4 days of cycling from London to Paris, nearly 500km cycled, up and down hills, through the sun, wind and rain, climbing over 14,000 feet along the way and getting lost once or twice, but all 141 of the cyclists, riding to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support, before finishing under the Eiffel Tower.
Having left in bright sunshine on Wednesday, out through the busy rush hour streets of London towards the garden of England, I was under no illusion as to the challenge ahead of us. I was cycling so well that I rode straight past the first water stop and on to lunch in good time (as we had to be in Dover by 5pm, or face the ignominy of being picked up in the van). But then the hills of Kent really do bite.
We had been warned that the parcour for the day was “undulating”, but that included some hills with a gradient of up to 20%. These hills tease you along the way, heading up to a false flat, you think that’s as far as it goes but turn a corner and the road continues upwards, turn the next corner and carry on upwards, one after the other with no time to rest in between hills during the 2nd half of the day. But onto the white cliffs in good time, having ridden 128km.
Across the channel by ferry before cycling the final 10km to our hotel for the evening, eventually making it to bed around midnight, this made for one long day, that hardest day on the bike I have had, up to that point anyway!