Day three: Saturday, June 26
It’s official. France is a big place and in June it’s hot. Today reached 34 degrees. Despite the heat and the fact that we had 124km to do before the lunch stop, it really was incredible. All of our group was by now well into the way the ride worked with people were given free rein to ride off the front up the hills with those behind working together to get back in touch when the pace softened again. Whilst the rest of the time we rolled along as a tidy bunch.
Post-lunch saw a different format to the other days as all five groups rode the final 44km together for the first time and with something like 30 motorcycle marshals doing a great job of stopping all the traffic for the 1/4-mile long train it really was an incredible experience, rolling through the Parisian suburbs on a Saturday afternoon takes some beating. Then rolling around the Place de la Porte Maillot and looking down the cobbled Ave de la Grande-Armee to the Arch de Triumph at the end of the tree lined road just blows you away. I simply can’t think of a better way to end a sportive than with such an iconic finish, it was perfect.
Since my last blog, the celeb count has been done rather nicely, as well may it, I can hear you muttering. Whilst walking through reception last night I heard someone trying to borrow a UK-to-Europe plug adaptor from reception, without thinking I offered to lend one, when said person turned to accept I was shocked to see it was the former England rugby captain, Mr Will Carling. Despite this set back and as a man of my word I collected said adaptor and lent it to him, with the understanding he’d pass it his Ride Captain, Rebecca Charlton, who could bring it into work on Monday for me. So far it’s not arrived, it wasn’t passed to Rebecca in the morning so if you’re reading this Will – you owe me a plug adaptor, you’ll know it because it has Babylis written on it and fits Mrs Hawkins’ hairdryer.
Joining us group one riders on the third day was Magnus Backstedt and Nigel Mansell’s two sons Leo and Greg. Magnus was in fine form and gave us all a small glimpse into how to ride hard, from experience I can now say he’s not a man you want to go through and off with! Turns out he’s done less than 300km this year prior to starting the ride which makes it all the more impressive. Getting the chance to ride with these guys kind of underlines what the L2P is all about, it’s simply a great environment to challenge yourself on the bike with a bunch of like-minded people, some of which happen to be household names.
The London to Paris certainly gets my vote.