The Go Trek – Final Week

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I began the final week after a two day break with my sister and friends, which was wonderful, physically and mentally.  I refuelled, recharged and felt good and mostly I was thinking, “I can’t believe in just a few days I’ll be in Paris at the end of The Go Trek!”.

Monday was an easy day (or so I thought) I had just 20miles to ride to reach Craponne – haha it’s funny every time I say or write it!

It was very hot though and as I got Go’ing my legs soon felt empty and I became quite worried.  I still had over 300miles to go – I couldn’t get tired now.

There was a group of riders and a police escort waiting for me as I entered the town, it was lovely to see and be with more people – and a police escort is always fun!  Together we rode a few km’s into the centre where the Mayor was waiting with a crowd of locals.  He was such a nice guy, he did a very warm and amusing speech but also had taken time to read up about breast cancer and spoke about the work of Coppafeel.  There was a collection and over £80 was raised for the charity, thank you to all who donated.

That evening Leo, a fellow ElliptiGo’er who had joined the group ride, and his wife Gisele asked me to join them for dinner.  They also invited other friends and we had a lovely evening outside in their garden eating delicious food, which I was very grateful for, knowing I needed to fuel up for the next days push.  It’s evenings like this that I have treasured during the trip – meeting new people who are so generous and kind, sharing stories and enjoying their company.

Dinner party with new friends
Dinner party with new friends

I set off early the next day, it was already 25’c and I was nervous that having felt so tired doing just 20miles the day before I would really struggle.  I left Craponne grabbing this shot and smiled to myself – a great time was had by all in Craponne!!

Craponne!
Craponne!

To my surprise and sheer delight the lovely meal Leo and Gisele had made me the night before had done the trick, I felt like I had rocket fuel in my legs and was making the fastest pace I had made during the entire trek.

By 6pm that evening I had covered 91miles and stopped at a supermarket to grab a pint of fresh milk before it closed.  As the staff locked the doors behind me I was working out that I could have another 100mile day done within the hour.  The milk tasted so good!  I felt great and I set of down a hill and I was actually beaming as the wind rushed past my face and everything felt so good….

….Moments later there was a bang and I rapidly came to a halt!  My back tyre had burst.  To be fair to the tyre it had done almost 3000miles with a heavy trailer being towed behind it.  I stood still and looked around.  The last town was 20km away, the supermarket was closed and there was nothing around.  I pushed Deloris and Hank (the trailer!) back towards the supermarket and across the road about 150m away there was a shed type building surrounded by old cars.  The shed had a sign above it.

“SOS Mechanic Garage”.

The sign said SOS.  I headed over there.

There was a guy working underneath a car bonnet.  He didn’t speak English, so in my best French I tired to explain what had happened and that I needed help to locate a new tyre and fix the problem.  The guy looked at me and said “Nope” before walking off shaking his head.  I just stood there… before long he returned with another French guy, Frederic, who also shook his head.  Frederic took his phone out and began speaking French, very fast French, but I worked out he was talking to a bike shop.  Soon in the SOS van we were speeding back towards the last town I had past and we went to three bike shops – who Frederic had called ahead to stay open (it was now 7pm) and finally we found a tyre.  It was slightly big but with no other options Frederic nodded and said he’d try and make it fit!

Back at the garage it was just minutes and Deloris had a new tyre on, a tightened chain and adjusted brakes.  Just two hours after the blow out I was back in business!  I couldn’t quite believe my luck.

Fred asked where I would stay.  I said I’d look for somewhere to camp and he kindly said I could stay in the field by the garage.  Literally as he said it the heavens opened and  thunder cracked.  Frederic then said, “you can sleep in the garage, there is a shower, a kitchen and a sofa you can sleep on”.

Turns out Frederic’s son lived in the flat attached.  He was lovely and didn’t mind having an unexpected guest for the night.

I didn’t manage the 100miles but I’d had a remarkable day and I went to sleep with a smile on my face.

Frederic arrived in the morning at 7am with five pain au chocolates for me for breakfast!

