Thank you to everyone who has followed Martin and my progress through this blog. It has been wonderful to have your support and interest and your comments have spurred us on. I will just finish with a few thoughts about the experience before I’m back into farming and everyday life again.
What are some of the things I will I always remember?
My increased awe and admiration for the professional cyclists who RACED over this incredibly challenging course, (and who will probably be off to take part in other races next week..).
The yellow arrow men and their brilliant work signing all the routes. They drove past us on the way to Paris and gave us a wave!
The stunning Alpine scenery, and the ‘How the hell did we get up here?’ feeling at the top of some of the mountains.
The support we had from the Tour spectators – the numerous shouts of ‘Courage’ and ‘Allez’ which were invaluable in helping us to keep going up the climbs.
The banter and hilarity from our back-up team – them making us laugh kept us going on many days.
The brilliant and unique Tour de France atmosphere.
The mad Tour ‘Caravan’ – have never had so many random product samples thrown at me from speeding cars before
Crazy French motorists, (and even crazier french cyclists who descended the mountain stages at speeds I wouldn’t dream of attempting).
More campervans to the square mile than I have ever seen before.
Wonderful french meals, (on those occasions when we made it to the hotel and the restaurant was still open..).
And most of all the incredible support we received – Ali, Andy, Rachel, Matt, Alastair, Mark and Georgie in the back-up team, Mr and Mrs Vet on the health and nutrition advice, my physio, Tony Farmer, for sorting out my knee and telling me how to keep it working all through the trip, the warmth and generosity of our hosts on the way – Dave and Jenny in Bradford, Gareth and Jacob in Cambridge, and Katharine and Daniel in Paris – the workers back at Liberty Farm for holding the fort and doing my work for me while I was away, (thank you especially to Marianne, who did the milking for 26 straight days without a break). A big thank you to Martin – for being as crazy as me in agreeing to attempt the Tour challenge and for the loan of his brilliant, high-spec bike when mine started to fall to pieces. Thank you to everyone who has sponsored us in aid of the RSPB and Bridewell Therapeutic Gardens. And finally – thank you Ali for everything you have done to support me to achieve my life-time ambition of riding the entire Tour de France route. They said it was a crazy plan and it couldn’t be done by two blokes in their 50s but WE DID IT!