A numbers game…

  • 200 riders
  • 34 degrees heat
  • 1 very large climb – 140k / 2624m
  • 3 ‘fat dads’ who cycled down from England (!) – Of whom, Douglas jnr was the winner on the day
  • 1 Brompton
  • 6.8 miles – Strava underestimating  the distance I covered hmmm
  • 12,932 Nike Fuel Points of cycling

So the new blood this year were mainly younger and whippet thin. Particularly from a distance – which was the main view I had of them as they disappeared over the horizon.

Of the rest, shall we say determined amateurs, we struggled up via litres of water, liberal application of sun cream and ever increasing amount of cramp. The heat turned it in to a massive feat of endurance, broken briefly by the break-neck descent and then the 30k run in to Marrakech on melting tarmac into a hot, dry headwind.

Very, very hard – harder than in the cold, but all worthwhile once an ice-cold beer at the finish started to numb the pain.

Extremely well organised in the charming, understated way that made in so enjoyable last year and bought Chris and I back for more.

Great to meet Linda of Riad Linda, our host during our brief stay and the one reader of this blog! – a pleasure to share a drink at the finish.

Respect to Mike, Chris, Gareth and all the rest of the Education for All team for making it all happen.

Thanks to Argan Xtreme Sports for the Pepsi and Marlboro red in my hour of need!

And, finally, a massive thank you for all the support – we have raised enough money to support three girls for a year at the EFA houses.

Right, I need some sleep


Chris smiling:


No sleep till bedtime

At Riad Linda, alarm set for 6.00 and then it is up and on the bikes.

It is baking here and the heat may be more of a challenge than last year’s freezing conditions… We shall find out tomorrow.

Currently raised 90% of our target which is excellent – and with the promises I shall be chasing down on my return we should hit the total.

I can’t thank you enough for the support!

Good night x

The time is now!


Just sent the last begging mail out:

The final comedown [mail 3 of 3]

Sorry, ‘countdown’…

Yep, this Sunday is the big day!

Cue, ‘Velvet Underground’

Sunday morning,

Brings the dawning,

Of one blooming monstrous mountain climb on my Brompton… [It may not scan, but I am fairly sure I will]

Feel all the wasted years

Catch one up from behind…

For those of you who want to bypass my woffle and cut to the chase:

For everybody else, read on…

Firstly, a massive thanks for all the support so far – we are about 70+% on our way to our target!

When I started training for this caper a couple of months back, my stated aims – outside of emptying your bank account – covered three things

  1. no beer
  2. no fags
  3. no junk food.

Well, I certainly went on to prove that prohibition, as history demonstrates, doesn’t work. I can almost sense the resounding shock that, true to form, so long as you strike the ‘no’, I succeeded in these aims!

Rather than failure, I am looking at it as follows –

  • The beer is ‘carb loading’
  • The occasional cigarettes and reduced lung capacity is good training for the high altitude.

Admittedly, I have failed to justify the junk food to myself, but think the climb will be a suitable guilt-ridding punishment.

Despite my human weaknesses, however, I have cycled up Swains Lane in Highgate a lot of times (43 thousand feet worth of times, in fact) by way of some urban training.

Between the wrenching gasps, sweat stinging eyes and sinew twanging thighs, I have been amused passing the famous cemetery with Marx, unusually, on my right and, on my left, the crowds of disappointed tourists who failed to book the tour around the older West side – although not as disappointed, I imagine, as Dickens and co were when they arrived to take up more permanent residence!

Anyhow, it’s almost time to fold the bike and head to the Atlas mountains, so we may as well end with a tune…

Cue the Wonderstuff

It’s not your heart, it’s your bank I want to break!

It’s your money I am after baby…!


Look on the bright side, it could have been ‘the only way is up’ by Yazz.

See you all next Tuesday, so to speak,

Tuffs xxx

Boarding cards printed – factor 50 sun block purchased-it’s getting very close

So,  with less than a week to go, the boarding cards are printed and panic has started to set in.

Have we trained enough?, have we drank too much?, are we too fat?, are we too old? Well, with the possible exception of the 1st question, the answer to all the others is a resounding yes.

I have indeed failed to moderate the alcohol intake, I’ve not lost any weight and I have most definitely aged a year.


Having checked Strava, the keeper of the records,

I appear to have cycled 1,471 miles and elevated myself nearly 82,000 feet.  For someone with a very large fear of heights, 82,000 feet is quite high enough.






No idea if that is enough but judging by the amazing progress being made by the FatDads, we are going to have our work cut out to keep up.

However, a revolutionary new product is set to dramatically alter our performance. Quite simply it’s magical powder.


Palcohol is powered alcohol that can be added to water to create a refreshing, thirst quenching drink.

To quote the company ”

“So he thought? Wouldn’t it be great to have alcohol in powder form so all one had to do is add water? Since powder is light and compact, it wouldn’t be a burden to carry”

Energy drinks and gels are all very well, but when you have cycled half way up a mountain, quite frankly, the last thing you need is a flapjack, what you need is a large G&T to get you up the next 10k.

Enter Palcohol.


Looking forwards to going back to Morocco and tackling the Ouka.


See you soon




Exactly two weeks to go

With exactly two weeks to go, James and my good self, celebrated our almost puritanical training regime by celebrating over a glass or two of elderflower cordial on Friday.  Elderflower cordial patently has a strange effect on my constitution because at 3am in the morning I was definitely ready for another  long training ride.

Fortunately, at 7:00am in the morning, I was asked if I’d like to take part in the Rapha Hell of the North.  This is a tribute to the Paris Roubaix classic and involves cycling through the hills of North London.

It’s muddy, hilly and generally grim.  Only being mildly hung over for a Saturday morning, I of course said yes.

During the race preparation, I noticed a grinding noise, thinking it was my knee, I swallowed some more neurofen and carried on.

It turned out not to be my knee…..

The three bits on the left,  fell out of the front fork and the fork fell out of the bike!!


A quick trip to the local cycle shop, confirmed my suspicion, it wasn’t my knee.

Apparently, the headset bearing had collapsed due to excessive wear. A new one is on order and should be with me in a couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, backup bike is coming out of retirement just in case



Two weeks to go



With just over two weeks to go, it was time to up the training.  Team Ouka set out yesterday to conquer the mountains of North London

Exactly 130km were cycled and 1564m were climbed.  What’s more only 4 pints of finest ale were drunk during the cycling which is something of a record.

Having just checked my map, we appear to have climbed almost the same number of metres as the Ouka!!

Suffice to say, my legs are on fire and I would rather stand than sit.

Not a bad effort, considering I was trying to get out of a vat of lager some weeks ago

Also, According to Strava, I’ve attained the status of Grand Fondue – Not sure what it means but I guess it means I ‘ve cycled up a load of hills

Anyway, it’s time to light the cigar and relax – team OUKA has completed its training regime.


Next big decision, do we pack the bubble wrap suit or go with the lycra.