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Who Am I?

Me at the top (2,757m)

Me at the top of the Stelvio Pass (2,757m)

Name: Andy Smith
Nickname: Smudger (aka Magoo at Barnes FC)
Social Media: @SmudgerAndy + + LinkedIn +
Age: 35
Height: 185cm / 6ft 1/2 inch
Weight: 80kg (hopefully, unless I’ve ordered a Papa John’s XXL pizza recently to eat by myself)
Lives: Borough, London
Hometown: Watford, Herts
Job: I’m a professionally qualified Management Accountant but decided to quit my last corporate job (read about why here) to plan/prepare/do this adventure!  My aim is that the new skills & experiences I learn on this trip will help launch me into a more meaningful career in the future – if you have any thoughts/advice on that point then please get in contact.
Marital Status: Single (hence I can bugger off abroad for 6 months)

Before this turns into a dating website profile let me skip to the relevant sporty stuff…

Football: I’m a lifelong Watford FC supporter and have been a season ticket holder for several years when possible and have loved following the club’s highs and lows, including relegation, promotion, two play-off final wins to reach the Prem, both League Cup and FA Cup semi finals, and generally enjoyed the camaraderie of following a smallish club along with my mates and family. I’ve also played Sunday League footy since I was 8 years old with only a few years off for uni and then CIMA study later on. I’ve been to many England games over the years starting at the old Wembley, to the game v Greece at Old Trafford when Becks scored the late free kick to take us to the World Cup, then went to that 2002 World Cup in Japan, also went to the 2004 Euros in Portugal, then (look away Steve McLaren if you’re reading this) was at the new Wembley to see Croatia prevent us from reaching Euro 2008, surprisingly declined to accompany some mates to South Africa 2010 and instead watched Germany thrash us whilst I was at Glastonbury Festival, but that decision was in part due to the fact I knew that Brazil 2014 is my dream World Cup and I really had to go to this one!

Cycling: In 2009 (I think?) my friend Svein asked if I fancied joining him and some others for a trip to take on a Tour De France mountain stage? I was in pretty good shape since running the London Marathon the year before and thought yeah why not, despite having not ridden a bike since I was 17!  So I bought a 10 year old Trek road bike off Ebay and rode about 10 miles in training plus did some spin classes, and headed to France… the ‘medium’ mountain stage proved to be a lot tougher than I expected and it was the hardest day of my life!  What took place that day is actually a pretty amazing story, ask me to tell you about it some time.  Anyway, the following day we headed over the final mountain from France into Switzerland and following an amazing descent to and ride along the bank of Lake Geneva I was hooked on road cycling.  Since then the same group of mates, now known as The Mountain Goats, have crossed the Yorkshire Dales, climbed famous Alps The Galibier, Alpe D’Huez and Col de la Croix do Fer, and this year scaled the Giro D’Italia legend the Stelvio Pass (also see pic above) and also its neighbour the Gavia Pass. Next August we have Mont Ventoux aka the “Beast of Provence” in our sights! I’ve also done various charity rides and sportives on my newer Wilier road bike, but now it’s time to focus on cycle touring so I’ve ordered myself a Thorn Raven and will start packing up the panniers for some practice mini tours very soon…

Update – you can check out my Strava page here to see where I’ve been cycling.

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