It is hard to believe that the BBBR 14 is already over for another year. And what an excellent ride it has been! Today our riders had the hottest day yet with cyclists tan lines appearing wherever you look and more than a few red faces.
The day started well with the first guided ride stop at Nery. It was here on 1st September 1914 that a British cavalry brigade was surprised by a superior German force, but somehow managed to turn it around.
After Nery the ride continued through idyllic French villages and cobbled stretches (putting our riders to the test after 4.5 days in the saddle) with a few long steady climbs disappearing off into the distance. Everyone made a fantastic effort to make progress to Paris and most had reached lunch by 10.30am!
This was our last food stop with Extreme Hospitality – and after 5 days of delicious pasta dishes, salads and cakes I think everyone will be disappointed to go back to cooking for themselves! With a bit of time to spare our riders took some time to relax in the sun and reflect on the day.
We had a chat to Bob, who is on his first BBBR: “It has been amazing if I’m honest. The people I have met have been brilliant and riding alongside blokes like Clive and Josh on their handbikes just puts everything in perspective. Their drive to keep going and their courage is just inspiring.”
Another first time BBBR rider, Elspeth said, “This is honestly one of the best things I have done in my life. I really didn’t expect to be having this much fun.”
With everyone sporting similarly upbeat mindsets, the group set off for the final 20 miles and our riders were flying. Band of Brother Dean Bousfield, who had been at the pack of the pack in previous days, was flying up the hills today – must have been the sun and the prospect of a cold beer at the finish!
Getting though Paris was a pretty hairy experience as Parisian drivers appear to have thrown away the highway code and treat road signs, traffic lights, pedestrian crossings as optional. However, everyone made it through unscathed and then gathered together at Parc Monceau where they joined together to ride the last 4 miles around L’arc du Triomphe and down the Champs Elysee before finishing in the grand grounds of Les Invalides.
Riding into the impressive grounds of this hospital for wounded veterans there were a lot of tears as our riders realised they had done it – they had completed this epic journey and had made a difference to the lives of so many wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women.
So who’s signing up for the next one then???
Find out more about hero ride at www.heroride.org.uk