Former Emmerdale bad boy Lyndon Ogbourne updates readers of The Steeple Times on his cycle expedition for Once Upon a Smile
I begin this section of my travel journal, sat Bear Gryls style, next to a campfire I’ve successfully made, cooking a fish I’ve caught (with much difficulty) that I plan to serve with some bread from a boulangerie about 110km from where I’ve set up camp.
I’m exhausted but exhilarated. The journey I set out on 5 days ago has taken me through some of the most beautiful but challenging sections of country I’ve ever experienced. I’m a novice cyclist but with the help of the Cadence Performance Centre I trained for the distances I would cover. Nothing, however, could prepare me for the scorching temperatures I have experienced. They would have been fantastic sat chilling on a beach, but are an added and detrimental element to a 635-mile cycle challenge.
The structure of my cycling expedition has been loose and spontaneous and as long as I cover a minimum of 100km day, I’ll make it to the airport in time for my scheduled flight. The rest is an adventurous ‘play-it-by-ear’ set up.
Part Two: Toulon
My legs are tight and bruised and battered from a fall near Castelnaudary when I was outfoxed by a tree stump on the path. Ahead of me, though, was the greatest challenge of all, the mountainous terrain between Marseilles and Toulon. There I encountered 136km of mountain range, with 8km ascents dappled with 3km climbs just to stick the knife in.
I arrived in Toulon a broken man. The beautiful views of Marseilles were awe inspiring, but the mountains I have just covered were nearly my undoing. I write this second section sprawled like a rag doll on my bed in a rustic but somewhat dingy B&B in Toulon.
I have never challenged myself like this before and my whole being tingles with a feeling beyond pain. My mind, however, is filled with memories that I will treasure forever and, if it ever recovers, my body will grow stronger.
Tomorrow, I venture on, edging ever closer to the final leg of this mammoth challenge. Today, I saw a sign to Nice and the energy and endorphin rush it produced inside me made me feel I should cycle there tonight. Luckily common sense prevailed and I realised rest was required.
My trusty steed, the bike that has accompanied me on this challenge, has become very dear to me. It is an incredible piece of carbon fibre mastery and the only way I am here in Toulon is because of this bike. Cadence have created a piece of kit that is so advanced and beautiful that at every destination I have been stopped by people from every region to ask about it or to comment on its splendour.
It’s in part due to the training and equipment that I’ve come this far, but now it’s down to me and my weary body to complete this task. Please donate to the fantastic charity Once Upon a Smile, whom I’m raising money for, via the link below. Equally, may I suggest, if you are thinking of purchasing or training yourself up for a cycle of any distance, you could be in no better hands that those of Cadence Cycle Performance Centre.
For now I must sleep as I still have 100-miles to cover. I feel my legs may walk out on me if I don’t give them the rest the deserve. Bonne nuit and happy cycling.
Once Upon a Smile: http://www.onceuponasmile.org.uk
Cadence Performance: http://www.cadenceperformance.com
To donate, go to: http://www.justgiving.com/Lyndon-Ogbourne