13 Sep 2013

Cycling: The Evaluation. Part 2

Ok so I gave you a brief overview about how the cycling went in my last post but I wanted to get a chance to reflect a bit further on various aspects of the trip.

HIGHLIGHTS:
  • The Dutch couple who helped me when I fell off my bike - despite me not having a clue what they were saying they were so kind to me and really did clean me up and check I was ok. This actually made my day! Like they were total strangers and could have just cycled past but they stopped wiped up my leg, dried the tears on my face and gave me a plaster. What blessings they were.
  • Finishing the 103 mile day (day 3). Not only was it a HUGE achievement (one I had serious doubts about whether I would actually be able to complete) but the genuine relief at thinking, "I will never have to ride a bike this far in one day ever again," was written all over my face. 
The team at the start of day 4 - Dover-London. Look how happy we all look! It didn't last long...
  • Getting into Belgian beer. Those of you who know me know I don't really like beer at all - much more of a cider fan. However, having a few drinks bought for me and deciding to embrace the continent I powered through the beer and it has grown on me! (not that much, but a little)
  • The total generosity of the people at Moonpig. I was completely blown away about firstly how many of them had taken time to come and experience pain with us. But also they looked after us so well, from accommodation, food and drink, to all the support while we were cycling...it was so well done.
  • This action shot.
Taken by an ex XLP young person
  • Making new friends - was so lovely getting to know the Moonpig (and extras) people. They are a lot of fun and seriously know their stuff when it comes to cycling which was a super blessing, especially when I got a puncture. But it was great to get to know why they individually were taking part in the ride and to make friends with them. We're going for reunion drinks in a couple of weeks - friends for life right there. 
  • Having 2 young people who have come up through XLP come with us and be part of the whole experience. Seeing how they dealt with challenges and persevered was pretty inspiring and it was great giving one of them their first experience of being abroad!
Some of us XLP guys with the van - ex-young person lying in front of it!
LOWLIGHTS:
  • Waking up on Tuesday morning not with everyone else. I always find that when I have been away and made friends with people and spent lots of time with them my extrovertedness loves it so much that when I come back I always end up feeling lonely. 
  • The hills. Especially coming over the North Downs on Monday on the way to London. It was the one time I considered getting in the van...thankfully it was a fleeting thought and I kept on going. 
  • The number of people who saw me semi-naked due to the bib-shorts. So bib-shorts are cycling shorts which have straps that go over your shoulders. Think shorts with braces or a swimming costume without the boob part. Well anyway, they are great to cycle in but rubbish when you need the loo as you practically have to get naked to pee. Because of this and the time I took to undress/dress it meant both members of the public and members of the team saw more of me than I would have liked!
  • My view to eating has changed. While we were away I was just forced to eat as much as I could ALL THE TIME. If I didn't I wouldn't have energy; it literally was if I eat something I'll be able to pedal, if I don't, I won't. So in the evenings I would try to eat as much as I could but was SO tired I couldn't eat much meaning I would wake up RAVENOUS. I am still waking up VERY hungry and want to want to eat all the time...but I am not enjoying food...my stomach just wants the food. 
I genuinely loved this trip. SO much. I had to return my bike to the cycle hire shop on Wednesday and I had a pretty emotional moment saying goodbye to it - we had been through a lot together. 

This is probably a topic/thought for another post but it's that whole thing of when you really try/invest/persevere you have something to show for it at the other end. Not only have I cycled through 4 countries in 4 days but I have been a part of raising £24679 for XLP - woop!

Having got to the top of the North Downs and being told it was all down hill to London - smile!



1 comment:

  1. You have done so well! I would love to give money to you, but my credit card is playing up :( any chance you're still accepting cheques? If so, facebook me! xxx

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