It’s Not How You Start, Its How You Finish


Justgiving

Well it’s a been a couple of days since I finished the ride into Paris and I’m slowly being integrated back into a normal way of life: I’ve unpacked, washed all my clothes and have had the weekly trip to Tesco.

I eventually got home around 11pm on Friday, so there was no curry. After unloading the van, I got a chance to sit down with a cup of tea and piece of toast and watched the Jules Holland show. As you’ll probably have gathered from my blogs, I do like my music and spookily enough the first track which I heard was My Silver Lining by First Aid Kit. ITV produced a great montage of clips during this years Tour coverage and this was the backing tune, I’ve kept in on the BT vision box and have probably watched it over 100 times in the past 3 months – it’s been a real inspiration. There has been another tune which I always use for my sporting activities and for me it is always a driver and that’s: Ali in the Jungle by The Hours – just listen, absorb the lyrics and you’ll know why!

I feel very proud of myself that I didn’t take the easy road and that I handled adversity well during the challenge. It’s enforced within myself that not only did I have the physical attributes to make the challenge a success but more importantly mentally I didn’t give up and kept ploughing on. I can’t avoid the fact that I’ve been fortunate to have the weather on my side and I’ve only had one puncture on the way around and no mechanical incidents.

Although I’d thoroughly maintained and upgraded kit on my bikes prior to departure, I’d designed and planned every day in such detail and had plans ready to implement in the event of bad weather or mechanical that it wouldn’t have made a difference to the end outcome. I’m not one to believe in luck, I think you just make your own luck by being well prepared and using your judgement – in the event of the puncture I chose to ride on a particular piece of road under construction where I could have ridden on the same side as the workmen were based – so in my view that was just a poor decision.

The Bike at the Eiffel Tower Holding the Latest in Energy Drinks

The Bike at the Eiffel Tower Holding the Latest in Energy Drinks

Anyhow, I’m not one to blow my own trumpet (no innuendo meant), I’ve assimilated various stats from the challenge, some are quite surprising:

  • Total Distance Covered: 3,426.48 km
  • Total Moving Time: 135 hours 46 minutes
  • Average Moving Speed: 25.24 kmph
  • Total Ascent: 46,672 metres
  • Total Calories: 131,159
  • Number of Pedal Revolutions 606,931

Here’s the food intake on the bike which doesn’t include energy drinks:

  • 9 malt loafs
  • 105 Jaffa cakes
  • 4 boxes of Cypriot Delight
  • 8 big bags of Harribo
  • 46 bananas
  • 1.5 * 500g bags of peanuts
  • 2 * 150 gram bags of dried berries
  • 40 cereal bars
  • 30 energy gels

I’d also like to add a few words about France, I really enjoyed my stay and met some really friendly and helpful people – it is odd that we’re only 30 odd miles apart yet we have such different cultures. Language is the biggest barrier and where possible I tried to converse – but it’s not easy when you don’t have a full vocabulary and the words are coming out faster than a greyhound from the traps.

Without being extravagant ,the food has been really good and I miss my continental breakfast, so it’s back to porridge again. The landscape has also been breath taking and I’m missing the quiet agricultural roads and high mountain passes already.

Reaching Peyresourde Summit (Stage 17)

Reaching Peyresourde Summit (Stage 17)

The French are in general far more accommodating to cyclists and the signs are all over the mountains please give cyclist 1.5 metres of space when overtaking – if only we could have the same here in the UK, it would make it safer. Many of the trunk departmental roads (equivalent to an A- B road) also have a designated cycle lane. Although not always that well maintained and often containing all the stones, gutters, drain covers etc. it is reassuring for a cyclist when a lorry is zooming up at 60 MPH behind you.

Oh well I suppose nothing changes, I’m off to mow the lawn in a minute and oh damn, I’m back in the office tomorrow as well – thanks for letting me have all the time off!

And finally, but most importantly, if you’ve not yet done so and would like to donate some money to Julia’s House, the link can be found at the top of the blog.

Cheers

Justin

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