Le Loop 2023 - The Pain in Spain!
“An amateur should think long and hard about attempting a stage of the Tour de France. 2 would probably necessitate a visit to the doctor, 3 may require a psychiatrist.” Bernard Hinault (5 time Tour winner, aka ‘The Badger’).
This summer, however, I will be ignoring Bernard’s sage advice, and riding the first 3 stages of the Tour, to raise money for the William Wates Memorial Trust. Every year, this incredible charity recruits a bunch of
foolhardy intrepid cyclists to take part in ‘Le Loop,’ which follows the same route as the professional riders (which is where the similarities between us and the professionals end).
The race this year begins on the beautiful coast of Northern Spain. But there’ll be no time to Basque in the sunshine (see what I did there?), because we will be setting off from Bilbao, then cycling along the coast to San Sebastian, before crossing the French border into Bayonne.
It’s going to be long and hilly – 120 miles a day for 3 consecutive days. We will burn almost 30,000 calories in total – the equivalent of 130 pints of beer or 50 bottles of champagne. The distance each day is the same as a full circuit of the M25.
The mission of the William Wates Memorial Trust is to help the most disadvantaged young people keep away from a life of crime and violence, and fulfil their potential. It was set up in memory of William Wates, who was tragically killed in 1996. I will be riding alongside his brother, my great friend Rick Wates, who has worked tirelessly with the Trust since it was founded.
‘Le Loop’ is their main annual fund-raising event, and had to be cancelled because of COVID in 2020 and 2021. Therefore it would be great to help make this fund-raising year an extra special one.
The last time I rode in this event was 2014. I was due to take part in 2020 and 21, but the pandemic put paid to that. So three years have passed, and I’ve now reached the ripe old age of Cincuenta y algo – no longer a pollo primavera (enough dodgy Spanish!) I will continue my training for “The Pain in Spain.” Any donations will be very gratefully received.
Thank you to my Sponsors
Your Famalam (is A Mad Ting)
Andy & Sorrell
Kelley And Dan Bourgoise
Mr A R Merton
Daisy, Bear And The Boys
David Van Der Gaag
Joe, Charlie, I,s&c