Cycling across Europe for Sands UK – day 10

Day 10: Challenge complete!!!

I can barely believe it, it all feels very surreal. I had the ride of the challenge today, probably because I knew it was the last day. My legs just flew round as if they didn’t have 700 odd miles in them.

I knew I had to get away early this morning and so subconsciously I must have programmed myself to wake up uber early. Awake at 0545, final check on the route (today was not a day to get lost!) and I was away by 0700. Not much options for breakfast so I ate a punnet of raspberries and had a bit of OJ. At that time of the morning the A40 was quiet and so I made good time.

The route took me off into the Oxfordshire countryside, and with the sun shining I was really enjoying myself. Being a Sunday it wasn’t long before I was surrounded by other cyclist out for their weekend ride. It was fun to chat to them and even more satisfying to keep up with them, especially once I told them my story. Had can people on gorgeous road bikes be so slow up hills šŸ˜œ? (Smiling smugly to myself!)

Before I knew it I was in Cheltenham and the sign posts started to show very familiar names. It just spurred me on to cycle faster.

Entering Herefordshire was such a highlight. I’ve driven past that sign many times in my life, so I knew exactly where it was. I’m sure all the car drivers thought I was bonkers taking a picture of it and ‘having a moment’. I didn’t care. I’d cycled a long way to see it.

With 14 miles to go it looked like I was going to be the first to my own tea party. I thought about delaying but I just wanted to finish. The penultimate hill into Bartestree was a killer, I don’t think I’d ever realised how steep it was. As this is not Switzerland, the shop at the top was open on a Sunday so I thought I’d pop in grab a drink and a celebratory twix. I was happily chatting away to the chap in the shop, telling him about the last 10 days, when I heard a scream coming from the doorway…my mum came running in!! What an amazing sight. Dad had been tracking me all day on Find Friends app so knew where I was. They had driven out to cheer me on the last few miles and take my Hereford picture-seriously, I have a fantastic family.

My finish line was my friend Claire’s house. Her mum, daughters and she had spent the weekend baking and putting on a true English garden party for me. The girls had made me banners and even a special cake. It was overwhelming to find some of my closest friends had made the drive from different parts of the country to be there to give me a hug, flowers, bottle of bubbly and a bag full of pampering treats.

Ive learnt a lot over the last 10 days. About myself, my family, my friends and total strangers. People have called me inspiring. I don’t think that’s true, but i do hope at least one person might take away from this that if you put your mind to it anything is possible. Whatever goal you have, dream you want to achieve, go do it. Don’t put it off. If you can do something to help a friend, a neighbour or even a stranger, do it. A wise man said recently, “why should I help that person? Because I can”

So this is the last post of this challenge. I’ll free your news feeds back up on more important stuff like Brexit, Gove, the Euros. I hope reading about my journey has given you a bit of light relief in this world of seriousness.

A massive thank you to everyone who has messaged, tweeted, liked, whatsapped me over this trip. Without you I don’t think I’d have made it-well not sane anyway šŸ˜ƒ. Especially thank you to all those that donated, whatever your contribution you have made a huge difference in a families life as they go through the worst times. Justgiving.com/pedalsgalore will still be active for a couple of months if you feel you’d like to add to the coffers.

Finally, on behalf of my friends I did this for, thank you. Xx

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