1st Quote of the day:
WE DID IT! Home 2 Rome Cycle Challenge 2013 (‘Ange & Richard)
Well, at 4pm on Tuesday 10th September we arrived in Rome after cycling for 21 days from Ashby.
Taking you back to the morning, it definitely felt different to any other morning, we were a little disorganised compared to usual and between us emotions were varied to say the least.
But there was still 70 miles between then and Rome, so we really had to concentrate on putting all our energy into the pedals.
So, we found strength from two places today. One was knowing that whatever elements were thrown at us, we have been through them all before on this journey and survived. The second was Wishes 4 Kids, and the children who are suffering. we know that however tough the day is for us or what surprises are around the corner, at the end of the day we will be fine. Many of these children and their families have no end to their pain. This has been a huge motivation in getting us to this point.
Today threw a little bit of everything at us, especially a constant headwind. It was a little bit like a friendly handshake from the elements saying ‘well done, you survived’!
The cycle today was purely about head down and getting to the finish point. Which was a good job really as after leaving the beauty of Bolsena Lake there was not much worth looking up at. With 12 miles to go to the centre of Rome, we nearly got a little carried away with excitement, but we held it back as we weren’t there yet! The cycle from there to the Collusium was the worst encounter ever. Busy suburbs, roads with no rules whatsoever and cars everywhere. Getting busier the closer we got, and not knowing exactly where we were going was a recipe for disaster. Words can’t describe how stressful this was, it was by no means a romantic roll down the hill into Rome. We knew the Colosseum was very close now, but it sits on a very busy, large major road, and the island we had to tackle was huge! At least 5 lanes of traffic going wherever they wanted and lots motorbikes weaving in and out…….then there was us. It was very daunting but at this point it was about cycling with utter conviction in where you were heading, going as fast as you can, and praying to whoever is listening! Finally turning a corner we saw the Colosseum. Our emotions were a little different to what we expected as we were so stressed from the city cycling, however once we had our picture taken and a moment to ourselves, we looked at each other and said ‘We did it!’
It wasn’t until we got to our apartment that it started to sink in, and while enjoying a few drinks (more than usual!) in the surrounding bars we chatted about the day and reminisced about the whole trip, not quite believing what we have done.
2nd Quote of the day:
If you can dream it, you can do it (‘Walt Disney’)
It has taken a huge amount of organising and planning to achieve this goal, and all the time there was no guarantee we would do it as anything can happen. Yes, you have to be fairly fit to achieve a challenge like this, but we are not athletes, we are just ordinary people doing an extraordinary thing.
Today from Richard:
This has been one of the hardest things I have ever done. There were many ups and downs, in more ways than one. Crossing the French/Italian boarder at the top of the Alps was amazing, seeing the leaning tower of Pisa sent shivers through my spine and reaching the colosseum was the pinnacle of this unbelievable adventure.
Today from Ange:
As above, this has been an incredibly difficult challenge, but it has also come with a huge amount of unforgettable rewarding moments. Approaching Annecy with the first sight of the snow capped mountains of the Alps was very emotional, and then achieving the cycle through them…….tough but Wow! Too many moments and kindness from strangers to mention, maybe over time and a few beers you will get to hear more of the stories. One more thing, thanks to Rich for being an amazing navigator. I know at times in France and Italy that this has been very stressful, but he has had to cope with that alongside exhaustion and that on it’s own is tough enough. I would probably still be in Portsmouth if I was navigating!
Today from Dalmationio and Annabella:
Phew…….what a day, well done team! We didn’t dare leave the panniers as it was so windy! We both wanted to ride up front on the handle bars but Ange and Rich said it wasn’t safe. As we got into Rome it sounded very scary on the roads so we were glad to be tucked away safely. We have had an amazing trip and can’t wait to tell Natasha and Keeley all about it. We are really looking forward to our days in Rome, especially as we are getting more pocket money!
3rd Quote of the day:
It always seems impossible until it’s done (‘Nelson Mandela’)
PS – something we have never dared say out loud for the risk of tempting fate, but we can’t believe we have had no punctures since leaving home. And the fact our bikes are still in tact after the Italian roads is a miracle!