Paris To Barcelona

Paris To Barcelona

Joe and Josh are cycling from Paris to Barcelona over 8days to raise money for The Ronald Mcdonald House charity and Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY). Here is their day by day:

Warm Up Ride
Manchester to Blackpool done! James joined us for the ride as the charities are very close to his heart and has had a life changing experience with them. Every little helps!
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Our Sponsors
Got to say a big thanks to our sponsors, Qdos Fitness and Saville’s builders for their help! And an additional mention to Rocktape for kindly donating some free tape for the ride to keep us in working order!
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The Night Before
We have arrived in Paris ready for starting our ride tomorrow. Quick picture under the Eiffell Tower and then loading up on carbs!!!
We have got a big day ahead, quick 20mile ride to CrossFit Lisses where will be completing ‘The Seven’! Once we have regained consciousness, we will be on our way to Orleans with another 65miles! We are currently in high spirits….. Lets see how we are when we check in tomorrow evening!

DAY 1
So the first day ended up a 12hour day, not ideal for day one!
We set off from Paris at 7:40 and cycled 21miles to CrossFit Lisses! Although paris is very nice and cycle friendly, our satnav is not! Taking many detours and after every possible red light, we arrived of CrossFit Lisses at 9:40.

Then it began! ‘The Seven’ notoriously know as one of the hardest CrossFit workouts around, we now know why everyone thought we were stupid…. We are! Josh completed the WOD in 33:35 and I (Joseph) completed it in 39:11.

At around 11:45 we got back on the road to which was supposed to be a 62mile ride, it ended you 66miles after googlemaps fantastic detours! We learnt a couple of important things about France on this ride today. The cute, remote little vilages you see in films do exist. However, those quaint little cafe’s and bars in them Vilages do NOT!!! Making a minor miscalculation on the quanitity of food, we found today incredibly tough whilst working on fumes!

We eventualy reached the outskirts of Orleans and there it was, with 3miles to go, a McDonald’s!!! After finding every shut today we took no chances!

Time for some very much needed sleep!

Au Revoir for now!

DAY 2
Today started off with sore knees, tender legs and plenty of RockTape.

During breakfast our spirits lifted, we began to feel possitive about the miles ahead. A mere 87miles, same as yesterday but without ‘The Seven!
However, after getting ready we discovered Josh had developed a puncture. A minor hickup so we gave a quick change and went in search of a shop for supplies.

We purchased our essential supplies and of course that included babywipes for Josh’s Bike! After the mornings events we only managed to leave Orlean at 10:20am. 18miles under our belts we came across another gorgeous little village with an open shop!!!! Madnass!! Although it was early to stop we decided to take full advantage of this opportunity and bought cake.
Couple of selfies and underway again.

The day was improving until once again we were directed down a dirt road and ultimately many miles out of our way! Heads still high we plowed on and after a quick stop for a can of tuna we reached our dinner stop, yet another open cafe!

The day was quite steady but once again we were led on a wild goose chase, this time to a motorway with only 20miles to go. Quite the dissapointment. After another diversion we ate the miles and got down to a mere 3miles away! We found ourselves at what looked to be a dead end with the bridge infront of us under construction….. By this time our patience had wore rather thin so of course we went right across and onto what looked to be a motorway but wasn’t marked as a motorway, good enough for us!

Overall this was quite a stressful day and after diversions actually ended up a 101miles day, so quite a tiring day.

Now at the hotel and sat down for dinner, thought we would have a quick check of the milage tomorrow (113miles)…. Beer please!

MORNING OF DAY 3
After what seemed like 10minites sleep, we have now got a 120mile day ahead (after more route changes)….. Although the weather is pleasent, the day ahead looks mighty grim!

We are hoping to reach our next overnight stop by around 7/8pm, fingers crossed and we will keep you posted!

DAY 3
So for the last few days we have been chasing the clock down, trying to get to out overnight stops as early as possible for more rest time! Well today the clock beat us, with 20miles to go it became too dark for us to ride! Here’s what happend….

The day started off quite grim with a 120mile ride ahead, Josh’s ‘John Wayne’ walk to breakfast summed up how we felt. However, after getting on the bike we felt ok, the first 12miles went swimmingly. We managed to spot a shop on route so we stopped to restock and have a 5minute brew. (The hotel coffee left much to be desired)

Then it began, the slight inclines rapidly changed into back breaking neverending climbs! We ploughed on and after another 20miles or so and a problem with one of our chains we came to a little village with an open pizza shop, so we broke for an early lunch!

We made lunch a quick one and got straight back on the road. There is not much to say about this afternoon other than the miles and hills just seem to go on and on….. Quite deflating!

