120 miles per day? Small fry compared to the superfit

Sorry for the lack of a blog yesterday but the electricity socket on the coach that was to power my laptop turned out to be an outlet for the vacuum cleaning system.

What emergency battery power I had was used for looking up weather reports on the ride and finding You Tube videos of Shakin Stevens’ classic Green Door which one cyclist had apparently been singing in his sleep.

If my laptop was working, what I wanted to say was that the 120 miles I had done on Friday had killed the prospect of me doing anything respectful on my bike on Saturday.

I was then going to mention that 120 miles per day was small fry compared to most of the superfit people on the ride including at least three who had cycled every single leg so far. That’s up to around 250 miles cycling a day – on the road from 6am for about 12 hours.

They’ve now only got to one more legs to achieve their goal of cycling every single mile between London and Cannes in five and a half days, which I’m told involves covering ground at a faster rate than Tour de France riders.

Mere mortals like myself have to do a minimum of two stages a day of around 40-70km per stage. But there is peer pressure to do more. The amount of testosterone on the coach fuels an unspoken competition about who has ridden the most stages.

And even if you do ride a stage you can be accused of riding ‘junk miles’ – which are those that are so unchallenging that they are not worth getting on your bike for.

It’s a good excuse not to get out of a warm bus anyway, and me and coach mates Simon Birchill and Steve Jordan are quick to accuse anybody who has ridden more than us of just riding junk miles.

Among my little crowd who sit halfway down the Orange bus, the person who has ridden the most legs is one of only three women on the ride.

Jenny Aslin who works for UBS is unaffected by being one of the only females and just gets on with it. She starts the first leg at 6am everyday, and while the men are moaning about various aches and pains to the on-board phsyio and masseuse, she’s out watching the sun rise on the way to clocking up to 200km a day.

Tomorrow is the last day, and involves a three stage ride into Cannes in front of the thousands of delegates at MIPIM. It should be a great sight and everybody is looking forward to the triumphant arrival.

There is some debate as to who will be leading the ride in. There are three teams – orange, white and green – and everyone wants to be on the front (even if they don’t say so). It will take a delicate piece of realpolitik by the race organisers to keep everybody happy.

With no iPods used during the ride, here are some of the favourite songs from members of the orange team:

Simon Birchill: Underworld, Born Slippy - Don’t Stop Me Now
David Rosenburg: True Faith, New Order - I am a woman in Love, Barbara Streisand
Philip Turner: Raconteurs, Steady as she goes (because that’s all people say)
Alex Smith: Queen, I want to be break free
David Rogers: Cadence and Cascade, King Crimson
Paul Higgins-Drysdale: Eye of the Tiger, Survivor
Steve Eades and everybody else at the front of the bus: Green Door, Shakin Stevens.
Matt Elliott: LL Cool J, Don’t call him a comeback
Simon Martin: Paul Weller, Heavy Soul
James Hubbard: Brick in the wall, Pink Floyd
Adam Miller: Kick start my heart, Motley Crew - The Pretender, Foo Fighters; Out of Control, Chemical Brothers -Bet you look good on the dancefloor, Artic Monkeys
John Dear: Free Falling, Tom Petty
Will Tilbury: The Angry Mob, Kaiser Chiefs
Alex Fordyce: Sweet Child O Mind, Guns and Roses.
Simon Marks: NWA, Straight out of Compton
Mark Whittaker: Wee Sassie Lassie (Scottish rugby song)
Matthew Checkley: David Bowie Major Tom (it goes round my head when I’m scared)
Simon Bate: As the days go, Talking Heads
Steve Eades: Insomnia, Faithless (proper choice)
David Avery: Nessa Dorma
Normal Speller: Like a cat that's playing with a ball of twine, Rory Gallagher