SO , feeling ready, but slightly daunted by the challenge ahead. Injury free at present though!"
"The enormity of the challenge is starting to hit me (and the family)...Luke my 10-year old doesn’t want me to go...I have even had my mother on the phone checking to make sure I wrap up nice and warm, clean underwear and brush my teeth!!
Training has been going fine, but like John I have been suffering with a sore achilles for the last few weeks. Slight adjustment to the set up of the bike and I’m hoping this will go away.
Bike clean...spares purchased...raring to go!!"
Ed Lees (support driver):
Its getting close...
Van is sorted and arranged for pick up tomorrow from BMW Leicester ready to drive up to Edinburgh!"
Since 1963, Lamborghini has been building its legendary super sports cars in Sant'Agata Bolognese. When building each vehicle, it is not just about revolutionary technology but also to every single original accessory. Each and every accessory boasts outstanding quality, first-rate technology and a signature Lamborghini design -