At around 6pm we came across a little supermarket and took the oppotunity for a little break. This is when we began to worry, we had over 50miles to go and realised to do this before 8 would be an incredibly difficult task even on the flat! Anyway we decided to go for it, surely the hills had to stop at some point…..

About quarter to 9 we had noticed quite a few cars with their lights on, we had to pull over and have the meeting. So 20miles to go we decided it was the only safe option to stop and find transport to the hotel! Rather dissapointed with outselves, we had a very quiet walk to the nearest train station which we passed just a few minutes ago.

To put the icing on the cake, after the train conductor woke us both up, we were once again directed down a pitch black dead end on route to the hotel!

Although we felt we worked incredibly hard today we are very dissapointed we couldnt make it all the way!

Once again, straight to bed!

DAY 4
After yesterdays dissapointing end and everyones support, today we were determined to make today a massive success! We definitely did!

After a quick sleep we woke up early for breakfast and wanted to get it eaten quickly and be on our way. This was made much easier by the hotel owner, as he spent most of our breakfast stood behind the buffet with a perculiar smile on his face. Not sure if it was Josh’s ponytail or he was very proud of his rather small selection of breakfast… Needless to say we ate quick and got on the road!

As we arrived at our hotel in the dark, we didn’t see the huge climb immediatly out of our hotel and out the town. This was certainly a good warm up, not so good straight after breakfast. The day went on as expected, climb after climb after climb. Not just little farty climbs either, numerous 5km stints! Certainly earnt our lunch today!

Through the day we tried to keep our stops to a minimum, 2 quick coffee breaks with food and to regroup at the top of long climbs. As I forgot to mention yesterday we have been keeping ontop of our pocket supplies, dried fruits and nuts whilst on the go. They certainly are helping and keeping us going for longer between stops. However, they seem to be having a little effect on my bowles and unfortunately for Josh I have the satnav….. Which means he spends a lot of time finding out exactly how the fruit is effecting me!!

Anyway, our moods stayed possitive most of today but our determination to finish, and finish quick, was constant!

We arrived in Cahors around half past 5, so for the first time we have time to wash and recover properly! And most importantly, have a beer!!!

Overall we are incredibly pleased with our work, today was very tough, almost the toughest but we mananed to finish it with only a few more aches and pains!

DAY 5
Quick update from last night. After we blogged last night we went for dinner. Our hotel is somewhat basic, traditional and cheap! However, this was not the case in the hotel restaurant! With gold cutlery, extensive wine list and a menu neither of us could even understand! We ended up with a 4course delicious meal in a 5star+ restaurant wearing our shorts, tshirts and flip flops. We ordered the house red and toasted to Tony and Chappers (Savilles Builders and Qdos fitness) for this delightful meal! Only kidding this was on us!

Anyway as far as today goes, it started well and slowly deteriorated!

Breakfast was very much minimal today, simply coffee and pastries. So fueled with not a lot we decided we would make an early stop. We devoured a good few miles up steady inclines, nothing too steep. Unfortunately our plan did not go so well, after 15miles we still had not seen anywhere to eat. To make matter worse, Josh’s tyre decided to disintigrate…. Adding insult injury we stopped to change it outside a closed cafe!!

Eventually after the 32mile mark we came across a small hotel/restaurant. 11€ for a 3course dinner, yes please! After doing well with the miles we deserved a good lunch/breakfast! I ordered the food and while Josh went to the shop. Somehow in that time I managed to attract a 62yr old lady (as she told us) with my French charm and bushy eyebrows! After much conversation she we ended up discussing the tide and tomorrows journey. As we said we are heading to Ax-les-thermes tomorrow, her reaction said it all! Apparently we are in for a tough ride….

After an enjoyable lunch we set off with good cheer, almost immediatly after my rear tyre decided to explode…. Can see how this afternoon is going to go. Suprisingly not too much else to say about this afternoons riding other than, IT RAINED!!! And Began to THUNDER!!! The miles for some reason really began to drag today, maybe due the oncoming wind all afternoon or our full stomachs. They certainly began to drag a lot when the rain hit! The mood dropped and my temper began to also, as Josh found out…. My apologies!

After all that we finally hit our destination, or so we thought! Still raining we figured out it was another 2miles down the road… Eurgh!!!

Hopefully tomorrow’s weather will be a little sunnier! Time for food!

DAY 6
Today was not what we expected!

With a late breakfast at the hotel, we snacked in the room beforehand to get the morning movements going. Breakfast with a view was a nice change, finally seeing a few perks of this ride. We expected the day would start with slowly rolling hills and/or flat roads. Then at about 40/50 miles we would hit huge steep climbs. However, this was not the case.

