Tag Archives: france

Jungfrau looms

Under a week now till I head for Switzerland and the J in my A-Z marathon challenge.  When I decided to enter the Jungfrau I sat down and devised a 22 week marathon training programme knowing that due to other commitments there was no way that the plan could be completed.  The first ten weeks went better than planned and were a bit more intense than normal to try and make sure I was in as good shape as possible for the other 12 weeks.  Not that I was going to be sitting about you understand.  I had a three week biking holiday in France some 465 miles, the Edinburgh Festival of Cycling and various tours for Scottish Bike Touring so plenty cycling but not many running miles.  We will have to see what happens!!


Canal des 2 mers test trip.

On the weekend on 4th/5th June Carol and I boarded a train for Falkirk along with our bikes and 5 panniers for a weekend testing kit, bikes and bodies before our trip to France in July.

The kit being tested included my new bike the Genesis Tour de Fer 20, Carols saddle and v expensive Sweaty Betty cycling underwear and her new panniers.IMG_2613

We alighted the train at Falkirk and headed straight for the Union Canal then down to the Falkirk Wheel which Carol had not seen before.  An amazing piece of engineering that transports craft from the Firth and Clyde canal to the Union canal.25321299924_0e5f08625a_z

After some sightseeing and a cuppa we headed out on the Union Canal and the first leg of our journey to Dunbar.  This trip had been chosen to emulate our French trip with the canal being nice and flat and distances being approx the same as those we will travel daily in France.

We had been having some amazing weather and the sun continued shining on Saturday.  The canal and the canal path were both busy with boaters, canoeists, bikers, runners and dog walkers.  Things were going great till just outside Linlithgow when Carol got a puncture.  I had the wheel off in a jiffy and the spare tube out unfortunately I had not packed a pump just as well the path was busy we eventually managed to stop a cyclist with a pump and we were on our way again.  DSC02502

Alas it was not to last long and I found myself on the way to Elevation Cycles in Linlithgow to purchase spare tubes and a pump.  We were on our way again and this time our luck held and we were soon approaching the Canal Basin and food!

Carol had had the forethought to call our B & B and tell them we would be late so we made a little detour to the Filmhouse and had our lunch/tea/supper there!

We were booked in the Preistville near Duddingston chosen for its proximity to the cycle path for next mornings start.  It turned out to be a stunning old house and although it was clearly newly decorated the owners had not changed any of the original features.  We spent a good 30 mins looking at the wall decoration, pictures and letters from bygone days, very interesting.  The room was clean and comfortable with the best tea tray I have ever seen in a room!

After a good nights sleep and a hearty breakfast we were on our way once more heading for North Berwick and Dunbar following the John Muir Way.  This part of JMW is on a mix of surfaces with a lot of it on roads and whilst this is fine for cycling I wouldn’t like to walk it.  DSC02504The route takes you through Prestonpans with the street murals, Cockenzie with the remains of the power station still visible, Gullane famous for it’s golf courses and North Berwick dominated by Berwick Law and where we stopped for a spot of lunch.IMG_2624

After our lunch we got back on our steeds and began the climb out of N Berwick and headed for Carols friends at Canty Bay.  We had seats and bikes booked on the 1930 train from Dunbar so after a cuppa and some home baking we headed for the station.  Time flew by unfortunately we seemed to be getting slower. It was time for some head down and hard pedalling.  We rolled into the station with just under 10 mins to spare.  I checked with the station staff what coach the bikes would be on and was told coach D.

We headed down the platform and noticed another two bikes waiting by the coach D stop.  The train arrived and the other two cyclists got on first, the guard shouted down the platform as the train could only take 3 cycles we explained that we had reservations and the other two cyclists were asked to leave the train.  A bit unfair and the guard could have allowed them on but rules is rules and they left the train!

Totals for the weekend were 83 miles with 1700 feet of climbing.

How successful were we?   Well we (I) need to remember to pack a pump.  The Tour de Fer was great, Carol’s panniers passed the test although the jury is still out on the Sweaty Betty’s and the saddle!.  It is now less than 3 weeks till the Grand Depart and to say we are excited would be a major understatement!

A catch up

Been a while since I put a post up so what’s been happening?

Well today I finished my second week of training for the Jungfrau marathon.  Training is coming along slowly but well.  I have introduced intervals, marathon pace runs and am increasing the distance of my long runs.  All good basic stuff no magic bullets there consistent training is the key.  So what have my stats looked like over the last few weeks?

