Day 13 - I have ridden the Long Way Home

It’s inevitable that at the end of a ride like this that I would have mixed emotions. I am happy to have finished, there’s definitely a sense of accomplishment, a sense of gratitude for all the support I have had along the way and some disappointment that it’s all over. I was thinking about all of this in the last few kilometres today. As we rolled up to Dough & Brew in Warwick for a celebratory beer we met four other Lanterne Rouge members that provided a brilliant juxtaposition to my day and a proper sense of perspective. My friend Richard was there with his wife Jane on his first walk out since getting out of hospital after a fall on a club ride. He hit his head hard in the fall and has spent three weeks in hospital. It was brilliant to see him taking steps on the long road to recovery. Beside them were Monkey (Mike) and Jim who had just been on a 25km ride and were now drinking a couple of pints in the sun.

From the Millennium Bridge to Castle bridge

And there you have it. A sense of what is really important in life alongside a reminder that riding your bike should be about having fun with your mates. I’ve been on a two week holiday enjoying myself. I haven't been taking on some herculean challenge. I've said it before, pretty much any reasonably fit club rider could do this. I have been brilliantly supported by family, old friends and new ones who had subscribed to my YouTube channel. How bloody fortunate am I?! Briefly, a word or two about todays ride. Following a bit of misdirection that I can only blame myself for rather than Komoot, I met up with Tony, a subscriber to my YouTube channel (that still sounds weird to write). Tony is a relatively recent convert to cycling and has made brilliant progress, losing tons of weight in the progress.  He was aiming to go with me me all the way to Stratford to complete his first 100km rode. It’s a good job he’s lost so much weight because the way out of Stroud this morning started with a 2.5km climb at 7% gradient. It’s fair to say I was not a fan of this. The next three hours were a series of ups and downs of increasingly hard gradients, including a long section of a hike-a-bike.

I think we were both flagging when Paul, another Lanterne suddenly appeared on the road. He helped lift the pace and my spirits and ended up riding 130km in support of my efforts. When we got close to Broadway I took the decision to cut out the long climb up to the tower and told Tony I would blame him for it in my blog. So here you are Tony, a confession that I needed an excuse to reduce my climbing for the day. We stopped in Broadway for lunch and after that sat on Paul’s wheel as he dragged us back to Warwick. This was easier for me, as every pedal stroke brought me closer to home but took Tony further into the unknown. He got a second wind but even that couldn’t make the final climbs easier. We parted company at Loxley and I was delighted to see him post his ride at just over 100km at his end point in Stratford. How nice tip have been part of someone else’s first big A to B effort. Just as we parted company with Tony, my younger son Michael appeared to ride the final  20km home with me. This meant I have ridden with three of my four children on this trip and I can’t blame the forth for not trying as she is pregnant. She appeared at the finish with a bag of jelly babies though to complete the set of support from my family.

I am too tired to post all the final numbers and stats so I will do it tomorrow. After I have been for a ride with Rachel.

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