Supping a cold beer on a sunny Tuesday afternoon in St Emilion…it’s remarkable how the pain and effort of a near 700km bike ride over five days melts away.
It comes right back the next morning though, I can tell you.
Regular viewers will know that for the past few months I’ve been organising a charity bike ride between London and St. Emilion. Well, last Friday was the day of reckoning as the ten riders gathered at Hampton Court Palace along with our trusty support vehicle driver Nuts (not his real name…).
To cut a long story short, we all made it to the finish. We had one crash – spectacular but no serious injury – two punctures, a little bit of rain, plenty of sunshine, a lot of laughs and some extremely sore limbs. We’re all very aware of where our perineums are and have boosted sales of Sudacream and Haribo to new highs (Haribo soon to be repositioned as the elite athelete’s energy boost of choice). British drivers are as dangerously impatient with cyclists as French ones are respectful. A fresh baguette filled with butter, cheese, ham and Dijon mustard is the world’s best lunch, without question. Vittel is the water of champions (but Chateau d’Yquem ’95 is otherworldly). There are some extraordinarily good and generous people around. There’s a deeply meditative quality to the sound of ten well-prepared road bikes whirring along an otherwise silent French country road in the sunshine.
I can’t wait until I get the chance to do it again. And best of all, in addition to having an amazing trip, we raised somewhere in the region of £10,000 for charity.
Can’t be bad.