Tag Archives: Eiffel Tower

They made it to the Eiffel Tower!

Last week we introduced you to Gethin and Nikki who were courageously taking on our London to Paris 24 2013 challenge. Here are Gethin’s thoughts as they begin to recover from cycling 280 miles of tarmac.

Not really sure how to start this blog. Even four days after finishing London to Paris in 24 hours, my head is still a jumble of emotions but here goes…

Gethin and Nikki at the start
“Challenges that disabled people face, even after all the positive publicity from last year’s Paralympics, still shocked me”

Before the start at Blackheath, one of the Scope trustees, Rachael Wallach, gave a great speech about the work Scope is doing and what the £300k (and counting) we raised is going to be used for. Despite having been involved with Scope for a few years now, what she was saying about the challenges that disabled people face, even after all the positive publicity from last year’s Paralympics, still shocked me.

One particular thing Rachael said stayed in my head through the ride and will do for a long time to come: “when you’re struggling on the bike, think of the people who are struggling with disabilities every day of their lives”. That’s a very powerful motivator when you’re close to your limit on an event like this.

What’s London to Paris 24 really like?

I’ve tried lots of different ways to describe what it’s like to ride L2P24 then I saw Pete Mitchelmore had come up with this gem on the ride’s Facebook forum:

  • “L2P24 riders in Dinner suits! Wow, respect!”
  • “I think it’s getting hotter”
  • “How many traffic lights”
  • “This food is great!”
  • “Urggh this hill out of Folkstone is tough, oh look the photographer!”
  • “Where is the ferry, we’re getting cold!”
  • “Ferry docked”
  • “Wow it’s dark here”
  • “It’s even darker here!”
  • “I think I’m on a hill but can’t see it”
  • “Crazy French cycling supporters out at 2:00am!”
  • “aaah sunrise”
  • “More great food!”
  • “Getting hotter”
  • “How many hills?”
  • “These roundabouts all look the same”
  • “Didn’t we pass those wind turbines an hour ago?”
  • “Hot”
  • “OMG Champs Elysees insanity!”
  • “Finish – did it!”
  • “Need beer”
  • End 🙂

The adrenaline rush from taking your life into your own hands on the roundabout around the Arc Du Triomphe is something else. Spot a gap…Deep breath…Nail it as hard as you can…Pray…then hit the jarring cobbles of the Champs….

Fancy dress anyone?

l2p24 suits
The two nutters in Dinner Suits

When you do a ride like this you pray for good weather. For most of the year we’ve trained in the cold, wet and wind – so 35C temperatures came as a bit of a culture shock. A few people really suffered with dehydration but most people survived to the end, even the two nutters in Dinner Suits from the PwC team.

When you get out on the road it’s your fellow riders that make it special – and it was no surprise that the L2P24 “Class of 2013” were a cracking bunch. People you’ve never met before suddenly become your new best mates as you ride with them, having a chat, sharing the work whilst burning through the miles to Paris. If someone needs some help, roadside assistance, food or equipment from another rider it’s done without question. Another rider even chased me down for a mile on Stage 3 as he saw I’d missed a turning. I never saw him after that (think it was Charles – rider 175) – but thank you, that was well above and beyond the call of duty.

Enough fuel in the tank for another year?

Will I be back? Almost certainly. Having ridden relay twice now, I have unfinished business with riding the whole thing. Will it be next year? Almost certainly not 🙂

Finally, there are a lot of people we need to thank for helping us through this:

  • Our friends & family, who sponsor and support us through hard months of training.
  • Scope and Action Challenge for putting on an event that must be a logistical nightmare to organise, then show up on the day and are enthusiastic, smiling and encouraging for 36 hours. Nothing is too much trouble for them.
  • All of the support crews – medical, catering, logistics and mechanical. An unsung job, but always there in the background when you need them and vitally important.
  • Most of all, the riders. I touched on this above but the camaraderie on the road is very special.

I said in my previous blog that I wanted a picture with Nikki by the Eiffel Tower as it meant she would have made it to Paris. I’ve done this kind of thing before but this was her first endurance cycling event. I’m so proud of what she pushed herself through this year to make it to the finish line. Here is the photo to prove it:

Gethin and NikkiCould you cycle from London to Paris in 24 hours? 

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!