Monday, August 31, 2009

Hotter N Hell Part 2 - Hydration

Every cyclist will know that after a long ride there are some essential things that you should do to promote the best sort of recovery.
These include warming down, stretching, resting but most importantly ensuring that you replace all of the fluids that you have lost from your body.
Being a great believer in the science of physiology I take my post ride very seriously and the Hotter N Hell was no exception.
My warming down consisted of a an Irish jig under a fire hydrant, a modern rendition of Riverdance.
This was warmly received by my fellow Mules and had locals wondering if there had been an escapee from the sanatorium.
My stretching consisted of reaching right down to the very bottom of the ice chest to make claim to the coldest beer. As well of flexing my wrists and loosening off my shoulders it also kicked off my hydration procedure.
This obligatory burden continued along with the rest sequence after 'The Mules' had set up camp on a grassy knoll close to the finish line.
The Mule banner was firmly placed into the ground and the Mules banter started. We set about promoting our team and the concept of Mule riding (Check out website). We also waited to see some of our Mule wannabes come in.
(L to R Me,Taylor Bartholomew, Paddy)
Taylor and fellow Mulee Kelly McKinzie set to do the 100 miles off behind us.
Sadly Taylor took a nasty tumble and had to SAG home but Kelly and the Mules were there to cheer her up on her return.
(L to R Marion, Adam, Dave, Christian)
Adam is the newest addition to the Mules however he chose to ride with his friend Marion at a slightly slower pace for this particular ride.
Dave was doing a great job promoting The Mules by chatting up other cyclists girlfriends.
Bad Mule!!!!!!!!
Meet some Mules
Sean
Kelly
Simon Dave
Christian
Adam
As the afternoon wore on we were all very strict with our fluid replacement. It would even be true to say that due to the amount of fluid sloshing around inside us that it made us unsteady on our feet. Kenny and I being 'Pack Mules' and wishing to keep the fluids running maintained a regular Trek to the Beer tent.
Unfortunately they filled the glasses right up to the top so we had to drink a bit from every bodies before trotting back to the Mule encampment.
(L to R Me, Kenny)
We promised ourselves that when we got to the end of the ride that we would do a remake of 'Ice cold in Alex'
Unfortunately Cyclists are not always the best actors unless they are giving excuses for poor performances or why they cant ride.
After about 8 takes and close to a flat battery on my Camera we got a wrap.

I did not want to post it as it is so poor- but promises are promises i appologise in advance. Special thanks to the Arron and the other BHP extras who helped out on this production.
Original Ice Cold in Alex



MGM Mules Great Movies presents 'Ice Cold in Wichita Falls'
video
By 7pm most of the Mules had gone back into the stable however Dave, Kenny took our Mule Train into downtown Wichita Falls, we saw a great band and met some lovely people and got totally hydrated.
Hopefully The Mules maybe remembered fondly.
I head home on Tuesday and have another 100mile ride in Manchester on Sunday.
Whatever the weather I will be wearing my Mule shirt.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Hotter N Hell Part 1

At 0705 hrs a cannon fired across Scott Street, Witchita Falls to set the mules off on their very first organised centurion ride. 'The 2009 Hotter than Hell'

From 0600 hrs we had queued up with 14,000 other cyclists in what must be the biggest century ride in America, if not globally.
Prior to the start we were treated to Olympic gymnast Carly Patterson singing the American national anthem and a flyover from Sheppard Air Force Base with their T38 Trainer jets.