We set off both feeling quite sluggish, the roads were quite steady or so we thought. We found it hard to judge if a road was flat, down or a slight incline but we found ourselves struggling to keep a fast pace. It got to the point where I had to ask Josh to remove the caravan from my back that i’d somehow accumulated along the way.

After a couple of stops for coffee and snacks we reached the pyrenees, here we expect drastic climbs. Every corner we turned we expected the worst but the roads slipped through the valleys! With 8miles to go we came across a couple of long steady climbs but nothing major. Once we arrived at the hotel we were suprisingly worn out much more than we thought. Fortunately I had enough battery to run strava today and it turns out we have been slowly climbing all day, climbing over 4000ft and covering over 75miles! So all in all still a very difficult day!

Once again there is a hidden gem in our hotel, this time its not a restaurant. Its a romantic and slightly seedy Jacuzzi. After us both having a little snooze and soak, we are ready for what tomorrow brings!

DAY 7
As soon as we stepped out the door this morning the road began to climb. Unfortunately for us this climb carried on for exactly 16.9miles. We climbed 4995ft non stop this morning…… A very long morning! During which we stopped to regroup at the 8mile mark. As we both turned to look at the road, a man on a bike with bags attached. As he passed he gave us a smug ‘bonjour’!!! I did not like this, Josh said let him have it…. (I did not like this)
So we set back off and I went for him! As I approached him I prepared my smuggest Bonjour in the best Salford accent! ‘Bonjourrrrr r kid’….. Turns out he was Swedish!

One we reached the high point of the road it was a definite cake break then an 11mile downhill was ahead of us!!

We stopped for lunch but today we were worn out, struggling to eat our food, too tired to talk, the day was looking grim! Then appeared a familiar face in his rented people carrier…. Unfortunately not for us to get in! Dave had come to meet us so we offloaded a big of weight into the car and set off.

A little bit more downhill then another stinker!! Climbing another 4895ft we were in a bad way! Dave tried his best to give us a bit of a slipstream but holding up all the traffic this didnt last very long! However, he reassured us another huge decent lay ahead so we persisted and sure enough it came! Winding roads and steep downhills is what we needed aftet them exausting climbs!

All in all today we climbed just short of 10,000ft! By far the toughest day on our legs but fortuntaly we have arrived in spain, so a delicious dinner is awaiting us!

DAY 8
What can I say, today (yesterday) certainly pushed us both to our limits and that bit more!

The day started ok, with little muffins and bars of chocolate in the continental breakfast line up, we were feeling pretty good! We discussed the route over breakfast but had come to the conclusion it had to be 81miles rather than the 69 we had planned. This is where it started going downhill, not literally!

Once again we were able to set off with a lighter bag thanks to dave and his family car leading the way. 1mile down the road we approached the tunnel that made our route an extra 12miles. There was a girl by the road selling nuts so we thought we’d ask to see if she knew if we were able to ride it. She just laughed and said no, we didnt find this funny. Needless to say we didnt buy her nuts!

Off on the alternate route the hills began, starting with gentle rolling hills we were managing ok. Dave tried to let us use his slipstream but when climbing at 7/8mph he tends to hold up traffic. Dave began to park up every 2/3miles let us pass and then go ahead and stop again. It was a big help and reassuring to have him there but seeing him drive past, windows down, eating chocolate and crisps is somewhat of a tease.

After 8 or 9 miles the hills really began to hit us, more 3/4mile climbs in the unbearable heat with the sun beating on us. The day began to get really tough!
Just before the half way point dave sped ahead to find somewhere for lunch. During quite a tasty lunch mine and Josh’s moods were pretty grim. Having not much hope for the rest of the day, dave continued to try and put a possitive spin on things but struggled.

Me and Josh both said that if it wasnt for the huge amount of support and donations, this day may have broke us. After lunch we ended up stopping every 5miles or so, after grueling hills, with not many words exchanged. With about 25miles to go and with the hills starting to get smaller, dave told us he had to go and check in the apartment and leave us on the road. Leaving us with ice lollys, we dropped them in our bottles and ploughed on. Again, not much was said between me and Josh these last miles, however as we passed the ‘erotic supermarket’ sign we noticed we were only 8miles away!!!

A lot was going through our minds at this point, the speed started to increase as we carelessly powered through the last miles in a desperate effort to get there. After a couple of motorway like roads (couldnt care less at this point) we hit the streets of Barcelona Centre! Immediatly feeling quite emotional and as I swollowed what felt like a football, we made it!!!!!

A huge huge thanks to everyone who supported us and donated! We could not have done this without you all! Also a special thanks to Qdos Fitness and Savilles builders for funding this challenge, without these two this would not have been at all possible!!!

I think we are both going to have some time away from the bikes and any sort of mountains for a while!

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