Julia Robson

Share my page

My most challenging adventure yet: Le Loop.

Le Loop follows the official route of the Tour de France, one week ahead of the professionals. In 2023 it starts with the ‘Grand Depart’ in Bilbao on Friday 23rd June and finishes 21 stages, some 3,400kms later on Sunday 16th July in Paris. Some cyclists choose to ride just a few days, others further. I have unfinised business from 2022 when Covid stopped me after 8 days (see blog below) so will once again be taking on the ultimate challenge of riding the full tour!

The purpose of this challenge is to raise money for the William Wates Memorial Trust whose mission is to help the most disadvantaged young people keep away from a life of crime and violence and fulfil their potential. This is achieved by giving grants to charities that engage young people through the medium of sports, arts and education.

It's been a tough couple of years, particularly for young people. This is my chance to give something back and help support young people who aren't lucky enough to enjoy the advantages in life that most of us take for granted.

Le Loop is no small undertaking. Training for and riding even ONE stage of the Tour de France route is going to hurt! Please reward my pain by giving generously.

Merci!

 

 

My Achievements

My Updates

Here we go again!

Saturday 29th Oct
Covid is not going to get in the way of my ambition to complete the full route of the Tour de France so I've signed up to do it again and I hope by doing so to raise even more for the amazing charity that is WWMT! Training has started, the route has been announced, what are you waiting for: DONATE NOW!

Staying positive

Sunday 10th Jul
It has been very easy to get down about the abrupt end to my Le Loop but I keep reminding myself I have achieved a lot. I set out knowing even one day would be a challenge and I completed 8 which according to my computer totalled 1311.5km and 11894m of climbing. People have asked me if I had a favourite stage and it's hard to choose: - I cycled over the highest hill in Denmark and the highest road in Belgium, - I enjoyed a day in cycling paradise in the rolling hills of northern France, - I conquered cobbles with a smile, - I completed the longest day of this year's Tour de France - I defeated Super Planche de Belles Filles, and - I rode into the Alps to the sound of cow bells. The best bit probably has to be the support of the organisers and fellow riders. As I said to myself on many occassions during the ride, it could be worse!

Here endeth my Le Loop 2022

Tuesday 5th Jul
Unfortunately we didn't manage to start Le Loop as a COVID free group and living and travelling in such close proximity has allowed it to spread. Having people leave the group daily, was a source of anxiety we could all have done without. Even normal sniffles, tiredness and aches associated with long distance cycling could lead to paranoia. After coughing overnight, I decided the prudent thing to do was take a test Sunday morning which indicated I did have COVID so I would have to leave the group. It's not been easy to process, hence the delay in writing this post. With one more day until a rest day, other than the cough and accumulated tiredness, I was feeling I had paced myself well and was in good shape for the mountains so devastated I didn't get to test myself on them. I wasn't the only positive case so instead of the 180km of mountains of stage 9 we had a 17km stroll to the edge of Lac Leman for a dip and back. While probably more appealing to most, particularly in 30degree heat, not what any of us wanted.

Alpine lakes have never looked so inviting

Sunday 3rd Jul
First stage in the Alps to the sound of alpine cow bells. The scenery was fabulous, the climbs steady, and the heat challenging. We also spent a while on the plateau with a headwind testing my mental resilience to keep pushing. In the end an ice cream by the lake with friends got me through.

Stage 8

Sunday 3rd Jul
https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/9128092449

Easy does it

Friday 1st Jul
Today was all about the final climb. The profile had been scaring me ever since the route was published. I followed the advice and made sure I saved some energy for it by taking most of the ride relatively easy. As we headed into the mountains I enjoyed some alone time which allowed me to set my own pace. The final dreaded climb was spent listening to the bird song and even the final kick in the climb on the gravel wasn't as bad as I'd feared. But the best bit was finishing and feeling on top of the world.

Stage 7

Friday 1st Jul
https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/9122096809

It's a long long way to Longwy

Friday 1st Jul
Well stage 6 started with some bonus cobbles in the town centre of Binche. But that was a distant memory by the time we got to Longwy almost 11hours later. A lot of team work in steady pacelines helped the kilometres roll by and as always the amazing feed stops broke it into manageable chunks.