25/4 Runs:29 miles in 4h 52 with 1500 ft climbing.  Biking 47.5 miles in 4h 28 with 3000 ft climbing.

2/5 Runs 30.5 miles in 4h50 with 3500 climbing biking was 99 miles in 8h 18m with 3500 ft of climbing.

Two good weeks with everything on the up.

Programmes for the EdFoC have been distributed now and bookings have been coming in for my tours.  I even have a honeymooning couple interested!  With less than a month to go I am really looking forward to it.  Other cycling news is that I have finally made it to both Middleden helping with the youngsters and to Talking Tandems a local charity which helps visually impaired people to cycle by providing pilots for tandems.


Planning is finally finished for Carol and I’s trip from the Atlantic to the Med in July and we both can’t wait to start our trip.  We have planned a weekend trip to check all our kit and we have been buying stuff that we need to try out before we get to France.  Our pre trip trip is from Falkirk to Dunbar the first part to Edinburgh along the canal and the second part following the JMW.  Hopefully everything will go well but we will have nearly a month to make any final adjustments to our kit.

France here we come.

Finally got the last trains booked in France for our trip down the Garrone and Midi canals in July.  Carol and I will be cycling down from Bordeaux to Sete and of course there will be a blog.  Meanwhile we are getting things organised and have got a few trial rides planned to test our equipment and packing skills.  Carol has spent time in the region and even has a friend living near Carcasonne.  We are both looking forward to the trip and of course here is the added bonus of seeing 3 of the Tour’s stages!


Feeling like Spring has sprung!!

There has been a few days lately know locally as “Taps aff” days.  These days occur sparingly in Scotland but can be celebrated at almost any time of the year.  There are a few events which have to be in synch for a “Taps aff” day to be declared.   First and foremost the big yellow ball has to be up in the sky, it should be still with very little wind what is there should be a Mcscirroco-warm and from the south and finally the ambient air temperature should “feel” as if its in double figures!  Fifers then declare a “Taps aff” day and a parade of wobbly, pasty and quite frightening male physiques can commence!

What else has been happening since my last post well I have now got all of the accommodation for our cycling holiday in France booked.  The most problematic part has been booking rail travel by Eurostar they just do not make it easy.  To take a cycle as a cycle you have to book your seat and then call another company to check if a space is available if not they will transport your cycle and it will meet you at journey’s end.  Aye you think so!!  I still have two internal trains to book in France but, its all over bar the shouting as they say!

On Sunday I spent a very pleasant day out on the bike at the Kelpies and Falkirk wheel the full trip account is in Scottish bike touring blog please take a look.


Hills are your friends, news from the Marmotte.

Back a week and its as if I have never been away.  All the chores have been caught upwith-washing, cleaning and gardening.  Visits have been done gifts distributed so now things are back to normal.

Client training plans have been prepared and I spent a bike ride with Vicky along the coast towards St Andrews.  Vicky turned back after 23 miles and completed 47 altogether her longer cycle to date!  One of my Jog Scotland runners wants to up the ante and I have taken her on as a new client.  She is quite determined and I think she will do well.  I leave for the Marmotte on the 2nd July and have just heard the news that, due to a tunnel collapse, the route has changed. The route now goes over the Col du Mollard and the Col de la Croix de Fer the revised distance is 170Km with 5100m of climbing.  I have also heard that my colleagues on the trip have has 32 tooth cassettes fitted.  Those of you not familiar with bikes and gears I shall have a 28 toothed rear cassette which means that I do not have as wide a range or easy set of gears when the climbs get steeper ah well Im giving them 17 years and who needs a level playing field!

Training this week went well with 135 miles on the bike climbing 7382 ft, 17 miles running with 1035 feet of climbing and 2 yoga sessions.

The weekend was spent at Carols mums again with folks coming to collect various bits of furniture and books.  Even Carol thinks there is now light at the end of the tunnel!

Saurday we went to an acoustic set by “From the Jam” at local venue The Windsor

Caen 2014

The Caen marathon or the Marathon du Libertie as it is called was the weekend after the celebrations for the 70th anniv of the D-Day landings. I took the opportunity of combining the marathon with a cycle touring holiday of Jersey and Normandy, more of which you can read about elsewhere. I covered half the course on my cycle to Caen from the beaches so had some idea of the course which, up till the half way point followed the coast towards Caen from the start. After the halfway point the route goes inland and uphill and on country roads winding its way to the finish at museum. The day had dawned cold and windy but got hotter as the day and the miles passed. A good course passing historic landmarks. A marathon I would do again.20140615-205814-75494513.jpg