GSMA Grand Tour – An Awesomely Epic Adventure
Now that I am at home I have started to reflect on the amazing adventure that I have just had. During the Tour itself I didn’t seem to have a minute to reflect other than when out on the bike, enjoying a climb up a Coll for example:
or an amazing view from the top once I got there
In the end i managed 1130km with an average overall pace of 2:45, burned almost 35,000 calories and climbed 23,500m (which is totally wrong as overall was 22, 500 but it felt like it some day !) and spent 52 hours in the saddle ! (all figure from Runkeeper so not 100% accurate)
I was worried about my fitness before I went as posted here but in the end these never really caused a problem other than getting down to the brakes on the bike for the long descents.
It would take me a long time to write up the whole event, I had planned to post each day but time was never there to do it as we were running the trial, the team and trying to rest. My overall feeling is one of immense pride to have managed to do half, of managing to do 3 whole stages, setting a distance record of 200km whilst in much pain but feeling so happy after (getting to the hotel and having to cycle up and down the main street of Castres to get over the magic 200 mark was fun !)
It was very inspiring for me to get to meet, and know many of the trial riders, to learn their stories, to begin to understand the impact of diabetes on a very personal level, in some cases to watch them have to give up on riding as the technology we provided warned them of a dangerous drop in glucose levels, in others to be amazed at the level of perseverance and dedication to complete the task. All of this while carrying and using several devices to help us complete the trial, always happy to hand over the modules and looking for them in the morning, the modules will be a fond memory from the tour 😉
Equally it was fun to meet so many colleagues from Orange, we had over 60 riders for the event of all levels, I know they had fun even when riding full days, I got an insight to the life of a team manager, mechanic, kit man and I can see how tough it is to do this full time, getting a full team out with all the equipment was an achievement though 🙂
On a personal level the tour means so much to me, I made it in one piece, sort of, I learned a huge amount about cycling, still too slow downhill but getting better, and had a lot of fun bonding with new people through the shared experience of joy and pain. It’s something I will never forget, there are many highlights, mostly to do with getting to the top of several Cols, often with the help of others through kind words of encouragement, motivation and in one case an actual hand (thanks Carl!) there were also some lowlights like the falling off a few times, 4 at a standstill due to cleats and headphones ! and one high speed that could have been worse but in the end we were all ok, but as I was reminded, pain is just weakness leaving the body, Man Up and cycle on which is what i did same as others that had cracked ribs, I even managed to lead the pack !
I got a medal this time which was such an unexpected pleasure and it will last far longer than the physical effects, my family is very proud of me, I am also and will be even more so if i get fit enough to do it all again, I hope it happens again next year as my new target would be to do the whole thing if i get the opportunity and to improve on the technology to aid Diabetes further.
You can see lots of Tweets using the official hashtag #mhealthgt and plenty of better pics 🙂
Reposting this for the THIRD time as keeps disappearing !!!