Stage 6

Friday 1st Jul
https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/9122025839

Cobbles

Wednesday 29th Jun
First experience of cobbles and I survived (even overtook some people). Definitely where a bike with less racing pedigree comes into its own - I reckon my bike eats cobbles for breakfast. I did try to test its speed over cobbles too and hit my limit at 27kph.

Bonjour France

Wednesday 29th Jun
Stage 4 was our first day cycling in France and what an excellent day it was not sure what I'd change in cycling paradise in fact: brilliant weather, rolling hills, amazing views and great company.

Stage 5

Wednesday 29th Jun
https://www.wahooligan.com/users/live/wWO8ANdeHmBSkRWm7MF3-w

https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/9109554835?share_unique_id=14

Reflections on Denmark

Tuesday 28th Jun
Another late post. We had a very different experience to the one the pros will have in Denmark. Lots of cycle lanes with associated hazards: chicanes, transitions to/from raised lanes and sharp turns. Fortunately I navigated them all safely and it was nice that they give priority across junctions (although still struggled to trust that sometimes)

Stage 4

Tuesday 28th Jun
https://www.wahooligan.com/users/live/wWO8ANdeHmBSkRWm7MF3-w

https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/9103527666

Keeping cool

Monday 27th Jun
Stage 3 was warm so kept the riding steady. While there were some real highlights to see such as the Dybbøl windmill some stretches in between were more mundane. I just reminded myself that the fens can be even duller.

Stage 3

Sunday 26th Jun
https://www.wahooligan.com/users/live/wWO8ANdeHmBSkRWm7MF3-w

https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/9095131286

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside

Saturday 25th Jun
A very scenic route through Denmark's "mountains". Fairly similar to Cambridgeshire cycling - even had a chicane identical to the busway - but with the welcome addition of some coastal views. The best being of the bridge the pros will do but we didn't (closed to cyclists normally) from our post ride dip.

Stage 2

Saturday 25th Jun
https://www.wahooligan.com/users/live/wWO8ANdeHmBSkRWm7MF3-w

https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/9095093221

Stage 1 Complete

Friday 24th Jun
Not that it was ever really in doubt. Very much a sightseeing bimble with plenty of chat. We'll see if it remains my slowest stage of Le Loop. Definitely a different experience to the pros but maybe theirs would be more fun to watch if they had to get a pic with the Little Mermaid too.

And we're off

Friday 24th Jun
https://www.wahooligan.com/users/live/wWO8ANdeHmBSkRWm7MF3-w

https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/9077272357

Stage 0 complete

Thursday 23rd Jun
After much packing stress getting everything down to weight and size, and trying to make sure I have everything I'll need, I've arrived in Copenhagen. The sun is shining for us at the moment so spent a pleasant evening exploring Tivoli Gardens before I'm reunited with my bike tomorrow.

Training Complete

Thursday 23rd Jun
After a final blitz in the mountains of Wales most of June has been tapering. Although I've also had fun on some faster paced club pacelines. Fortunately this has freed up time to ensure I have all the kit, spares and everything else I'll need and, with the help of Cyclecentric, that my bike is in tip top working order.

Conquering Challenges

Wednesday 15th Jun
In May not only did I smash my distance target, I also conquered Winnat's Pass. Ever since I cycled down it on a L'Etape training ride 6 years ago, I thought I'd never ride up it and being over 20% it fell into the category of climbs where I thought walking was inevitable. So when May's training advice suggested tackling something I'd assumed was impossible, it was the final persuasion I needed to enter Tour of the Peak in which Winnat's Pass made up just some of the 3800m of climbing over the 182km course! Completing that along with the bonus ride in the Peak District the following day, enabled me to prove to myself I have the mental strength to keep moving even when the going gets tough.

Food glorious(?) food

Wednesday 8th Jun
As my training volume has increased so has the amount of food I consume. Sometimes I feel like I'm almost force feeding myself but other times the treats on offer are too tasty to resist. 
May's target was 1500km and in the end I covered 1880km!!! According to my Garmin that burned 32000Calories no wonder I got bored of eating cereal bars. There's definitely an eating challenge element to Le Loop too.