At the start the temperature was a very pleasant 64 f .
The locals and more seasoned Hotter tan hell competitors described this as being cool.
I thought the whole thing was 'cool' but that had nothing to do with the temperature.
I thought that the temperature was perfect.
I can just imagine waiting with my bike in England at six o'clock in the morning.
At the very least I would have required a mug of steaming coffee, coat, woolly hat and ear muffs even if it was the middle of the summer.
We set off in 'the scorchers' category about one block from the start line or about 2,000 people back.
The 'scorcher' status apparently meant that we expected to maintain an average of between 18 and 20 mph.
The first few miles were very tricky with thousands of riders jostling for positions and trying to find their own rhythm.
Despite that, the Mules soon established got going with a high tempo and developed an early pace line.
We scorched up the outside of the pack at about 25 mph.
With our distinctive blue and red shirts and tight disciplined formation we looked great and soon had a stream of riders hitching a lift onto our ever increasing 'mule train'.
(L to R - Kenny, Simon, Paddy and Me)
As the sun came up the temperature rose into the high 80's f warming our limbs and casting a stream of symmetric shadows onto the road, illustrating the precision our riding.
It was like the scene from a western, alongside the 'mule train' there was the good, the bad, and the dammed right ugly.
The good was exemplified my the camaraderie, support and warmth of other riders who we encountered.
The bad was the lack of consideration by a few riders. If it was not for the individual skills and dexterity of a large number of riders there would have been literally hundreds of accidents and casualties. I personally lost count of the near misses I witnessed where riders completed daft manoeuvres putting everyone around them at risk. On two occasions I had to break so hard that my rear wheel locked up. It was only through good fortune that I did not join the 'honorable Road Rash Society'
The Ugly was the the sight of other cyclist in pain or cut and battered by the side of the road

(L to R - Sean, Kenny, Dave)
(L to R - Sean, Kenny, Dave)
(Christian)
After 60 miles we were averaging 21.5 mph and looking to set a great time, however Paddy was starting to suffer. He was still suffering the after affects of a crash two weeks previously where ha had broken a couple of ribs he was in a lot of pain.
We started to stop at all of the rest stops to give him a break and to show our unity.
It was great to see the abundance of local volunteers handing out drink, food and wet towels with a smile and supporting encouragement.


The last forty miles were completed at an easier pace and we all crossed the line together at an average speed of 19.6 mph
The finishing line was punctuated by a strategically placed fire hose that cooled us down, I needed no invitation to joint the wet cycle kit contest.

The Mules did good !!!!! Well done guys.
The rest of the day and evening were highlighted with serious hydration treatment and actively publicising the virtues of the Mules. This will be covered in Hotter Than Hell part 2 tomorrow.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Travelling to Hotter an Hell

Today we headed north from San Antonio to Wichita Falls for tomorrows Hotter than Hell 100 mile endurance ride.
Somewhere between Dallas and Witchita Falls we stopped at a Gas station and some Fella came up to me and started singing


I could not help him but did tell him all about the bike ride. I am not sure that he was overly impressed. thankfully the rest of the trip was uneventful. On our arrival we set about preparing ourselves for an early start including some last minute production details on our remake of 'Ice Cold in Alex' which will start filming tomorrow.
For all riders taking part 'good luck and safe riding' - Look out for 'The Mules' we will be assembling by our flag and our shirts are quite distinctive.We will be starting with 'The Scorchers'

Tommorrows and Sundays blogs promise to have a full report with Photos, Videos and maybe a few laughs.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Remember the Alamo

