Lyon to Marseille Cycle Challenge
I only mentioned to a few people about doing this challenge as I was unsure whether or not, I could actually complete it. Having never really liked the idea of cycling… the thought of going down the hill really fast on a road bike with thin tires was terrifying. In 2019, I vaguely thought of taking up cycling so that James and I could do something together. Around that time, he asked if I’d like to join him on the next MacMillan trip in Italy. Me being me, I said “ok” without much thought and maybe we could do it on a tandem(!). Two short rides later on a tandem, I decided to be on my own bike! With a new road bike and some lycra, I learned how to use cleats, and at the start of 2020 took my first ride with the local cycling club. With Covid and lockdown, I didn’t do much riding until the start of this year! To prepare for this ride, I did a couple of 100 km rides, some repeat climbs of Bouley Bay (hill) 10 times, and quite a few short rides here and there. I thought I might just wing it, but as a novice, I felt very badly prepared for these 4 days of cycling more than 500 km. And then, with four weeks to go, the destination switched from Italy to France with a huge mountain thrown in!
I arrived in France very nervous about what I was going to face. And it was HARD! Every day while out pedalling, with my shoulder on fire, aching back and shooting knee pains, I didn’t think I would be able to get back on my bike the next day. However, as I discovered, the body truly is a miracle, and somehow managed to heal itself enough overnight for me to set off again the next day. I managed to do the 145 km on the first day, 137 km on second day and … OMG, THE DAY of climbing Mont Ventoux, the Beast of Provence… it was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life! There are some stats on Google (height, gradients, etc.) which I won’t bore you with, but 148 km, 8 hours 39 minutes later, from door to door, I finished the day in the dark at 7:30pm. I didn’t train nearly enough for this! Although some of our group did it in much less time, most thought the same; it was the hardest thing they had ever done and once is enough – never again! Somehow, I managed to pedal my tired legs over the final 107 km of the last day.
I am quite chuffed to have had the opportunity to climb Mont Ventoux which has featured regularly in the Tour de France. Happy to say, I completed the course on all 4 days and much to my surprise, I have already thought of signing up for the next challenge, Bologne to Rome, in 2 years time!
All I can say is if I could do it, anybody can too. I remember saying to the support group when I finished the ride (ready to throw myself off the bike) was “you won’t know what you are made of until you do things like this”.
About a month ago, my Mum was diagnosed with cancer. I believe in karma and hope that my efforts on this campaign will somehow help my Mum in California.
Thanks for reading my story.
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|Fiona Waite||£ 25.00|
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