At roughly 2pm on the 13th of August, 4 bewildered, tired, achy and hopeful boys rounded over what we thought to be the last summit, before seeing the very end of Europe. At roughly 2:20pm on the same day, 4 bewildered, more tired, now frustrated and sweaty boys truly did crest the final 300m peak, to look blissfully down on our finish line. ‘Guys, it really is all downhill from here’ one said. Although it turned out to be harder work than going up, with a massive crosswind causing all sorts of dynamic riding all over the road. It didn’t appear to slow Alec though, who was determined to hit 50mph…
Europe tried as hard as it could but the time finally came when the continent could extend no further and we ran out of land!
It was truly momentous. Never have I felt goosebumps purely from the concept of not having to ride my bike the next day! We rode down the final hill into town as a unit, past the Tarifa sign, past the centre of town, down to the beach, out along the pier until we could cycle no more. It’s all over! It was a special feeling, but also a slightly strange one. Not one of us could quite believe that we didn’t have to quickly pack away after our meal and do another 20 miles.
We feel like we had our fair share of challenges on this trip, mostly to do with the weather. We rode through temperatures of 4 degrees in the Nordkapp and 38 degrees in Southern France. We have literally had every single type of rain you could possibly imagine. We’re talking: drizzle, showers, spitting, pouring, bucketing, pissing, hammering, the heaviest rain we’ve ever ridden through and even rain that appeared from absolutely nowhere! We’ve also battled every single type of wind, left, right, head, tail and sometimes wind that seems to come from all directions at once!!
As well as the weather, we have struggled with illness, roads that don’t appear on the map but do in real life or vice versa, mosquitos and finally of course: mechanicals. Speaking of which; I’m sure the mechanical points game results are of interest and despite some hefty mechanicals occurring, the game was still closer than it really should have been.
Sam reluctantly took gold with 119 points.
James with a close 2nd at 82.
Alec safely behind on 60 points.
And Tom cruising at the back with 30.
A brief run down of some repairs we managed to do on the road:
1 snapped fork
2 broken gear cables
1 broken chain
2 bent mech hangers
1 dented rim bent back into place
1 brake calliper lent so James could stop
1 loose cassette
2 tires run to canvas
And the case of the missing thru axle continues…
The feeling of finishing a ride like this is difficult to convey to anyone who wasn’t there, going through everything we did, but hopefully some of the following statistics might help to quantify our efforts and why we couldn’t stop smiling standing on a wall, at the southern most tip of Europe with only ocean (and Africa) beyond!
Mileage: 3920.4 miles (6272 km)
Shortest day: 37 miles
Longest day: 133 miles
Earliest start: 5:01am
Latest finish: 23:13pm
Total climbing: 165,352 ft
Fastest speed: 49.7 mph
Largest amount of cereal eaten in one sitting: 375g per rider (>10x a normal portion)