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Gill Sensors & Controls North American Business Development Manager, Paul Cain has taken on a 317 mile cycling challenge from London to Paris.
Each year Paul and his wife –Joyce, pick a shared athletic endurance challenge in an annual bid to remain fit and see the world. The pair signed up in February 2016 with Global Adventure Challenges, one of four UK based adventure companies that sponsor charity challenges and tour rides from London to Paris. Paul and Joyce optioned for the tour alongside the charity challengers, which coincided with the finale of the Tour de France cycling race finishing in Paris.
To prepare for the challenge, Paul and Joyce began a specific training program shortly after registering with a schedule of increasing mileage and climbing over the next six months. Both completed a ‘practice’ century ride (100 miles) in May in California.
The cycle route from London to Paris is thought to be one of the greatest European bike rides. Taking 4 days and covering 317 miles (511 Km), Paul and Joyce departed on July 20 with a ride from the UK through French countryside, idyllic villages and historic towns to reach the finish line under the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
As picturesque as the journey may seem, the ride was not easy.
Day 1: London- Dover- Calais -76 miles
The ride began from the London Borough of Bexley through Kent via the old A2 road which rolls through Dartford, Gravesend with lunch in Chilham, then on to the white cliffs of Dover. Timing on the first day is tight, all 173 riders had to start at precisely 7 a.m. to arrive at the collection point at the Ferry before the 2 p.m. cut off.
Day 2: Calais – Arras -82 miles
Fresh with a good night’s sleep, the group set-off from Calais to begin their 82 mile journey down to the town of Arras visiting Quercamp, Westrehem, Avesnes-lel-Comte and finishing in Arras.
Day 3: Arras to Creil -92 miles
Leaving Arras the group cycled through Warloy-Baillon, Morisel, Ravenel. The group’s rest stops were set at WWI and WWII memorials. The Global Adventures organizer shared some military history of the soldiers that served the Allied forces from UK, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. The afternoon ride was hot and hilly. It was 34 degrees that afternoon, with humidity and a big lunch the afternoon climbs were causing everyone to “dig in deep”.
Day 4: Creil to Paris – 67 miles
With the majority of the cycling behind them, the group enjoyed the morning climb to St. Maximin and the beautiful castle and gardens of Chantilly – experiencing the one short segment of “cobbles’’ that the Tour de France race would ride through the following afternoon. Paul and Joyce completed their journey arriving in Paris at the Louve meeting point at 2 p.m. performing a victory lap around the Arc d’ Triumph and finally finishing at the Eiffel Tower. After Eiffel Tower photos, the two crammed 32 hours of Parisian cafe life into a rest day culminating with a quick view watching Chris Froome and UK based Team Sky win the maillot jaune (yellow jersey) for the overall win for the 2016 Tour de France. The trip was over with a sprint to the train station in Paris to catch the late Eurostar back to St. Pancras.
Joyce and Paul departed Heathrow early the next morning pleasantly exhausted with a massive appreciation for sincere hospitality of the entire UK GSC team, the beauty of the New Forest, Lymington and Dorset, French roads and driving courtesies.
For more information on the London to Paris charity cycle please visit http://www.globaladventurechallenges.com/