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Could I thank everyone for their words of encouragement and financial support to date. So far I have raised over £1,500 for The Jennifer Trust. I just know that this amount of money will make a huge difference. Please see the previous news item by clicking here to find out more about the challenge I took on and why http://tinyurl.com/bs5jswv
As far as the actual challenge goes, I completed it and just about stayed in one piece.
We set off from a very cold Bexley at 7am on 11th April. The first couple of hours was not the prettiest ride I’ve been on but after lunch we were in the Kent countryside which is not flat I can tell you. Apart from a very near miss with a very large HGV, the first day was good and there were no injuries. A couple of pints of Guinness on the Ferry to Calais was reward for what was to be the longest day in the saddle (78 miles).
Although a bit stiff on day 2, once we were on the road, things became easier. Cycling through France is an absolute pleasure. Cycling is the National Sport and the road surfaces were perfect and motorists show you a huge amount of respect. After lunch on day 2, I felt dreadful and the first signs of worry crept in. I needn’t have worried, lunch kicked in and the last leg in to Arras, one of the prettiest towns in France, was a very fast and enjoyable ride.
Day 3 and we continued to head south through the region of the Somme and its WW1 battlefield – rolling, green meadows studded with the many war memorials and cemeteries. It certainly made for the odd poignant moment.
The first part of the last day was very tough. My knees were beginning to hurt and we had a horrible climb first thing. I was very glad to make it to lunch. After lunch we knew we were getting closer to Paris and everyone’s spirits were lifted. Cycling through Central Paris in rush hour is certainly an experience. I managed to lose the rest of the group which was slightly unnerving but met back up along the Champs Elysees as we rode together as a peleton. A couple of very near misses around the “kamikaze” Arc de Triomphe and eventually finishing under the Eiffel Tower for a glass of bubbly.
300 miles, 4 days. I think I’ve even surprised myself. My main concern had been my neck and back but both were fine. I’ll take some saddle soreness and some knee pain.
I haven’t managed to get back on the bike since but may do this weekend.
Once again thank you to everyone for their support. For those of you who probably quite rightly had doubts about my ability to do it, there is still time to donate at www.jtsma.org.uk/Damien%20Rylett.