Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Post event Memories

I am coming down to Earth gradually without any long lasting soreness but plenty of memories. I had written them down to share with you but alas and alack my Ipad rebooted itself and lost what I had written so here is an abridged version.
Day one; a mean breakfast of pale eggs and wan sausages, cycling with the early morning sun in our eyes, lots of traffic lights, water stop with lots of sweets and tracker bars, lovely weather, poor cyclist with broken teeth, delicious lunch of pasta salads in variety of styles, nasty accident to one of ours        :(  , hard hills continually surprising us.  cavalcade of cycles on and off ferry, sparkling tour of Calais before queueing up in hotel corridor to park our bikes, lovely double bed for me and cot for Ben.

Day two; continental breakfast that ran out  before we had a chance to eat, level first part of ride along sumptuous countryside, dead water vole, beautiful forest ride, family of partridges, long slow hills, wind turbines and tree lined skylines open fields, our first war grave site, French response to us as we cycled,"Est que  c'est la route a Paris? "  "Oui  cest vrai,  zut alors!",  my singing such songs as "We're on our way to Paris we shall not be moved."Non ne rien, non  Je ne regrette rien" and  "I love Paris in the springtime" drinking Pastis in the town square of Arrass with Richard, John, Dawn, Sarah and Ben.

Day three; up early again, hard ride out of  town leaving others behind,  atmosphere difficult to express when passing fields where so much killing went on and so much peace remains along with poppies at the roadside, amazing water stop at Tiepval monument, beautiful viewing spot overlooking Somme valley, another fantastic lunch with english stilton!, dead cat, stuggling with mobility in afternoon meds not kicking in pedalling becoming laboured, helping van driver to navigate lost cyclists back to the route, rejoining for last hill down into town, horrible ride around to hotel, missing centre of what must be a lovely town, motel style hotel with bikes parked in our room, steak for supper.

Day four; cold start, roads as smooth as glass, sensation of speed when in peloton slipstreaming each other, arriving at lunch stop at 9.30, seeing people arrive after me when before I always arrived after them. hard ride into Paris through suburbs, accidents and mad taxi drivers, bad joke about river swimming being insane(seine), stiffening up in traffic with just a mile to go, feeling like a celebrity cycling around in large group past Arc de T, champs elysee and Eiffel Tower being photographed and applauded by complete strangers, humbled by request from a rider who said they would be honoured if they could ride with me up the Champs Elysee. tears all round the Eiffel Tower. mucking up ride to hotel, warm champagne upon late arrival, bar crowded with sweaty saddle cream smelling lycra clad noisy elated cyclists, being called a legend by member of DA crew.

General Threads Overall feeling of support and friendship from all we cycled with and the warmth and cameraderie from our group of back enders.  choral singing with John, chatting and joke telling with Richard, gettig to know Dawn and marvelling at Ben's strength and support let alone his irony. sadly leaving behind a trail of bodily fluids across the fields of France damn cold! Daily log of roadkill tally, surprisingly we didn't miss much!

Finally watching the monies collected going over the  £3000 mark. THANK YOU :)

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Day four and so to Paris

Got off to a flying start leading a british peloton out of the town on delightfully smooth roads. Made it to lunch at 930. Average speed 13,5 mph. 28 miles into the day another  38 to go.  Fantastic food again thanks to extreme caterers. Onto Paris across rolling fields past Paris  ch de Gaulle airport and then into the suburbs.  Medication went then came back in so managed to get within 1 mile of the end and then seized up completely,  so caught a lift for hr last bit as I considered it dangerous negotiating busy Parisian srreets..  But triumph of triumphs I got wired again and joined the mass celebratory cavalcade of cyclist through the major sights around the Arc de Triomph, down the champs élysées, and then onto the Eiffel tower.  What an awesome sense of achievement!  Thanks to the team, Discover Adventure crew, the friends on the trip, and above all Ben, my son, who has made me so proud in the way he sorted me out without fuss when I was sluggish. Ben I love you.
It was all worth it for the 2700 I have raised so far.

Day Three a somber day

Up bright and early againg! The poor residents of these hotels must rue the day they shared with 100 british cyclists. The ride started well and we progressed nicely reaching the Thieval cemetery and ww1 war memorial by break there were a number of hills but mostly longneverending following fields  sadly after lunch my medication regime hadn't worked so I virtually ground to a halt!  It was at that point I caved in and cadged a lift for 20 miles.  So sorry people's I owe you 8% of your money back.  Managed the last 10 miles or so to the hotel and settled down for a leasant meal and sm beer.
Shocked when we were told we needed to get up at   Yes 6 am the next day.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Day two Calais to Arras

Another relatively early start we left Calais in slightly chilly conditions and headed south alongside a canal through some beautiful villages. The roads were exceptionally quiet and above all smooth.  As they are reasonably level we made good pace, I left Ben far behind as he was gassing with our new friends and I needed to confirm I was up to the pace.  Then we hit the hilly bits now long and drawn out not short and sharp as in Kent. We stopped for water in a forest after 20miles  then lunch after 50 miles. Another sumptuous feast served with a side dressing of wasp.. Then my most gruelling stint to date  a further 23 miles to water. Stop in unbroken heat, each hill was the steepest I've yet encountered no matter how small. We eventually arrive in Arras at 6.30 as a group of 5, bowed but not unbeaten. We have now gone 20 miles past the half way point.
Tomorrow it's the Somme

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Day one London to Dover 79 miles

After a cooked breakfast of pale eggs and nameless sausages plus burnt toast for Ben we assembled on the edge of Blacheath common in biting wind. Parkinson's group photo or two and mass briefing later we head off east straight into a low and bright sun down early London streets full of traffic lights and hit our first hill... That strung us out but made it possible to start to make friends with fellow riders, more later. First watering stop after 20 miles at 9 am  and no problems. Now in lovely country lanes just emptying of the school traffic.  Head of east meeting some small lumps and crossing m25 to the Weald lunch at midday after about 52 miles. Lunch sumptuous and filling  Excellent and made more friends. Ride onto next stop pretty level lulling us into a false sense of security the lumps over the downs after tea were wicked, cheeky and downright purgatory.  Made it to Dover by 5 pm waited 3hrs for ferry got tobcalais and after a massed tours of the roundabouts of Calais reached our hotel at 11 French time.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Al fed up and raring to go,

An eventful train journey, three hrs on a rural journey through picturesque Wiltshire passing sites where I went on a traing ride in July with the organisers.  Then onto a commuter train fromwaterloo east . How to ind up a commuter, take two bikes onto a train close t the rush hour and block the exits cause ther is no bike park! If looks could kill. When we get to hotel via a very short journey the sink in the room is blocked and we have to decamp into another room,two floors up.. We ate greasy fare and retired to our new room and watched tv, up at 5 tomorrow breakfast at 5.30. Uh oh

Monday, 3 September 2012

24hours til the off.

The bike is gleaming (thanks to Ben ) , the bag is packed, the mind is prepared shame about the body!  The cold still lingers, the shoulder aches, the legs are twitching but hey ho what's new?  All that's left to do is water the greenhouse, strim the plot and get on the train to London. Luckily the tickets were bought before the rush for Paralympics otherwise getting to London would have been more challenging than the ride itself!
The ride starts at Blackheath Common at 7 am tomorrow and we head for Dover, a mere 80 mls away to catch the 4 pm ferry to Calais. More about the route later. Meanwhile I'm going to try to get back to sleep!