For those of who have been keeping tabs on this blog would have seen that The Prostate Cancer Charity in the UK are trying to become the charity name behind cycling. Just the same as running is for breast cancer, they would like to make cycling the sport for prostate cancer. A natural association if you like.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and as a result, one man dies every hour from this horrid disease, not to mention the 35000 men that are diagnosed with it every year. So it’s not something to shy away from. But rather a disease that we need to fight against.
With that, the Charity has teamed up with The Tour of Britain to offer cyclists of all abilities the chance to ride a stage of The Tour, in The Tour Rides. Taking place in September, cyclists can try out the same routes that the pro’s get to race on in the Tour.
The same attention to detail and event planning is put into delivering a Tour Ride as staging The Tour of Britain. With extensive route signage, marshals, motorcycle support, official cars on route and neutral service, the Tour Rides offer a unique full-support experience.
Plus, there are carefully located and well stocked feed and drink stations along the route as well as hot drinks and sandwiches. I’ve been informed that this year’s Tour Rides will also incorporate timing splits and timed King of the Mountains sections (Pro Tour Ride).
The neutral service is being provided by the team at Saddleback Ltd who bring to the UK market those awesome racing machines, FELT – as currently used by the Garmin Transitions cycling team the Tour de France, as well as Lance’s groupset of choice, SRAM.
So on Tuesday 22 June, I was lucky enough to be invited by the Charity to go and try out the Stoke route of the Tour Ride. This route forms as Stage 2 of The 2010 Tour of Britain. It was a clear hot day – 22 degrees celcius. A perfect day to go out for the ride – as you will see from the pictures below. I had been looking forward to doing the ride for a whole week running up to it, especially as it was time out of the hectic schedule we were on for The Tour Series, plus I got to have my last ride on the Felt FC.
As it was a media ride, we weren’t going to do the full day’s worth of riding (ie. Pro Ride). We were only aiming to do 60+ km’s. However, we were going to take in the hilliest part of the route. Our day started off in Rocester, the home of JCB. From there we made our way to Leek taking in the stunning views of the Staffordshire Moorlands. On the ride we took a short break in the village of Longnor, where we were welcomed with open arms by the owner of the local coffee shop called Cobbles. A true cycling fan, he offered us teas, coffees and sandwiches on the house. How could we say no to that? So if you ever in the village, make sure you stop by Cobbles.
From Longnor we made our way towards Leek, not before taking in plenty of 10% climbs and the well known, Gun Hill. I felt great at the start of the ride but the climbs were relentless and they began taking their toll. I have to say that Gun Hill was not easy at all and I can see why people gather along it when the Tour races over. There were some great downhills too (not too many of these unfortunately), but did manage to get up to speeds of 80km/h.
It was a great day out and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. If you’re on the fence about whether to take part, I would urge you to go for it. Sign up for The Tour Rides, you will not be sorry. And feel good in knowing that you are also putting money to a good cause.
I would also like to say a HUGE thanks to Andrew and team at Saddleback for providing me with the Felt FC to use on the ride! I loved riding it so much, I am now looking to buy it.
And last but not least, below are pictures taken on the day of our ride. These were taken by Joolze Dymond who is also the official photographer for The Tour of Britain and The Tour Series. If you get a chance, make sure you check out her website: www.joolzedymond.com
Remember, there are three routes to choose from and three rides at each, for the exception of London, which offers only one ride. For more details on all the Rides on offer (dates, distances, etc) in The Tour Rides, check out my previous posting on The Tour Rides.
Enjoy the pics and sign up!
Starting out in Rocester where our ride began
A beautiful day to be out riding the bike
Making the most of my last day on the Felt FC
The start of many many climbs to come
Easy for some, others not
The scenery was just spectacular
Riding on roads that were virtually clear of traffic. Made for a superb day out
You can almost see the heat come off the road
Some more uphills
Working the Felt. Plus, enjoyed the SRAM groupset. Definitely a convert to its style
How can you say no to that?
Peter and Liz helping us out on the ride, a day after the Chester round of The Tour Series
Some more ups
Peter trying the typical 'fan with water bottle' you see in the Tour de France
He was loving it
...and the fact that I was getting wet
Mind you, afterwards it did feel quite refreshing
Then just for the camera decided to do a typical rider 'response' to getting wet
Maybe over doing it a little
Watch out for the BIG hand! Getting a fresh bottle from Liz
Seriously enjoying my day out on the Felt. I think I should keep it!!
And there were some downhills too
But what goes down must go up
Liz and Peter enjoying their day out of the office
Coffee stop in the village of Longnor. Check out Cobbles if you are ever there
Making our way towards Gun Hill
But before we get there, a few more clims to negotiate
Boy it was hot out there
There were loads of these too - 10 per cent climbs
Doing some close ups for the Charity
Taking the mick out of Joolze who's sitting in the boot of the CRV
Suffering on the first killer section of Gun Hill
Really thankful that Paul was there to encourage me along
My legs were hurting big time
Finished the second killer section
Enjoying the fact that Gun Hill levels out towards the top
Joolze making us sprint for the top. She loves to see us suffer
Freewheeling into Leek
Enjoying the post ride chat with Paul...