New Shoes

Thursday 26th May
Another type of shoe for my collection: proper road bike shoes - an upgrade from the touring shoes I have been using until now. Fortunately, I don't have expensive colour taste and this funky chameleon colour was cheaper than the white version. Although part of the reason for the upgrade was the extra stability of the road cleats, I was a bit scared by how much stiffer they were to clip in and out at first but a ride across London with numerous traffic light stops soon got me used to them.

6 weeks to go!!!

Friday 13th May
Still plenty of training to do before then and in the background, I'm still having to make sure everything else is prepared & tested to: bike, kit, nutrition, etc. At least the weather is warming up, making training rides even more pleasant - and allowing me to test my new LeLoop Jersey.

Alpine Training

Monday 9th May
In April I was lucky enough to spend some time in the mountains of the Southern Alps. And even luckier to have a boyfriend who let me take my bike and disappear off on some bike rides. It meant despite only covering 930km horizontally in April I managed over 8000m of ascent and lots of hairpin practice so I'm ready(?) for Alpe d'Huez.

March Update

Tuesday 26th Apr
Good job this is a cycle challenge and not a blogging challenge as this is rather late for a March update. Greatest monthly distance covered so far: 1318km. Also managed to get my ascent up to about 8000m - largely thanks to some hilly rides in the Cotswolds reminiscing about walking the Cotswold Way and the bonus of catching up with family and friends nearby.

Blown off course?

Friday 11th Mar

The spring flowers are starting to appear and giving me cause to smile during my rides. However, the weather in February did not generate smiles. The storms and their associated winds made me decide some of my planned rides were too dangerous to go ahead with. Although I made it up with some time on the turbo trainer, the distance covered in the month (800km) was down on where I hoped to be and my first 100miler of the year had to wait until March.

Hill Training

Tuesday 15th Feb
Living somewhere as flat as the Fens, there aren't any hills to train on which makes training for the mountains even more of a challenge. To put it in perspective in my 1200km of training in January, I barely broke 4000m of climbing which will be a day's climbing on some days of Le Loop!
To address this short-coming of my local terrain I've been to do several interval sessions each week which if nothing else trains the mental strength to keep pushing. I've also made sure to not shy away from training in headwinds and the extra resistance they provide. However, nothing beats a weekend away and some real hills particularly when it's combined with visiting friends.

Too busy cycling

Friday 21st Jan
Belated Happy New Year to all my supporters!
I saw 2021 out with even more miles on the bike managing to break the 1000km mark in December. One ride in the Surrey Hills ensured I got some climbing in but that one ride was almost half my climbing for the month. I was lucky enough to enjoy some one way cycle rides with the tailwind - I'm hoping the stages of LeLoop are also wind assisted.

Autumnal Cycling

Monday 13th Dec
I've been starting to increase my mileage by enjoying some crisp autumnal mornings. The colours down the country lanes have been impressive and admiring them has whiled away the miles.
In total in November I logged 941km on the roads and 4hrs30min simulating hills on the turbo trainer. I'm going to need to cover plenty more to prepare for Le Loop.

2022 Calendars: Gifts that give!

Saturday 27th Nov
As part of my fundraising I have produced a 2022 wall calendar to bring a bit of the beauty of Great Britain into your house or give as a gift 🎁!
The calendar opens to A3 and each month has a different photo from my adventures in the Great British Great Outdoors. They are just £10 each.
Contact me directly to order, or make a £10 donation and reference them in your message and I will be in contact to organise delivery.

Training has started!

Sunday 21st Nov
I'm still working on my morning motivation to get some longer rides in before work but weekend rides are being motivated by seeing friends and cake(s) or other tasty treats :-)
I even found myself at the same cafe, The Pallet Cafe, twice in three weeks. Their milkshake was just the burst of energy I needed to help get me home.
(Thanks to Gibbo for the company and the picture.)

Thank you to my Sponsors

£215

Joe Parry

Good luck!

£212

Celia Monteiro

Here's 10p per mile. We hope it's some motivation when things get tough! Good luck for the adventure. Xxx

£200

Helen Burnham

Attagirl! Good luck with the training!

£200

Patricia Gardener

£108

Anonymous

£108

Offline Fundraising

£100

Irene & Tony

Wishing you every success and a wonderful trip

£100

Kaush Kotak

£100

Anthony Bosanko

Good luck Julia!

