Setting off in already blistering sunshine, our last day proved one of the hottest.
Perhaps a little blasé about having ‘only’ 834m of climb to do, by the time I was 15km into the ride, already on the wrong road, still leaning heavily on my right hand side in a very lop sided fashion with almost no energy, I called our support team and took a lift to our next meeting point.
Glad to have done this, I refuelled, rested, rehydrated and set off with the others again, determined to finish this overwhelming challenge under my own steam. With regular stops and cheery chats with Claire, we eventually wound our way down the remaining miles to the coast in Nice.
What an incredible feeling to finally reach the coast! As is the tradition, we dipped our rear wheels in the sea, took the obligatory photos and then jumped into the beautiful waters of the Mediterranean Sea to cool ourselves down.
A quick ride to a bar near to our hotel, we waited for the larger group to arrive. Despite doing the same challenge but in an incredible six days, they soon started to arrive. It proved to be an incredibly emotional experience. Exhausted, proud, thankful to be finished, we cheered each of the remaining cyclists in. Meeting the three other people with Parkinson’s was incredibly emotional for me. Knowing some of the specific struggles we had shared, the balance problems, fatigue, sleepless nights despite being exhausted, difficulty positioning ourselves symmetrically on our bikes, difficulty setting off at times, the challenge of trying to optimise our medication with so many additional variables and an unspoken understanding of the daily trials and tribulations of living with a progressive, degenerative neurological condition, We shared a few tears (and a few more throughout the evening) as well a deep respect for each other, pride and gratitude that we were able to tackle this challenge and help to raise awareness and much needed funds for the fabulous charity that is Cure Parkinson’s.
A special evening followed where we all shared stories of our respective adventures, shared a deep respect for what we had each achieved and shared a few more tears as emotions ran high.
I am so incredibly grateful to everyone who supported me in so many ways to do this challenge and for the hundreds of messages of support throughout. I couldn’t have done it without you all.
Time to rest, recover and reflect over the next couple of days.