Tony Ibbotson and Mark Fitzgerald are heading up the Lee Baron team of 20 as they almost complete their mammoth journey from London to the South of France. Cycling distances of 100 to 300km each day, in order to raise funds for the Charities of Club Peloton, we spoke to Tony about how he had prepared for this challenge.
For anyone who wants to sponsor the team it’s not too late, you can show your support here: https://my.race-nation.co.uk/sponsorship/group/41
In two week you are both about to embark on a 1500km cycle ride from London to Cannes to arrive ahead in time for MIPIM 2018, what possessed you to take on this challenge?
Mark told me I was doing it and I don’t recall being given much of a choice. It has come at a perfect time for me however. My enthusiasm for cycling and time to be able to do it has waned somewhat in the last few years, most of my cycling has been limited to the daily commute. Last Summer a team from Lee Baron took part in the London Revolution and training for that helped me get back into the spirit and improve my fitness to a point where it was becoming enjoyable again.
Are you a natural cyclist?
Well I am better at cycling than any other sport I have tried (I can’t do anything that involves coordination with moving objects) but I do tend to fall off and hurt myself quite often.
When did you start training for this challenge?
I started back in November, adding longer rides at the weekend to my usual commuting routine.
Do you have a fitness plan and how stringently do you follow it? Have Club Peloton been helpful in helping you with your training?
Nothing so formal as a plan, keep commuting and getting in longer rides at the weekend. Other than that, I have been trying to get in as much hill climbing as possible and, after some physio to help with a longstanding back problem, I have also been working on core strength and trying to be a bit more disciplined about stretching. Club Peloton have produced a week by week training guide which has been useful to help gauge how much work we should be doing.
There is an option to cycle in relay format and cover 40 – 60km per day, you have chosen to both cycle the entire race and will be covering 100 – 300km per day! Why did you decide to do this?
Hubris. Following the ride briefing and advice from Club Peloton we have rethought this! We have not yet seen the full ride book yet but depending on the split of stages I would think we could be riding up to 150km a day.
Will there be a team to support you during the race or have you had to swat up on the technical details of the bicycle in case of a puncture?
The ride is fully supported with mechanics and roadside support, probably the closest thing either of us would get to riding in a professional peloton. That said, one gets plenty of practice changing innertubes training in Winter.
What is the furthest you have cycled so far in training?
My longest ride was 140km.
Tell us about your worst moments in training so far.
I think we are both fed up of riding in the cold. Our ride around the Peak District last week was particularly miserable. My worst moment was on a hilly 70-mile ride where I got soaked and very cold early on, I had not eaten properly and “bonked” (hit the wall in running terms). I just staggered home, cross-eyed and dizzy for the last ten miles.
What is the greatest piece of advice you have been given?
Get a proper bike fit and saddle fit, and don’t attempt the full ride.
What are you planning on doing as soon as you reach Cannes?
Have a shower, apply something soothing to the sore parts and lie down.