This is the big one: 1,000 miles, 10 days.
Like a lot of riders I’ve always wanted to do a big foreign ride. I have just watched Le Tour and now La Vuelta and whilst we aren’t as fast as the pros we can still ride the same hills. There’s not another sport where you can perform on the same pitch, court, circuit or road as the professionals do. I’ve had a few trips to Welsh trail centres, a few dealer trips in the Alps and Dolimites and a few days in the Pyrenees but never more than just a short trip.
Some of my riding buddies thought that we should do Land’s End to John O’Groats. I was up for that but as usual thought that either finances or shop commitments would mean that, as so often in the past, I’d probably not go and would channel my unused energy into motivating the many customers that will undertake an adventure no matter how big or small. My brother was invited and suggested St Malo to Santander. It would be much warmer and there’s nothing to do in John O’Groats was his rational. And so it began. No route, no accommodation, no support, virtually no riders and no cause.
Over the months the route unfolded, accommodation was booked, riders joined, left, were replaced and the support team came together. Finally we had a great cause. We would be riding for Worthing Scope. One of the team’s daughters has had invaluable care from Worthing Scope. Most people know someone with a disability and so being lucky enough to be fit and healthy we wanted to help. We had already costed the trip and paid for it ourselves so felt content that we could ask for support knowing that it would all go to the new Children’s service that is so needed in Worthing.
Tonight we board the St Malo ferry and are as ready as we ever will be to start riding in the morning. The first stage is 181km from the channel coast to Champtoceaux sitting on the south bank of the Loire. The following day, 184km, to Rochefort.
Usually, when planning a trip away I have a short list and carry virtually nothing other then a few tubes, just in case. This time we have two spare bikes, three sets of wheels, 6 tyres, ten tubes, two chains, lubes, chain links, cleaners, brushes.... We could open up a bike shop in the Pyrenees. The more you are, the more the chances of something going wrong.
I'll keep you posted.
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