On October the 4th, I finally completed the mammoth cycle ride from Rome to Home... a mere 1,423 miles covered in 14-days, by 20-riders and a fantastic support team.
We flew to Rome and were re-acquainted with our bikes (my new best friend for the next 14-days!) and set out early on Saturday the 19th of September for our first day in the saddle. This was a gentle introduction of what was to come, covering 128-miles in temperatures topping 30°c.
Day 2 was a mere 92-miles taking us to the beautiful city of Pisa with a promotional photo next to the tower. Not easy seeking permission from the Italian police, but well worth the hassle!!
Day 3 was already threatened to be brutal... and it delivered! The Italian mountains were waiting for us, and they proved to be very, very tough. We set off early, on what seemed to be the hottest day in history (32°c), with a few long gradients, ramping up to 18% in places. The group of riders I was with, took a wrong turn at one point, which made our task even more difficult. After several long climbs (and descents) totalling over 9,000 feet, we arrived nearly 9-hours (riding time) later in Genoa. Another 120 miles clocked!
Day 4 was a complete contrast, in the "effort" required, and took us in to France through Monaco, with some stunning coastline through to Frejus where I was met by some family friends loaded with beer and crisps (heaven ? ).
The next few days took us north through France, clocking around 100-miles each leg, passing through such places as Chateauneuf du Pape, Lyon and Tours. Some tough headwinds made progress slower than we had hoped but the various overnight stops were hit, if not on time ... at least before it was too late!
Each day entailed various stops at coffee and cake shops (burning in the region of 5-7,000 calories a day has its benefits!), with the occasional cycling on parts of the Tour de France stages.
The end was in sight with Cherbourg being our final destination, though only 70-miles, it was not without a slight sting in the tail! The first 50-miles were covered with the team wearing fancy dress... some, or rather most, of the outfits were not the most practical for cycling! We then changed attire and rode in to the final stop in a huge peloton of 20, creating some traffic chaos, but by then we didn't care too much!
Certainly a challenging experience, all in aid of a very good cause - The Steve Bernard Foundation - and at the latest count, we have raised well in excess of our £20,000 target! If you were one of the many generous people who sponsored me on this trip, I give you my sincere thanks. Check out www.rome2home.co.uk for more information and there's still time to donate & help; thank you.
Some vital statistics:
Total Mileage: 1,423
Longest Day: 128 miles
Total Ride Time: 88 hours + 9 minutes
Total Height Climbed: 53,242 ft
Calories Burned: 78,602