I have been cycling for a few years now on the road, previously I was in to mountain biking & had not considered road racing until my good friend Mike Fraser who is also taking on this challenge lent me his Airboune Zeppelin to join him on the Manchester to Blackpool bike ride that we had completed the year before but I was on my mountain bike.
The first question I asked him was "How Do I change gear?", the last time I had to change gears on a racer they were on the down tube!
After this we went to watch the Tour De France when it visited Yorkshire, after a great weekend at Harewood house involved in everything road racing I was hooked & went & bought my bike, a Norco Carbon.
Since then I have enjoyed many days out with all of the lads involved in this challenge, having some good laughs along the way.
I'm a self confessed techno nerd who is always crunching data using the latest tech, whether I'm on Strava, on my Garmin our scanning the web for the latest bike & apparel with the latest tech, I invariably need something new.
When I was presented with this opportunity to undertake a challenge for such a good cause alongside such a great bunch of lads it was an i opportunity I didn't want to miss.
A lot of training betweeen now & then should see us have an enjoyable time in the saddle on some of "Le Tour's" classic climbs..... See you on the other side....
As a self confessed "MAMIL", I have been riding on the road for about seven years after my Brother-in-Law, good friend and bike buddy Mark Smith convinced me to make the purchase of my first bike, a Raleigh Airlite 400.
From then on there has been no stopping the two of us as we have been on various rides and challenges, including two Coast to Coast routes, Manchester to Blackpool (and back home on a few occasions) and an assortment of 60 and 100 mile sportive over the years.
2012 was also a special year in the cycling world as it was the first time a British rider won the Tour De France and I was in Paris to witness it!
The sight of Bradley Wiggins wearing the Yellow jersey and leading the Team Sky train to set up Mark Cavendish for the win on the Champs-Elysees was something extra special.
I returned to Paris for the final stage again in 2014 and in 2016 when I tried, but failed, to meet up with Ian & Kate Ware.
My current bike, a Felt AR5, which Jane describes as "Triggers Broom" has practically had everything on it replaced or upgraded at some point in the last couple of years.
That brings me to the challenge ahead of us.
When Ian contacted me to ask if I was interested in joining a team to ride these climbs, my first reaction was of fear & dread at the thought of tackling such iconic climbs that I had seen so many times on TV.
My second reaction was "Yes"!
I am delighted to be part of Team Oggy and riding in support of the Bury Cancer Support Centre.
We have a great bunch of guys and I am sure they will drag me up the climbs!
I began cycling when I was eleven years old and have continued cycling ever since. The attraction for me is travelling long distances in short periods of time while enjoying the scenery, enjoying the countryside and feeling like I am twelve years old again while speeding down hills!
I have been an avid fan of the Tour De France since watching it in the 80's and being lucky enough to witness the Tour on three occasions has only added to my love of cycling.
As a fan of cycling I have found myself watching it in many forms from the Tour of Britain, to hill climbing, to Indoor Velodrome.
Mont Ventoux has had a hold on my attention for many years now and an idea of raising money along with the challenge of cycling to the summit of Ventoux seemed like a perfect opportunity, too good to miss.
After putting the idea to a few of my cycling friends, Team Oggy was born and, without hesitation the planning of this challenge began.
The dedication shown by all of the members of Team Oggy is second to none, all of us are prepared to stepup to the challenge of the "Mr Blue Sky Tour" and commit to hard training in preparation for our trip to France.
I am lucky to be travelling witha great bunch of lads, raising money for a agreat cause and in memory of a top bloke... Dean.
I started cycling about 16 years ago after knee surgery on the recommendation of my surgeon.
After starting out on a mountain bike a good friend turned me into a road cyclist & the rest is history.
The challenge is one reason for joining the team, the other reason being that I have been so badly affected by cancer in my family & my close friends. I've lost too many of them to this cruel disease, this money raising event should go some way to help stopping the hurt for all of us.
I wasn't lucky enough to have known Dean but I know his friends and what tehy tell me about him and his family will help keep my motivation and focus through every inch of pain during the training and the Alps.
I would like to thanks Ian, Mike & Hilts for getting this off the ground and everyone who is involve, it's been an amazing team effort that will carry on for years.
I have loved cycling since the age of five when I taught myself to ride my first two wheeler. The only way for me to describe cycling whether on a BMX, Mountain Bike or a Road Bike is "it's about freedom".
When I was asked recently "When are you truly happy?" I answered, "Meeting my wife, The birth of my Children & riding bikes on hot summers nights with pals until it gets dark", like I say, it's the freedom I crave.
Challenging myself and having a goal each year allows me to mentally and physically push beyond the normal boundaries and it makes me feel alive.
So, when myself and Ian started throwing ideas around for a "challenge", the Mr Blue Sky Tour was born.
Within days we had six guys signed up for the challenge and have committed to take on the beast of the Alps and some of it's fiercest climbs.
The organisation and input from all of the guys is phenomenol and I am truly proud to be part of the Team and raise money for such a great charity.
The driving force behind all of this is the respect, love and admiration for a wonderful man...Oggy.
I hope we can do him and his family proud by smashing the climbs and reaching our charity target.
I have been riding bikes for as long as I can remember, as a kid I was always out on my bike either with mates or on my own in the rain doing my paper round. I have never lost that love of being on two wheels, the speed going downhill, the challenge of cycling uphill ans that feeling of freedom you can only get on a bike. I love everything on two wheels whether it be a road bike, mountain bike or a motorbike.
I have always cycled for pleasure and fitness as well as for convenience.
I started to cycle to my workplace in Manchester about eight years ago because it was quicker and much more fun than driving. As I started to do more cycling I bought my first road bikeand then convinced Clive to buy one too!
Since then, Clive and I have been pushing each other to go faster, further and better, whether it be around the local hills and countryside of Bury and Bolton or on our coast to coast rides and sportives.
When Clive told me about the "Mr Blue Sky Tour" I didn't have to give it a second thought.
What could be better than doing what I love with a great bunch of guys, pushing yourself hard over the three big climbs of The Alps while raising money for such a worthy cause?
Unfortunately I didn't have the priviledge of meeting Dean but cancer care is something very close to my heart as I have lost a number of close family members and friends over the years to this horrible disease.
My dad is currently battling cancer and has had the benefit of being cared for by some of the great, dedicated people who work in hospices and cancer care centres, just like the Bury Cancer Support Centre.