Today we were meant to start our road trip to see the Alamo in San Antonio and then onto New Braunfels.To idly float down a river for two hours being chased by a case of beer.
Culture and Coors what a great combination.
Things started well, we set off from Houston before the Sun had crowned the Horizon.
The car was full of all things associated with a road trip, Beer, Cheesy Music and slightly worn tales of previous adventures.
As I focused my Camera on anything that whetted my imaginative taste buds, humour was practised elsewhere within the vehicle.
The thing about humour is that unless your really really good at it you will never really make money out of it.
In fact you have to be very good at it, just to get an honest response.
A real laugh.
I was once with a group of people in London when a uni cyclist dressed as a clown peddled past.
I said to him 'You appear to have lost a wheel'
He replied 'Humour is difficult'.
He was right of course, and humorous.
I on the other hand was not being funny just sarcastic, trying to use another person for cheap laughs.
What is funny for one person is not funny at all for another.
Why do we often seem to delight in the misfortune of others.
As our journey continued we were confronted by a number of misfortunes.
1. 80 miles into our journey, just as the sun was starting to make the mosquitoes take cover.
Our battery failed and the car would not start.
2. Over two hours later the car started, but the vehicle control consul could not be reactivated.
This meant no Sat Nav, No Radio and No controls for the Air Conditioning
3. twenty minutes later we struck some debris in the road which wrapped itself around the rear brake of our vehicle.
We appeared to be taking in some unscheduled stops at a number of Garage forecourts.
Although the staff were extremely helpful, sympathetic and considerate, we wanted to see Davy Crockett, not Dave the Mechanic.
Eventually we got back on the road and decided to swap the order of our activities.
We remarked about how calamities came grouped together as we launched our rubber rings.
Surely nothing could go wrong in the river, we had Paddy's watertight holder to keep everything dry and there were no real rapids.
By the time our river ride had finished tensions had been loosened.
Other things had also been loosened too.
4. My shirt in the rapids
5. The water tight ability of Paddy's holder which contained my Camera (Hence no pictures today)
To hear of these events some people might laugh like drains. We did not really find it funny.
We did laugh though......people do.
Not through humour though, the laugh of exasperation, frustration the laugh of pure desperation.
At the end of the day we got to do the beer and rubber ring river routine and The Alamo. We also managed to get a look around the River walk in San Antonio during the evening.
It was amazing.


Tomorrow we head North through Austin, Dallas and up to Witchita Falls to join our Mules for the Hotter N Hell. Tomorrow is another day!!!!!!!
The Wait is nearly over

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

On the Road

This week prior to the 'Hotter than Hell' Paddy decided that we needed to rest our bodies and prepare our minds.
The first bit was fine by me as I sought to change the colour of my body from a Yorkshire Tan (Pale White) to something that might just stand out in a snowfield.
Paddy idea of mental preparation was a 'Road trip'. Yes by car.
This was a real novel concept to me as my own car had only done barely 2000 miles this year.
When we were Paddy and I used to watch the famous 'Road to' films staring Bing Crosby and Bob Hope with the romantic interest always provided by the delectable Dorothy Lamour. This was my first introduction into the Road film genre.


Personally I have always believed that any 'journey' whether physical or metaphorical is usually far more interesting and revealing that the point of departure or arrival.As a film genre it has always been popular with Hollywood.The genre has its roots in spoken and written tales of epic journeys, such as the Odyssey and the Aeneid. The road film is a standard plot employed by screenwriters. It is a kind of bildungsroman, a kind of story in which the hero changes, grows or improves over the course of the story. The modern "road picture" is to filmmakers what the heroic quest was to Medieval writers.
The on-the-road plot was used at the birth of American Cinema but blossomed in the years after World War II, reflecting a boom in automobile production and the growth of youth culture. Even so, awareness of the "road picture" as a genre came only in the 1960s with Easy Rider and Bonnie and Clyde. Road movies traditionally end in one of four ways:
* Having met with triumph at their ultimate destination, the protagonist(s) return home, wiser for their experiences.
* At the end of the journey, the protagonist(s) find a new home at their destination.
* The journey continues endlessly.
* Having realised that, as a result of their journey, they can never go home, the protagonists either choose death or are killed.
About Schmidt
Broken Flowers
Duel
Easy Rider
Elizabethtown
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Little Miss Sunshine
Midnight Run
Paper Moon
Paris, Texas
Planes, Trains and Automobiles
Our trip takes us to San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, Witchita Falls (Hotter N Hell) then back to Houston. We will visit the Alamo to raise our spirits and generate a rallying call for our pedalling on Saturday.
The rest today was not totally adhered too as we did have a little ride around the beautiful 'Terry Hershey' Park in Houston.



Simon Paddy

Monday, August 24, 2009

So you want to be a Mule ?

