It is time again for that annual ritual known as “Shrink the Nigel”. It is a kind of cultural fusion, merging two French traditions – the making of Pate de Foie Gras and the Tour de France – with a variant on the traditional British stiff upper lip which in this case involves stiff lower limbs. Standing in for the goose used for foie gras, you take Nigel Murray, MD of Trilantic (now part of Huron Consulting) and fill him with fine food and drink from mid-June to mid-February – I myself have been privileged to observe this part of the tradition in restaurants around the world, from London to Hong Kong to several US cities. Phase 2, the stiff lower limb stage, takes place away from the public eye, when Nigel, by now suitably rotund, takes to his bicycle and starts burning off the weight with a punishing regime of exercise, building up the miles and the muscles as he prepares for Phase 3. This, the Tour de France stage, involves cycling for 350 miles – up to 80 miles a day – from the battlefields of Northern France en route for Paris along with 299 others.
The cause is a good one. Help for Heroes exists to provide support and rehabilitation for military personnel injured in war. There is information here about this year’s Big Battlefield Bike Ride, which begins on the Normandy beaches, and Nigel has his own web page here from which you can make a donation. Last year, he raised over £3,500 cycling from the Somme battlefields. His target this year is £6,000 of which, as I write, he has already achieved nearly £1700 including Gift Aid. Read the rest of this entry »