Day 11 – Horsham to Nice – Completed it mate, FANTASTIC !

What better feeling could there be than waking up in San Raphael knowing that we had completed 950miles, and had broken the back of our epic challenge, and had a 50mile ride to complete along a stunning coastal road, through Cannes/Antibes and onto our final endpoint, The Miami Beach club in Nice on the Promenade Des Anglais. The day went to plan and the team stopped to take in the stunning Cannes scenery and to enjoy a sandwich and drink on the beach before heading the final 20miles onto Nice, where the celebrations could officially begin. Once we had stopped to take some photos and to take in what we had achieved the whole team enjoyed some well deserved Cold Beers over the course of the afternoon before heading out for a celebratory meal.

The Days Highs and Lows are as follows:

Highs: The stunning seaside views/a relatively flat day of riding/reaching Nice and celebrating our huge achievement/The Pride of the whole Team

Lows: Tramps don’t like energy gels/It sinking in that we had finished  

Day 10 – Exiting the Alps and rolling into to the French Riviera

Today was the last bit of serious climbing as part of leaving the Alps, and some long last climbs in the scorching Southern French Sun, leading to some epic final downhills before moving into the gorgeous French Countryside we all associate with the Seaside Towns we are used to seeing on holiday. The day comprised of 88miles, with some short sharp climbs of 500ft early on that looked flat on the map, which the team were not even expecting. This was the last long day for the team, before they embark on the final 45miles from Saint Raphael to Nice on Tuesday morning which will be an epic end to an unbelievable 11 days with some great experiences and amazing memories made. The days highs and lows are as follows: Highs: The last day of serious climbing/Tagliatelle el Pavement/Rose/The swimming pool Lows: Traffic ruining the descents/35 degree heat/Motorway closures for support van/deceptive altitude maps leading to a difficult finish to the day/

Day 9 – The only way is up,Baby…..!

Day 2 in the Alps, another 6800ft of climbing with some absolutely stunning views and another day of scorching sunshine. Best breakfast of the trip was enjoyed by the team with some slight varations on offer other than the usual French Bread/Croissants and pastries and a fresh start to the day weather wise. The first 18miles was relatively flat with some stunning ground level views of Lake Serra-Poncon, which later turned into mountain views of the same lake following some serious hill climbing. A lunch stop at an Alps Cafe gave the Team an opportunity to enjoy a break and some sunshine before they carried on. The hardest climb of the trip was around the corner unknown to all, and some locals attending a beer festival clapped us as we started, little did we know that a 1200ft climb with some serious gradients layed ahead, otherwise we may well have joined them for some beers instead. The reward at the top was some unrivalled views that will give the team some memories that thy will never forget. The next 24miles into Digne-Les-Baines was a descent of high speeds/gorgeous views and a well earned rest which made all of the climbing seem worth while. The remainder of the afternoon was spent at an outdoor lake where the team cooled down in the ice cool water, and relaxed ahead of the super nutritious McDonalds evening Meal.

The Days highs and lows:

Highs: Stunning mountain views/24mile Descent/The relaxation at the lake/Robbo doing a bomb to the amusement of the locals

Lows: Torturous Climbs

Day 8 – Why does it always rain on me?

Another day, another start that involved starting in a Thunderstorm. The team were so wet and concerned about the weather they had to make an unplanned stop into The Golden Arches where a lovely breakfast accidentally fell into their stomachs, every cloud! Following a slow start out of Grenoble the team headed off towards the Alps, to come across the hardest and steepest start to a climb that caused some serious concern to the team, in the fact that they feared for how hard the day might be. After a fast hard start the climbs got a bit more forgiving, although long and consistent they were certainly made more bearable by the stunning scenery.Its amazing how you feel when going through the emotions of climbing in the mountains, as was proved today by one of the riders who shall remain anonymous due to the fact that he is George’s elder cousin, the strain it puts you under can sometimes make you abuse French locals for no real apparent reason.(I’m sorry monsieur I’m sure you are a lovely guy). The rest of the day was spent taking in the scenery in the 30 degree sunshine and smashing out the hills. A nice early finish in Gap followed by a burger and chips and an early night was was a great finish to a fantastic day in the Alps.

