Cycling Weekly?s Deputy Editor has got himself in a bit of a pickle by agreeing to ride the Marmotte and Etape du Tour in two days.

If you?re the person who read my first blog you?ll know that I accepted Rapha?s invite to join them in a crazy bet to try and ride the Marmotte and Etape du Tour cyclo-sportives in two days because they promised me a free ride in a private jet. (Well, that?s how I remembered it.)

Once it was all agreed that I’d take part, my imagination very quickly got the better of me. I had visions of sipping champagne and getting a massage while cruising at 30,000 feet. Dean Downing and Chris Newton would be in the back of the plane checking my bike over, while Kristian House was in the advanced party, already at the hotel making sure dinner was being cooked to my liking and making up my water bottles for the following day.

Believe it or not, that?s not exactly how it?s going to be. It turns out we?re not even in a jet plane, we?re in a twin prop plane. The flying equivalent of a Ford Cortina.

So my visions are now of a clapped out old plane piloted by a drunk Vietnam veteran with a leather hat and goggles who has a Buddy Holly album stuck on replay in the CD player.

“That?ll be the day, when you say goodbye, oh that?ll be the day?.”

The good news is, even if the plane doesn?t make it to Pau, I will have had the pleasure of riding a brand new Independent Fabrications bike for the Marmotte. The American company are providing the four of us taking on the challenge with our own bikes.

But before you start accusing me of getting a freebie I should point out that it could be you who ends up with this bike. Although it?s been built to my measurements, I?m going to have to give it back soon after the event. Whereas you stand the chance of winning it and keeping it forever.

All you have to do is guess how long it will take John Bradley (from Outside magazine – also stupid enough to take on the challenge) to complete the two rides. The person who gets closest to his time will win one of the IF bikes that gets used. (I promise to look after mine.) Enter the competition here

But never mind free bikes, you want to know how my training?s going! Not too bad is the answer. A total of 9.15hrs last weekend, and both rides at a good pace in a small group.

Each ride also included a jolly nice café stop. I went for a chocolate cake (like a brownie, but with broken biscuits in) on the Saturday, and coffee and walnut (a bit dry, but I did get the biggest slice ? result) on the Sunday.

My training has suffered a little mid-week what with the weather, but I am now doing the Dragon Ride on June 15. So if you see me groveling round the route in my Cycling Weekly kit, do come and say hello.

For anyone interested in winning the bike I?m going to ride for the Crazy Bet, here?s the measurements.

Independent Fabrications bike spec


Crazy bet: Blog 1