Sometimes in life good things emerge from those that are perceived to be bad, where clouds reveal a true silver lining and the mythical Phoenix really does rise from the flames.
Way back in April of this year I came over to Texas to ride with my twin brother Paddy in the Houston to Austin MS150 charity cycle ride.
For the first time in the events 25 year history the first day was cancelled due to severe weather conditions.
Despite the tornado risk, flooding, and indiscriminate lightening strikes we decided to complete the first day regardless. Not wishing to have our official team associated with such reckless behaviour we abandoned our issued cycling jerseys and rode 'freelance' as renegade riders.

When I say 'we' there were in fact a total of four of us.
A Yorkshire man (Me), a Yorkshire/Texan (Paddy) and two Texans Dave Hill and Kenny Rhame.
If any outsider was searching for the sort of belligerent behaviour that would accompany such an attitude, they would need to look no further than Yorkshire or Texas, as belligerence is what we are weened on.
For those who may be interested the actual events of that day are featured in a previous blog (Renegade Riders).
During the course of that day the birth of 'The Mules' was devised.
As we were riding we all expressed our love of cycling and of raising awareness in respect of charitable causes.
We also loved the concept of cycling in unity and the togetherness that comes in being part of a team.
On that day we were all virtual strangers, but our collective views had brought us together.
We talked about the fact that teams were formed by big companies to support events like the MS150 and other one off events, only to be abandoned until the following year.
Surely charitable needs last everyday of every Year.
So we decided to create our own team.
The discussion was lively especially as we were dodging storms and lightening strikes at the same time.
Paddy suggested that we name it after my blog and we all agreed because of its universal appeal.
Ambitiously we perceived that people from all over the world not aligned to any team or riding club could attend charity rides and meet up with other riders in our unique club.
The concept never really evolved at the pace that we wanted it too, but it is still alive and 'pedaling' and growing steadily each day.
We have a website which is developing thanks to Kenny and we now have our own merchandise. (Non Profit Making).
Our first batch of Cycling Jerseys have been made and have sold out approx $85 each depending upon the numbers ordered.
Further batches will be ordered when there is enough demand to satisfy the minimum run requirement.
So how do you become a Mule ?
If you regularly ride a bicycle and complete one or more charity ride per year you can become a Mule.
How do you apply ?
Send us details of your name, where you are from and a short resumes of your cycling events, bike and a preferred Mule/Donkey picture if you have one.
You will then feature in our stable.
How do you get a Jersey ?
Once you are a member and are committed to purchase a jersey let us know and your name will be added to a list. Once the minimum order requirement is met, new Jerseys can be ordered.
Once the jerseys have been purchased, badges can be sown onto the depicting the countries and areas, that rides have been undertaken
Badges are not compulsory




How will the website be developed ?
A forum and features page will be set up once the numbers have grown.
members will be encouraged to share their ride experiences.
Contacts
Any further questions or applications should be made through the link 'Are you a Mule' on the website. This page is currently being developed so if the link is not working properly initial contact can be made through my blog right here
Hotter than Hell
Today we had a rest day from training after completing 145 miles in the previous three days. Being dedicated to the cause though we decided to keep our sustenance cycling related as you can see below.


The long range weather forecast for the weekend looks interesting.
Rather than being the Hotter than Hell it maybe that those flames mights be dampened by a cool snap making it more like 'Ice cold in Alex'. I have even left my arm warmers at home.
I was really pleased to observe this week that bob one of my followers was my first American to donate online to the charity I am raising money for on this particular ride. Thank you Bob !!
Please don't be shy, the Justgiving link takes American dollars too and credit card payments.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

It all comes out in the wash

There is an expression that is often used which says 'It all comes out in the wash'.
There are several different interpretations of this.
One of these describes the situation in life when things are 'Found out'.
It is a saying that can apply to everything from personal relationships to managing your household expenses.
No matter what you do or how you act 'life' has a way of searching for integrity, and often finds it given time.
I too have often been subject to this laundry process and failed.
I distinctly remember telling my parents that I had studied so hard for my exams only to be 'found out' when my grades arrived through the letter box.

