We had some very good friends over to stay a couple of weekends ago.  Mark and I went to school together and we’re now Godparents to each other’s first children.  We had a great weekend here at the house and down on the beach; Mark and his wife Philli now have two strapping boys of similar ages to our two, and they all get on brilliantly.  Much good food and wine was inevitably consumed.  Mark very kindly bought me three bottles of Chateau Beauregard 2004, a Pomerol, and though a little young I couldn’t help opening a bottle to try.  Rather stupidly (but not for the first time) I opened it late in the evening after several bottles of various whites and reds had already been finished but, even then, I remember its quality shining through with a big burst of fruit.  I’m looking forward to savouring the other two – they really need to stay in the cave until after 2010.

During the weekend – and probably under the influence – Mark and I decided that we needed to undertake some sort of significant physical challenge in the next year or so.  He’s up for a marathon and, though I have toyed with the idea of the Medoc marathon, my running hasn’t been very comfortable and I think it might be a bad idea.  We both do a bit of cycling, however, so this seemed like a good place to start.  I’m not sure it ended in such a good place, however…

When Mark and I were at school together, we lived in villages about 15km apart and every now and then we’d cycle between the two houses.  What better thing to do, we thought, than to do the same thing again; to cycle from Mark’s house to mine.  The only thing being that Mark lives in Wimbledon, south-west London, and I live a bit north of Bordeaux, south-west France. 

But, the challenge is set.  We’ve mapped out a route which takes us from Wimbledon to Portsmouth on day one, an overnight ferry to St Malo and then five days of cycling (via my house) to Bordeaux.  The last day will see us jump on the ferry from Royan to the tip of the Medoc before cycling the D2 past some of the greatest chateaux in the world.  It’s about 648km in all…so an average of about 110km each day.

We’re doing it for charity, of course – the chosen one being Wooden Spoon and which has already been very helpful and enthusiastic.  We’re looking to get a small team together – probably 6-10 people – along with a support driver.  We’re already roping in a couple of mates but if you’ve got a burning desire to join us, email me at mark@leschapelles.com.

I’ve started training already.  My theory is that I need to train my ageing body to cycle at an average of 25km/h for hours on end.  Yesterday I rode 55km and managed to keep to pace – clicking through 50km in 1:59:52..though the second 25km was a bit slower than the first.  Still, we’re not planning on doing the London to Bordeaux run until late-May 2008, so I’ve got a while to get fit…

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