Could you cycle from London to Paris in 24 hours?

That’s exactly what our Team Scope athlete Gethin Pearson is aiming to do this weekend along with 230 fellow riders. He tells us more about why he’s taking on the challenge for a second time!

I wasn’t meant to be doing London to Paris in 24 hours this year. I did the first in 2010 as a newbie road cyclist and it was such a fantastic event, I’ve wanted to do it again ever since.

I’d already committed to doing another big ride this year (RideUk24 – Newcastle to London in 24 hours) in August with some mates I’ve been riding with since my first L2P24. Then my wife Nikki came home and said that her company were going to put a team in – my raving about the event and the promise of a glass of champagne at the end (!) had obviously persuaded her to sign up. What the heck, I thought, I’ll do both…

Gethin Pearson
The picture’s from 2010. It’s one of my favourite pictures because I earned the right to have it taken – but I want another one this year with my wife in it. We’ll keep you posted….

Some good early season training in the cold and snow, coupled with a day on Scope’s stand promoting the event at the London Bike Show had really got my enthusiasm going again.

Then I was in a lot of pain

My knee started hurting pretty badly after a 70 mile sportive at Easter. I could still ride but at nowhere near my normal level and couldn’t get any long rides in, so I pulled out. To say I was gutted was an understatement.

Off to the physio to get the knee sorted. Six weeks later I’m feeling great and managed 110 miles in horrible wind and rain with a masochistic grin on my face. No knee pain afterwards – I was fit again and riding at close to my best thanks to the guys at Physio Solutions in Angel

Memories from 2010

I’ve got lots of memories from 2010. The rolling countryside of Kent leads on to the ferry at Dover. A couple of hundred cyclists ride onto the ferry getting looks of bewilderment from the Customs officers and your fellow ferry passengers.

Then it’s onto the beautiful smooth roads in the Pas de Calais region of France. By now the light has faded and if you’re lucky enough to be in a big group you can probably be seen from space with all those bike lights. Through towns at closing time on a Saturday night where the “refreshed” locals cheer you on as you speed through. Being alone in the early morning fog, hills that don’t seem to stop, tired and close to your limit but suddenly finding another rider and working with them for some company.

The sun breaks through and gives you a new lease of life. On to Paris. Play chicken with the cars on the mental Arc de Triomphe roundabout, down the famous cobbles of the Champs-Élysées and there’s the Eiffel Tower.

You’ve done it.  Exhausted but buzzing off the adrenaline.

I also can’t say enough good things about the event staff from Scope and Action Challenge (the organisers). I’m not sure they realise just how good it is to see a smiling, enthusiastic face when you’re struggling to get through at 2am. You really do just have to turn up and ride – everything else is taken care of for you. As a Project Manager I appreciate how much organisation must go in to make it run so smoothly – it’s hugely impressive.

Onto this year’s race

You can do L2P24 in two ways. Some nutters do the full 270 miles on their own or you can be part of a 2-person relay team – picking and choosing which of the 8 stages you ride – as long as one of you is riding at all times. I was meant to be one of these solo nutters but the knee injury means that’s beyond me at the moment.

Nikki was having problems finding a relay partner so when I realised I was fit again three weeks ago, I dropped the guys at Scope an e-mail to see if I could get back on the ride so I could ride with her. Sure enough someone had pulled out due to injury – their loss was my gain, so the “Pearson Peloton” team will be rolling out of Blackheath on Saturday at midday. We’re each aiming to ride 5 stages for a total of about 180 miles. I may try a 6th stage if I’m feeling brave 🙂

We’ll be out there putting ourselves through the pain barrier to raise money for Scope. If you can spare us a few quid then our sponsorship page. Better still, visit the website next week and sign up yourself for 2014…

Check back next week to hear how the weekend goes for Gethin and Nikki – and to see their photo from the Eiffel Tower!

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