Who’d have thought a tyre blowing out could result in so many good things?  In a way I’m glad it happened!  Thank goodness for Frederic – thank you for rescuing me!!

Frederic - my hero!
Frederic – my hero!

Two days and roughly 200miles until Paris were left.  There’s something about having the finish in sight that gives you an extra spark and although it rained in my face for most of the day I had fun – click here to see Punkt video I made mid morning!

And I also did 103 miles!  It was 8pm and I was tired when I hit the 100 mile mark.  A good friend back in the UK had transferred some money to my bank account when he heard I would be alone for the final part of the trek with a message that said, treat yourself to a hotel one night.  This was the night!  (Thank you AL!)  There was a Formula One hotel in sight and with a 31 euro price tag I was very happy to be there.

I was up early, today was the day I would hit the 3000mile mark!  I had 66miles to go and  just South of Paris I would reach the magic number.  I felt really good.  I was quite emotional too.  There had been times during the trek that I had doubted if I’d be able to do that mileage.  For me, the goal had always been 3000miles for £3000 for Coppafeel.  That had been my motivation and reason to keep GO’ing when things had got tough.

Reaching 3000 miles!
Reaching 3000 miles!

Here’s the moment I reached the distance – it was not on a special road or in a special place and I was on my own…. but the sun was shining and it was wonderful!

Reaching 3000miles!

As I came into Paris I saw the Eiffel tower in the distance – 68days ago it had seemed forever away and I was finally approaching!

The Eiffel Tower!
The Eiffel Tower!

The last leg of The Go Trek was a ride from Versailles in to Paris, with a group of people including french journalists, photographers and video crew.

I was happy to see everyone, I didn’t know most of them, but soon I would.

As we arranged the ElliptiGo’s for photographs in front of the spectacular palace in Versailles I started seeing things.. I saw some Go’s riding towards me with some familiar faces on them.. but it could’t be?!?!?!  IT WAS!!!

Back at the start of the trek we had been joined by several riders from the Milton Keynes ElliptiGo club for the London leg and now before my very eyes I was seeing them again.  Jules, Gerrad, Antony and Pauly were coming towards me!  Words really won’t do justice for how this moment felt.  It was so special that they came and would be the most fitting and perfect end to this incredible journey.  I was beyond delighted to be able to share the final miles of the Go Trek with them.  They had driven over to Paris the day before to be with me at the end and it meant so much.  Thank you all…  What you did was amazing and I loved it!  It really did make all the difference.

The Go Gang!  (Love these guys!)
The Go Gang! (Love these guys!)

The final few miles were just brilliant.  Together with a group of over 12 other ElliptiGo’ers we tore up the streets of Paris!  We rode around the arch de triumph (twice), down the Champs Elysees and finally reached the Eiffel Tower, where Chris Price and his family were waiting to say hello too!  We’d met Chris at Cyclopark in the UK.  His daughters had a gift for me – some knickers with Mickey Mouse on them!  Wonderful!

We enjoyed a picnic by the Eiffel Tower to celebrate – it was perfect.

D’Andrea was there in Paris for the final few days.  D is the International Sales Directer at ElliptiGo, she has worked tirelessly in the background before and during the trek with planning, preparation and support.  So often during a project there are people in a team who’s work and input is completely vital and key to things working yet they are the unsung heroes.  So to all of you behind the scenes – D’Andrea, everyone at ElliptiGo, Chris Diplock, our parents, friends, new friends, kit sponsors, supporters, donators and all those who played a part in The Go Trek, thank you… from the bottom of my heart… thank you.

The end!
The end!

A new world record – 3074miles completed and now over £3000 for Coppafeel raised!!

 

The story of how The Go Trek happened is simple, short and lovely!

Dave Cornthwaite saw an ElliptiGo in America, he came up with a plan to do a journey of over 1000miles on one, D’Andrea and the ElliptiGo team said Yes to supporting the project, I said Yes to joining in… 3000 miles were covered, a new world record was set and over £3000 has been raised for Coppafeel.  Together WE did it!

The End…

The Eiffel Tower - The end of The Go Trek!
The Eiffel Tower – The end of The Go Trek!