£100

Pollie Boyle

This will be an amazing experience! 170km a day - wow! I reckon I could manage that for a day or two but three weeks... Good luck and enjoy the extra food!

£96.50

Cambridge Intelligence Ltd

Good Luck!

£54

Tom Fisher

Happy pedaling!

£54

Anonymous

Have a great ride!!!

£54

Hisako

£54

Johan Dreyer

What an incredible challenge for an incredible cause. You're an inspiration to many of us Julia. Have a great adventure!

£54

William James

A massive adventure!! Enjoy the route, and the rest days 😂

£54

Hk

£50

Austin Benson

£50

Katherine Abell

Keep going and have fun, Julia.

£50

Alan And Hilary

Wishing you good luck with this impressive challenge!

£50

Anonymous

£50

Neil Talbott

Amazing effort for the first 8 stages. I'm so sorry you had to stop through no fault of your own. Best of luck for a second crack or whatever you decide to focus on next instead.

£50

Richard Sworder

£50

Jill Patterson

Fantastic challenge. Hope you enjoy it

£50

Anonymous

Awsome

£43.20

Courtney Collins

Best of luck Julia!!

£43.20

Julia Robson

£42

Cambridge Intelligence

Good luck!

£40

Rebecca Langton

Crazy challenge, but hope you keep on smiling! Best wishes for an awesome adventure!!

£37.80

Roger Murby

Good luck in the mountains !

£35

Richard Loke

Have a great ride!!

£34

Phil Rodgers

Good luck!

£32.40

Nigel Turner

What a massive challenge! Hope the training goes well

£27

Amalie

£27

Valdis Lusis

Great challenge Julia! Very best wishes.

£27

Steve Woolcock

Good luck on this epic journey. Well done so far with the training during those cold December, January and February days.

£27

Explore Zero Waste

What an amazing charity and event well done!

£27

Jenny G-s

In awe of what you accomplished even before covid-19 struck. Even one day of the Tour is a huge challenge.

£27

Jim Indield

You are very courageous to take on such a tremendous challenge. Wishing you every success, good luck and remain injury free !

£27

Bente Dignam

£27

Jessica Berrisford

Good Luck Julia, hope you enjoy it too!

£25

Anonymous

£25

Corey Lanum

£25

Jonathan Castell

Good luck, Julia!

£25

Karin Cotgrave

Good luck on your adventures

£25

Linda Cotgrave

£25

Andrew Disney

I look forward to cycling around France vicariously through photos on Slack!

£25

Jake Reich

£25

Jon Glass

Good luck - a very impressive challenge!

£25

Catherine Kearns

Good luck Julia!

£25

Rachel & James

Good luck on your latest and craziest adventure yet!

£25

Cambridge Intelligence

£25

Adrian Fraser

Good luck Julie - that's quite a big effort.

£25

Nusrat Hamid

Good luck!

£25

Toby Faber

Part of me thinks you're mad; another part is a little bit envious.

£25

Jonathan Murphy

Good luck with the ride

£25

Adrian Brown

£21

Becca Downing

Good luck Julia! We think you're crazy, but it's super impressive! Can we follow you or get daily updates? love Becca, Chris, Amelie and Lucas xxxx

£20

David Egbue

Cookies and brownies brought me here ☺️

£20

Amy Kingston

Amazing challenge, hope it goes well :-)

£20

Dan

Good luck!

£20

Evie

Good luck!

£16.20

Nicola O'clarey

Doing the Full Loop - Wow you must have a big heart physiologically and emotionally xxx

£16.20

Andrea Walker

You are unstoppable Julia! Best of luck with this impressive challenge xx

£15

Jack

Good luck!

£15

Ray

£15

Warren

Good luck!

£15

Mike Gatfield

£10.80

Carla Velterop-martin

Good luck, Julia!

£10.80

Grant Chapman

Good luck mate

£10.80

Anonymous

£10.80

C Donald

Getting one more calendar for a friend that really liked your photos 😊 Good luck Julia 🚴‍♂️

£10.80

Carolyn

£10.80

Owen Michael Wyatt

Good cause dont ever stop

£10.80

Joanne Brand

£10

Anonymous

£10

Alex Finch

£10

David Cotgrave

£5.40

Manny Gatt