When I was a young student I was working in a boatyard for a summer.
I loved sailing and had made myself quite proficient in basic coastal navigation.
In the Marina there was a beautiful yacht called 'Gauntlet.' It was owned by a big Australian guy who worked as a Saturation Diver in the North Sea.
He wanted to take his Yacht from Bembridge on the Isle of Wight to Norway, via Antwerp.
I knew he was looking for crew and when he approached me and asked me if I could navigate there was only one answer.
Naturally I said yes.
The response was provided so confidently that no further questions were asked, at the same time no clarification was offered on my part.

I managed to navigate to Antwerp and three quarters of the way to Norway but then thick fog came down for a whole day and my inadequacies were exposed.
Thankfully No rescue was required and I still got us to our destination.

It is now six days to go to 'The Hotter than Hell' Endurance ride and no last minute riding will help anybody if they are not prepared.
They will not only be entering the event, but metaphorically commencing a rigorous hot wash cycle where any weakness will be exploited like a bad stain.

I am confident that myself and other Mules will pass the laundry Test, but regrettably past events have shown that there are casualties every year. Most of these are down to poor preparation.

Hot but not bothered !!!!!!



Today the Mules did 65 miles at an average pace of 19.5 mph.

We did 2 minute intervals on the front of the pace line which we tried to be disciplined about although there was one particular bad Mule (Kenny) - He will have to go to blacksmiths to be re-shod

Dave joined up with us today a great asset to the Team.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Getting the right frequency

One of the things I love about being in America and especially Texas is listening to local country radio stations. Country music seems to just fit perfectly with the environment and I totally understand the local attraction to this genre. Each song tells a story, often of great angst or emotion where the lyrical content is the most significant part of the song. I imagine songwriters translating local stories both recent and from bygone eras into musical compositions.
There is an integrity about this type of music that sometimes resonates deep into your heart.
In the rural Yorkshire area we have a similar thing with Folk music and are blessed with the beautiful and talented Kate Rusby from Barnsley who has a voice as pure as a moorland stream.

Music is banned on our training rides on account of our ambition to become a good working team and to develop a greater pace line technique.
Although I don't like it I do understand and it makes sense.
Communication is key and can never be affective if all of our respective team members are musically ensconced. Each in sync with the rhythm of their own I pods.
Previously team discipline was all a bit erratic (the author being the worst offender) . Some people spent too long at the front and others spent too little time there.
Today we started to get it together with each of us taking a short spell at the front and adhering to strict rotation. It kept us all fresh and enabled us to maintain a high tempo.
I have now got the use of a New Carbon Trek bike which of similar quality to my bike in England.
After riding the museum piece yesterday it was like having an extra few gears - It went like a dreamt.
Our new approach of collective working 'Strength in numbers' was significant.
We averaged 22mph for our 40 mile route from Zube Park.
It felt really great to be part of a team especially one that was moving at such a good pace.
Our Mule shirts embroidered with multinational flags seemed to attract a great deal of intrigue and attention. Whispers soon progressed into discussions around the pace lines, especially the ones we overtook
'Who are these guys????' The question kept on arising.
For some already acquainted we got 'Here come the Mules'

Later back at home I tuned into the frequency of the local country radio station as way of relaxation.
On came one of my favorite artists Kasey Chambers.
To listen to her you would swear that she was from one of the southern states.
She sure is............. South Australia !!!!!!!!

Appearances can be deceptive, whether they are song birds from Wagga wagga or fat guys in Mule shirts, they both have something to offer this part of the states.

C'est arrive


Simon showing Paddy a clean pair of Hooves................................

