By James S
At 12.30pm French time, after a wet and cold 65km ride that typified the preceding 700km distance and 13.5km ascent of the week, the C2C Team rolled onto the promenade at Argelès sur Mer to the sweet sight of the Mediterranean sand and sea.
The final kilometres of the week were a bitter-sweet experience. On the one hand the impending elation of reaching the culmination of almost a year’s preparation and training and the sense that our bodies would finally feel some relief from the relentless battering that nature has thrown at us – in what Mountain High described as the most challenging conditions that they’ve ever had to deal with on a coast-to-coast. On the other, the feeling that the challenge and collective experience this team has shared this week was drawing to a close.
However, what was most obvious to me in those closing stages was the sense of team. The subtle words of support continued to the end, as did the never-ending sense of humour despite the cold and tired muscles. Several of the group were nursing worsening injuries, but a fellow rider’s helping hand, a bad joke or their own sheer determination to complete our shared goal together always conquered the fatigue and pain. The resolve and determination of the team only grew stronger through the week as our bodies grew weaker.
There’s also somehow a sense of symmetry in that the very subject for which we set out to raise awareness and funds – inspiring the love of nature in young people through the work of the Cameron Bespolka Trust – required that the team embrace anything and everything that nature had to offer us this week. From the punishing torrential rain to the warmth of Wednesday’s sun. The sound of the goat and cow bells as we hummed through the green farmlands of the Pyrenees, to the circling vultures, the butterflies and lizards captured in this blog. The docile horses that stood resolute on the rainy decents and the beautiful features of the gorges and mountains that towered over us as we navigated our seventeen cols.
The tired and weary team are now en-route to Toulouse in what could only be described as a ‘dormant’ bus for a well-deserved dinner before flying home to our families in the morning.
Finally, huge thanks to you all from the C2C riders for your many kind words of support and encouragement on WhatsApp, Strava and the blog’s comments this week. The combination of these and the ongoing donations kept us motivated throughout the week and you should all feel part of the sense of achievement shared by the team.