The Go Trek – Week Eight

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Finishing last week after three 100mile days (an ElliptiGo hat trick!) meant that I welcomed a few days in Nice.  Although I had miles to cover, the time there meant that I had a couple of days of almost complete rest.

The cote d’azur is as glorious as it’s name suggests.

Gorgeous blue water - Nice, France.
Gorgeous blue water – Nice, France.

Jean-louis, inventor of the famous O Symetric ring, that Bradley Wiggins won the last tour de France with, is also the ElliptiGo distributor in the Cote d’azur.  Last Friday night was the grand opening of Jean-louis ElliptiGo showroom.  It was a great night and we met some very impressive athletes – French runner Marc Raquil and Belgium Ironman champion Frederic Vanlierde!

Dave and I with Marc Raquil & Frederic Vanlierde
Dave and I with Marc Raquil & Frederic Vanlierde

Frederic was in Nice for the Ironman that would be happening that weekend.  I was privileged to be invited to be the pacer for the leader of the marathon stage (the final part of the Ironman after the swim and run) on my ElliptiGo.  Frederic was favourite to win and we got the chance to chat about what he would need me to do if indeed he came through as the leader – my task was to clear the path in front and also act as a pacer for him.

Discussing tactics with Frederic Vanlierde
Discussing tactics with Frederic Vanlierde

I didn’t quite realise just what a big deal the Nice Ironman was and I was delighted to be a part of such an impressive event and help lead Fred all the way to his victory!

On the ElliptiGo with Frederic Vanlierde leading the marathon stage of the Nice Ironman - shortly before he won!
On the ElliptiGo with Frederic Vanlierde leading the marathon stage of the Nice Ironman – shortly before he won!

Bobby Julich (tour de france 05/06) was pacing the Woman leader – it was very cool getting to meet him too!

With Bobby Julich
With Bobby Julich

While I was in Nice I took the opportunity to enjoy the coastline and headed out early one morning to Italy, via Monaco!

Nipped over the boarder to Italy!
Nipped over the boarder to Italy!

I had said goodbye to Dave at the opening of the new ElliptiGo showroom, that was our final GoTrek event together before he headed back to the UK.  His departure didn’t really hit me until I left Nice though and set out before sunrise to continue to St Tropez.  It was an amazing morning but I was on my own and that felt very strange.

Being on my own didn’t last long!  After 20miles I was in Cannes and met with some fellow ElliptiGo’ers who would be joining me for the days ride.  It was great to be Go’ing in a group and the coastline was stunning.

We arrived at the Pan Dei Palais in St Tropez where we were greeted with a delicious lunch (thanks to Eric and Melanie for arranging).  I was also invited to stay the night at the hotel which was a real treat!

I was glad of the comfort that night because I had a very early start the next day, 4.45am… and I was on a mission!  I had friends who were in Avignon for the night as they travelled South on their holiday and I wanted to see them.  Looking at the map it didn’t look too far away (just a few centimetres!) however it was 129miles away.

It was a HUGE day but I did it… by 7.30pm that evening I was with Pippa and Nick in the Old Town of Avignon at ‘The Popes New Castle’!  We had a lovely evening together.  I was so happy to see them.

The following morning I departed Avignon after randomly bumping into some friends from the UK!  Incredible coincidence that they spotted the ElliptiGo as they drove past!

Randomly bumping into Ian and his wife!
Randomly bumping into Ian and his wife!

I set off into some serious headwind.  I’ve since learned it’s the famous mistral wind – it was horrendous.  I moved slowly… all day.  Freewheeling downhill which usually yields 20+mph only gave me 5mph.  Mentally it was one of the toughest days of the trip, but by the end of the day I’d still covered over 70miles and so I was tired but pleased with the distance covered considering the conditions.

I found a great place to camp just off the road, I was completely hidden in long grass and next to a very grand house.  I knocked to see if anyone was in, but there was no reply.  I took advantage of the outdoor sink at the house and had a quick bath before bed!  Camping alone makes me a little nervous but I was so hidden I felt really safe and I was so tired I was asleep within minutes!

My motivation to get up and ride the remaining 80miles to Lyon was big – my sister would be there to meet me and I had two rest days ahead!  The wind wasn’t as bad but more importantly and more surprisingly, although tired, my body was still ready to Go.  It has been an almighty push this week.  A 74 mile day to start, followed by a record 129 mile day, straight into a tough long day of 71miles into a strong headwind and I had an 80mile day infront of me!  Not forgetting this was after two months of pretty much non stop ElliptiGo’ing.

Even writing this myself I find it hard to believe – it’s 100% testiment to what a wonderful machine the ElliptiGo is.  Naturally I’m tired but my body is in great condition.  I’m simply getting fitter and stronger and I’m not hurting anywhere.  I have never experienced this with any other kind of endurance exercise.

Last night I met my sister, Jo – It’s been a long week, saying goodbye to Dave at the start of it was not nice, but finishing it with Jo was great.

I’ve met some wonderful people and had so much support since going solo that I don’t feel solo at all.  Thank you everyone!

My sister, Jo!
My sister, Jo!

Just this past week we’ve received even more generous donations to Coppafeel – thank you all.  Total raised is over £2000 now and I’d dearly like to reach the £3000 target.  Next week I’m going to dig deep and am aiming to reach the 3000mile goal by Friday!

Please donate by clicking here!