Well, we finally made it.....280km of cycling, 30 riders, 4 support vehicles and over £21,000 successfully raised for Princess Alice Hospice. Well done team, what a great effort on all counts. So here's how it went...
Leaving Princess Alice Hospice just after 9am following some last minute technical issues with James Fildler's bike, we headed down to Boxhill via Esher and Leatherhead stopping once for our first and only puncture of the trip (Rory).
A quick stop at the top of Boxhill, we trundled through the countryside, around the back of Gatwick Airport and up our second hill to Tulley's farm for a quick coffee and pit stop. It wasn't long before we hit the rain, not for long though and with lunch only 25 km away we were looking forward to some food....not helped by Gary missing a turn in Lindfield!! After lunch, it was heads down to reach the ferry in time, a quick check in and shower on the boat to freshen up. On the boat we also had Kevin shave off half his beard and Gary create a mohican for an extra £400 to Princess Alice Hospice! Barely off the ferry and John Carpenter has his first drama, leaving his passport on board. Delaying us a few minutes and we were on our way having picked up another rider, Amagoia (aka Lucy) from Spain, or should I say Basque Country. A short cycle up the hill to the hotel and it was time for bed.
Breakfast at 8am and Kevin Petersen was already doing messages in preparation for our 100km ride to Beauvais. Off we went, chugging along the Avenue Verte to Neufchatel-en-bray with plenty of rolling hills to our lunchstop in Gaillefontaine. After that, a quick smash down to Songeons, a comfort break and into Beauvais for food and a well earned beer (or two).
Beauvais to Paris, that was all the was left, 80km of relatively calm cycling turned into a challenge for our slower riders who set off early in an attempt to beat the faster group to the lunch stop...and they made it, great effort and rewarded by a fantastic lunch from the support crew. Those Nutella Donuts were amazing!!! After lunch, we safely navigated our way to Paris, winding our way down one way streets until we reached the Seine. From there we followed the river to the Financial District, chucked a left onto the famous Champs Élysées, right at the Arc de Triomphe and we were almost there.
Seeing the Tour de Eiffel after 3 days of cycling is amazing, arriving virtually under it for photos and hugs was a fitting end to an amazing trip.
Until next year!!!