Homeward bound, but I wish I wasn’t. I guess you knew that line was coming. Well I am glad that I’m coming home, but I do feel that I could have carried on, which is one of the reasons why I did this “tour taster” to find out whether I could.
So I’m sat in Toulouse airport waiting for a flight home. I’m with Kirsty and Shim the physios who are also going back today, to be replaced by another team. As well as getting the ball rolling on sorting out the tight muscles I had after all the prep for this trip, Kirsty has been in the signing van and the baggage van too. I have learned a lot more today about what goes on in the background and I am sure there are many stories that could be told there.
As cyclists we can easily take the route marker signs for granted and expect to just pick up our bags at the end of the ride and get cleaned up and ready for the next day. But signing the route is not without its own stress. They want to be two hours ahead of the riders, but as soon as we start rolling then the pressure is on and the clock can tick down. Yesterday in Andorra for example was so tricky with the border, the busy roads and the lack of obvious places to stop that the lunch stop was only set up minutes before the riders started coming through. Then in other places the police ask a lot of questions though it is generally fine (unless we are in Spain as we saw yesterday). I heard another story of being told that we could not use a particular route through town as there was going to be a parade at the time the riders would be coming through. Rather than be awkward, the police indicated an alternative route, which was brilliant. I think mention the Tour de France and you can get a long way.
So there are a lot of unsung heros involved in this trip, people we may never get to see or interact with because their schedule is so different to ours. Without them we would not have half the fun we did so all I can do is express my great gratitude to those involved and who may also be giving up their own vacation time or taking unpaid leave to support us.
Finally, as my flight is about to be called and I leave France before the Welsh football team does (who saw that coming?), if you have enjoyed following my travels then may I gently remind you that as well as being a challenge for me, this trip is also about helping those who face a whole different set of challenges in their daily lives and face far more daunting mountains than we did on this trip.
A link to my fundraising page is in the third article I posted before coming out. If I remember it correctly it is http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/johngriffiths5