Paddy looks on in amazement!!!! Cursing the fact that he had wasted two bottles of his most
expensive wine on trying to slow down his 'Anglo Mules'.
Finally after months of training the 'Anglo Mules' (Simon and I) finally arrived in Houston on Thursday afternoon. When we got to Paddy's (My twin bother) our new 'Travels with our Mule shirts' were waiting for us.
They were handed over in a formal presentation not disimilar to recieving your first 'cap' for your country. It was accompanied by an ice cold beer and our itinerary for the next few days. This unsuprisingly included cycling, cycling and more cycling in various degrees of heat that could cook a whole F***ing English breakfast on the roof of a car. Although I am reminded that it has recently cooled down.
The earliest of these excursions was scheduled to take place early the next morning.
However 'tomorrow was another day' Paddy reminded us whilst forcing further beers into our already sweating hands.
It was only 6pm in Paddy's world,Midnight in ours, He wanted to show us his cooking skills and share with us some of his red wine collection. I do like red wine and his choices were quite exquisite!!!
At about 10pm ( 4am our time) we were allowed to retire to bed with every probability of massive head aches in the morning .
What felt like minutes later at 5am USA time arrived sorry if its getting confusing now!!!!
We were up on our first ride.
Simon riding Paddy old Bianchi and myself riding a bright red Motobecane that felt as light as a blacksmiths anvil and old enough to stand alongside a 'Penny farthing' in any transport museum.
With acute hangovers and severe jet lag we set off and were able to show our true Yorkshire grit . Yorkshire terriers I quoted. We pulled Paddy along his 40 mile route at well over 20mph.
Paddy kindly remarked that we may only have $20 bikes but our legs our priceless. Thank you Paddy
We are now looking forward to riding with our other team mates tomorrow.

Hopefully this will be the start of a daily report for those back at home in particular our respective partners Karen and Joanne.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Out with Lance for a ride in the Heather

As I am about to leave to go to Texas to ride my bike, Lance Armstrong has ensured the
balance by coming over to ride. A fair exchange I think.

About 300 people have joined an impromptu bike ride with cycling legend Lance Armstrong after he issued an open invitation on a Twitter post.
The seven-times Tour de France winner alerted fans that he was coming to Scotland during a Tweet on Monday.
He posted: "Hey Glasgow, Scotland! I'm coming your way tomorrow. Who wants to go for a bike ride?"
Armstrong set off from Ashtree House Hotel, Paisley, Renfrewshire, shortly after 1230 BST on Tuesday.
How great was it that the Flying Scotsman Graeme Obree came out? Legend
Lance Armstrong
Up to 300 people are thought to have turned out for the event - including Scottish former cycling champion, Graeme Obree.
After the event, Armstrong posted the Tweets: "Thanks to everyone who turned up to ride in Paisley! I figured we'd have a nice ride for a dozen or so. But 100's came. Haha! Awesome!
"And yes, next time I'll try to bring some sun. You bring the translator (Scottish to Texan) and I'll bring the rays. Seriously, thanks again.
"And how great was it that the Flying Scotsman Graeme Obree came out? Legend."
BBC Scotland reporter Mark Daly spoke briefly to Armstrong before he set off at the head of a 300-strong pack of cyclists.
Tour preparation
Speaking while cycling with Armstrong, he said: "He told me he hadn't been doing too much training but he was in advance preparation of putting his team together for his assault on next year's Tour de France.
"What we've been told is that he is going to do a 90-minute route which, depending on how fast he wants to go, could be anything between 30 and 40 kilometres.
"The pace is already beginning to quicken and perhaps some of the more fun cyclists may soon drop off."

Morning after report by Keir Murray
The last time I was in Paisley High Street it was for an exhibition of the works of the town's famous artist and comic playwright John Byrne.
On one of the displays was a quote from Byrne joking that, as a child, he always knew he lived in a special place because missionaries used to be sent over from Africa to help the people in his particular area.
The missionaries must have sent back favourable reports all those years ago for today there arrived a god...in sporting terms, that is.
On Monday evening Lance Armstrong wrote the following on Twitter: "Hey Glasgow, Scotland!! I'm coming your way tomorrow. Who wants to go for a bike ride??"
Then in the early hours of the morning, there came another "Tweet", which said: "Hey Glasgow - group ride starts at Ashtree House Hotel. 9 Orr Square. Paisley, Scotland. See you there at noon!!"
From his 1,750,000 "followers" on the social networking site, word got out to the Scottish cycling fraternity and about 200 of their number and a throng of onlookers came to herald the seven-time Tour de France winner's arrival.
There was little chance of this ever being a quiet ride around Paisley's Gleniffer Braes.

