I write this now with my backside pleasantly situated on a comfy chair, mug of coffee in hand. Which might dampen my feelings about the 300-mile epic cycle the Eulogy gang proudly completed last weekend, when we joined the Bloodwise London to Paris trip.
Long story short, it was a lot harder than I thought it would be.
Cycling in the ‘intermediate’ group, our average pace nudged slightly over 24km/h. That kind of speed isn’t usually an issue for me, but keeping it up day in, day out, over as much as 130km got a bit testy at times. At its worst, it saw me sprawled on the side of a hill, moaning as a stranger cranked the cramp out of my calves.
That was on day one.
Fast-forward towards the end and I’d definitely gotten into the swing of things and the legs weren’t suffering any more contractions. The route itself was lovely, taking in the rural sights of France and an epic roll into Paris and the Arc De Triomphe to finish.
The main motivator that got me through the journey was the other riders. Made up of a collection of people including long-standing cycling fanatics, those new to a bike and an impressive bunch in remission from blood cancers, the peloton was full of constant chatter and banter. Not to mention the ride captains zipping up and down each speed group to help with punctures, mechanical issues or – my worst enemy – cramp.
Needless to say the Eulogy crew were stalwarts throughout, fighting through saddle sores, knee knocks and broken bicycles to reach the finish line together. A few of us even managed to eke out a half marathon this weekend to ensure our legs were being punished, even when we’re off the saddle.
It’s been a trip that I won’t ever forget, for a cause that’s delivering amazing work for people suffering from blood cancers. As for the next challenge? It can’t be much further from Paris to Amsterdam surely?