The last 2 days of the mHealth Grand tour….
Sorry for the lateness of my last 2 blogs. The last few days have been a wave of tiredness and catching up on sleep. Here is a wee update of the final 2 days of the mHealth Grand Tour 2013, Brussels to Barcelona….
DAY 12, 17th Sept – Ax-les-Thermes to Berga
Well in the evening briefing their where a few worried faces about day 12. The riders only had 182km to ride with 3974 meters of climb. This was a very daunting day and was going to be a very long affair. My aim was to ride as much of the day as I could and finish with a smile on my face with a feeling of accomplishing as much as my body could take. I was still very sore after my crash on the 1st day and with only 2 days left I was willing to push myself as hard as possible till the end as I could rest when I got home. I will lead you though the day with photos….
After the 1st Col the conditions flattened out a bit and for the 1st time on the tour I got to ride with Mary which was such fun. She is a beaming ray of sunshine and it was a pleasure and honour to ride with her.
One thing you really notice when riding high in the mountains is the change in the weather and on some climbs it seemed like the 4 seasons. This is impossible to dress for as when the cold hits you it makes you suffer and that is always at the top of the climb. Navigating down a 25km decent when your fingers are too cold to hold on to the brakes is never much fun….
After what seemed like a day with no ending in sight me and Kate entered the final stage of the day and celebrated with a well deserved ice cream before the final stretch
Day 13, unlucky for some but not for me – Berga to Barcelona
With only 148km to the finish line and quite all down hill but overall more than 2200m of descending with just under 2000m of ascending it was going to be an amazing day riding through rural Catalonia before coming into Barcelona and the finish.
I left early at around 7.30 with Joel, Anna and Kate and we made some amazing time to start with. Due to me being a bit over excited I did not really do a great job on working out my sugars for the morning ride and pretty soon I was riding quite high. With Joel having a few problems with his chain and with me having to stop for wee bath room breaks every 15min the girls pulled away from us. After a few tweaks with my insulin I managed to balance my sugars and was soon powering along. Even though today was a shorter day we had a very strict time table to work too. We had to be at the Tibidado at 3.30 for a team photo then at 4.00 we had to be at the closing party where the Mayor of Barcelona was giving a closing speech. This would mean I would only have a 10 min window for lunch as my pace was not quite as fast as some of the other riders.. Here is the day in photos but saying that, most are when I reached the finish line in Barcelona.
After reaching the top of the Tibidado which I am not ashamed of saying nearly killed me as it was a 9km, 550meters climb straight after lunch I was sad to hear I had missed the team finishing photo as due to my head injury my pace up the Col was slightly slower than the teams but reaching the top and the finishing line was the best feeling and with out the support of the riders, medical staff, back up team, family, friends and of course my girlfriend Kate I would never of made it.
Like I mentioned before, I have learnt a lot about myself, diabetes and cycling over the past 14 days and given the chance and may be a year or 2 break I would do it all over again. The tour was a mixture of highs and lows with the lows being run of the road on the 1st day to the highs of making some life long friends, helping the advance of diabetic medical research by being part of a world’s 1st diabetic study and getting to the end of my 1st challenge… A few big thank you to Adam and Julian and all their teams for making the tour run so effectively and making such a challenge fun, Doctor Dennis, Craig, James and Chris for helping to put me back together again after breaking myself so early on. Always providing motivation and giving me the opportunity to carry on, thank you guys. Simon and the rest of the riders for making it such a fun and interesting trip and for sharing all your knowledge on diabetes which will be invaluable when I start my next challenge. Also sorry about my snoring Simon, like I mentioned, its a illness with out a cure….To my relay drivers, Dad and Mum, for pushing me, making me laugh and smile and putting up with my banter and finaly to the riders who spend most days with me in the saddle, Richard, Suzan, Anna, Joel and kate. With out you guys I would not of made it as far and when I felt I could not go one you guys motivated me and made me dig deep. Climbing my 1st Col and doing my 1st bike grand tour was made possible by your attitudes. I can never convey my thanks enough but I hope to ride with you again soon. Next stop the Himalaya stage race, a 100 mile, 5 day stage race starting at the end of october. Time to start running and I cant wait to be running around India.
Also a big thank you to all my sponsors, Thirdtime, Bayer, Graham Watches, Shyman, Putney Chiropractic, Farinet Hotel Verbier, mySugr, Ollie’s Shop and Silretta. Also thank you to Team Blood Glucose for putting me in touch with such a great event and I must say, you guys put together such an impressive international team. My challenges are all in aid of raising funds for JDRF. JDRF is the leading charitable funder of type 1 diabetes research, funding the most ground breaking research around the world. JDRF work with academia, industry and governments to make sure that the research that they fund has the greatest possible impact on the lives of people with type 1 now and in the future. Not only is JDRF is committed to funding the most promising and innovative research that will lead us to the cure for type 1 diabetes. They also develop better treatments to improve the lives of people with type 1, and even prevent it from developing in the first place. If you would like to donate then please click on the Charity link in the menu above.