Armstrong brought Paisley town centre to a standstill
Like a scene from the Paris-Roubaix classic, the cyclists huddled in the rain in the steep cobbled street.
They tip-toed around the slippy surface in their cycling shoes, chatting to friends, excited, intrigued and without any idea of where their bike ride with 37-year-old Armstrong might take them, or at what sort of pace.
Surveyor Alan Thomson, 28, of Glasgow Couriers Cycling Club, managed to escape from his Glasgow office at 10am to cycle the ten miles through the rain to Paisley.
"It's like being asked to play a round of golf with Tiger Woods," said Thomson.
"My boss realised it was the chance of a lifetime and he knows what a keen cyclist I am, so he said I could get away.
"I was in a meeting and I managed to nip off."
Just after midday, Scotland's former world hour record champion Graeme Obree arrived on his bike.
As puzzled as everyone else, Obree said: "I just came to see what this was all about. It should be good fun."
It transpired that Armstrong was stopping over in Scotland for the U2 concert at Hampden Park - vying with Celtic v Arsenal as Glasgow's biggest event of the evening - on his way to compete in the Tour of Ireland.
Among the eager bunch of cyclists were Gary Murray, 43, of Lothian and Borders Fire Brigade Cycling Club, and his friend Malcolm Bertram, 30.
Murray was on night shift and came straight through to the west coast when he got off duty.
"It's a great chance to follow a legend of cycling. We weren't going to miss it," said Murray.
Another in the group was Rita Montgomery, who won the British Women's Team Championship in the 1960s and twice clinched the Masters World Championship in Austria.
With her friends from Dooleys Cycles Racing Team, Bob Taylor and Tam Gordon, Montgomery came along in full cycling kit to go for a spin with Armstrong.
Still out on her bike every day, she thought she had seen it all in her 78 years, all but the earliest of those on two wheels.
But Montgomery looked astonished at the events taking place in her home patch.
"It's great to see so many Scottish cyclists paying him such respect," she said.
Taylor told me: "Cycling has been ignited by Chris Hoy. I mean, just look at the turn-out here. Lance has done so much for charity and his passion for cycling is so tremendous that we had to be here. He's a class act."
As the police did their best to keep the traffic moving along the street, Armstrong arrived and opened up the boot of his car to get ready for his bike ride.
And how great was it that the Flying Scotsman Graeme Obree came out?? Legend.
Lance Armstrong on Twitter
The fans jostled for position and the cyclists clicked their shoes into their pedals. It wasn't a hoax after all. There was Lance Armstrong on his Trek bike on Paisley's High Street.
Such was the scrum and tangle of bikes, umbrellas and microphones that an unfortunate couple were unable to get past the "peloton" to get to Paisley's crematorium.
A police officer yelled: "Move over to the side of the road! A car needs to get through to a funeral!"
But his plea fell on deaf ears. The only solution was for Armstrong to get on his bike and lead the ride out of town.
As the crowd cheered, the cyclists headed east, leaving bystanders open-mouthed.
Alex Sneddon, 41, resplendent in his yellow and black "Livestrong" jersey, was ecstatic after meeting his hero. "I'm not so much a cycling fan, I'm a Lance Armstrong fan! And I just shook his hand! Incredible!"
Having returned to his hotel after the ride, Armstrong wrote: "Thanks to everyone who turned up to ride in Paisley! I figured we'd have a nice ride for a dozen or so. But 100's came. Haha! Awesome!"
The twin powers of celebrity and technology had created a memorable moment for Scottish cycling fans.
But there were some things that even Lance Armstrong couldn't do anything about this afternoon. As another of his Tweets put it:
"And yes, next time I'll try to bring some sun. You bring the translator (Scottish to Texan) and I'll bring the rays. Seriously, thanks again."
Perhaps the only cyclist who could have kept Armstrong in sight if the Texan had decided to pump a heavier gear would have been Obree. His presence didn't go unnoticed.
"And how great was it that the Flying Scotsman Graeme Obree came out?? Legend," wrote Armstrong.
When Lance Armstrong calls you a legend, you know you must have achieved something special in life.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sobering Sunday.