Today’s highs and lows are as follows:

Highs: Sprigge’s battle with the Grenoble Tramlines/unbelievable scenery and memories made by the team and photos taken/George breaking the Speed limit on a regular basis/George getting debagged in public/Fast downhills/Codeine/Nick having to have a sachet of Ketchup in the restaurant to prevent himself from fainting

Lows: Sprigge nearly saying goodbye off the side of the mountain/headwinds/George’s blowouts (Tyres and wind)/Nick giving himself a shiner with the camping stove

Day 7 – Short day in Prep for the Big Boys Hills

Another extremely slow start to the day caused by the culmination of a long day previously and Thunder/Lightening and Torrential Rain. The Team eventaully set off at 10am after the Storm had passed only to get 5mins up the road to see the worst rain of the trip, likened to the sort of weather that caused Noah to build his Ark. The day was made up of 2350 feet of climbing and 59 miles, so once the hard graft was put in and a midway coffee and snacks were enjoyed the team resumed and enjoyed some of the Downhills that will be coming in the coming days in the Alps. A nice early finish gave the Team an opportunity to do some much needed bike cleaning and maintenance, followed by some washing and a beer to celebrate reaching the bottom of the Alps. The fun really starts now and for anyone that thinks we are nearly there, the next 2 days are going to be absolute hell on earth. The thing the team are keen for people to know is the fact that we are lucky, we are all fit and well and doing this challenge for the benefit of people that are less fortunate than us, so if we have to go through the pain barrier and do whatever it takes to allow us to finish what we started. This is when we really need you to get behind us, and show us your support as this is going to be the toughest part of the trip. Keep the faith, as we are and we are not going to let you down!

The highs and lows of the day are as follows:

Highs: Reaching Grenoble at the foot of the Alps/A nice short day/No mechaicals/Our own beds

Lows: Biblical Rain/Aches and pains and sore knees/Drying off kit to be soaked again 5mins later/check in at the hotel taking so long

Day 6 – The Sun comes out

Finally for the first time on this trip we get to see some sunshine and everybody starts the day with a spring in their step. A tough day ahead with another 112miles to cycle, into more savage headwinds. The gaffer has appealed his ban for cycling without due care and attention which the appeal panel uphold and give him a lesser charge of causing an accident by obstruction. This means he is free to ride and joins the team for 30 miles. The heat and headwinds take their toll on the team but another bit of grit sees them complete the day and arrive into Cremieu after a brief view of the Alps towards the last part of the ride. The team have now ridden over 660 miles and the strain is starting to show as the team are starting to struggle with the aches and pains associated with such a challenge. Although day 7 is a short day of 59miles, there is the small matter of 2300ft of climbing to deal with so time to dig in now.

Daily highs and lows:

Highs: Some much needed sunshine/First view of the Alps/First proper coffee stops/nice scenery

Lows: Wind Wind Wind/Sunburn/wear and tear on riders

Day 5 – The Gaffer needs some L-Plates!!!!!

The day started in Chaumont with us reluctantly checking out of our lovely hotel in the rain, minus a Team Member, with a 107 mile ride ahead of us, even though it was only supposed to be 102miles. The Team were not ready for what layed ahead, as it was a day of cycling on gravel canal paths and into serious Headwinds for the first time, and as you can imagine it was a very long day. At our lunch stop at the 80 miles mark the gaffer decided that he would like to have a go at riding a road bike with SPD Pedals for the first time, so stepped onto the recently departed Lewis’ bike. With the Team giving him some pointers and the reminder to unclip his feet everyone looked on like proud parents as he wobbled off into the distance to complete the last 22miles with the remaining riders. Upon arrival at 102miles and the planned GPS location things started to go a bit wrong. 2 Crashes later and causing another crash to a Team Member the Gaffer decided that maybe these road bikes were not for him, and the team decided that the offences deserved a straight red and a one match ban, and road awareness course and the use of L-Plates required for any further use of the said bike. Finally 5 more miles were completed and the team arrived at their hotel to enjoy 30mins in the hotel pool and a nice French meal at a local restaurant, before another early night.

The Days highs and lows were as follows:

Highs – Arriving at the hotel/The Hotel Pool (Albeit freezing)

Lows – Gravel Canal paths for approx 40 miles/Headwinds/The Gaffers crashes/Additional miles