(My fundraising Daughters Poppy and Daisy)

This weeks cycling has taken some what of a back step as I get myself ready for my departure to Houston. Although I don't leave Beverley until Wednesday, and don't Fly from Heathrow until Thursday morning, I have decided to scale down my riding.
Having trained at a high intensity for months now I feel a bit washed out.
More concerning I have a few minor niggling and persistent aches, which wont go away.
I am sure that some rest will do me good and possibly refresh me, well I hope so.
So now I see this time as The calm before the storm !!!!!
As storms usually involve circular revolutions at a high tempo, for long periods, the analogy may be quite apt.
I know that when I arrive in Houston that the training will resume in earnest right up until a couple of days before the Hotter than Hell on the 29th . During that period I will have to acclimatize to the heat and organise some sort of hydration programme.

I have already started my 'Carbo Loading' however I think I have misread the 'handbook.
I have been eating anything I fancy. The trouble is all the things I fancy are not that good for you.
I have also nearly packed my bag, including all of my cycling clothes, which includes my cycling shoes which have been lovingly cleaned.I knew that once they were cleaned it would minimise my temptation to have that one last ride. I guess I could always go to the gym if the guilt of inactivity gets the better of me.
During this sedentary time I have also been concentrating on my fund raising.
My Hotter than Hell participation like most of my rides has a dual role in that I am also raising money for charity.
This year it will be for the Daisy Appeal.
The Daisy Appeal is a local charity launched in 2002 to raise funds to build a medical research centre for Cancer . To date the appeal has successfully raised in excess of £6 million to build, furnish and equip the Centre which was officially opened by the Secretary of State for Health, the Rt. Hon Alan Johnson MP on 25 July 2008.
The Centre, which was a joint initiative with the Hull & East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust and Hull York Medical School (HYMS), consists of a clinical trials unit, teaching accommodation for HYMS, research laboratories, office and conference facilities.
In the UK we have a public health service called the National Health service which has large regional variations in respect of Quality.
If you are an ambitious Dr you will be drawn to the areas of medical excellence which are in the big city teaching hospitals. Likewise if you are an established Dr and seek a certain quality of life there is no comparison between living in say Chelsea (London) to a back water like Hull. In effect the survival rate for us northerners is significantly lower than people living in the more affluent areas.
As such the one of the ways to attract quality facilities and expertise to some of the regional areas is through charity fund raising.
Everybody I know has lost friends and relatives to Cancer. I have lost my father and my children's Grandmother, has recently been treated for Cancer at this very establishment.
My daughter Daisy (14 yrs) is helping with the fund raising and loves the idea that the charity bears her name.
Most people I have spoken to have dug deep into their pockets and have appreciated my work in this fund raising event.
I now reach out to the global community and ask for help and have included a donation page which can be found in the right hand column of my blog 'Just Giving'. or on attached link Daisy appeal
Any donation would be greatly appreciated. USA here I come.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hotter than Hell 2009 - The Brits are warming to the idea

Four days to go till....................................

Two Weeks till...............................Hotter than Hell with the first ever participation of the Mules.

And then...........................


The scene in question features the renowned actor, John Mills, downing a glass of Carlsberg at the end of their epic journey. A method actor, Mills shot the scene drinking real beer for authenticity. It apparently took 14 takes to get the perfect shot, so his demeanor was somewhat inebriated by then.
I have not yet told the Mule Team, but I think that we might do a video reenactment of this scene after the ride !!!!!! I am such a poor actor so it may require several takes