Arch to Arc 2011: Day four – Beauvais to Paris

We woke to fog. At 5:45. Yes, 5:45. Day four meant another early start; we had to set off in good time to reach the Arc de Triomphe by one o’clock knowing the approach to Paris would be slowed down by all the traffic lights just like getting out of London was. So we had a seven o’clock start.

A good breakfast in me, and I was ready to go after how much I’d enjoyed day three. But that fog, together with a long slow climb right at the beginning of the day, was not a great start. For the first eight or nine miles you just couldn’t see anything. There may have been some beautiful scenery; I have no way of telling. The fog was the type that settles on your glasses which then need wiping regularly so you can see, and it made everything damp and feel ‘heavy’. In combination with that long slow climb it was feeling like this was not going to be a fun day.

Eventually, of course, the fog lifted, and were were left with a glorious sunny day.  The best weather we’d had of the whole ride. Some great riding roads, and I think we looked great all riding with our official ride tops again. A slight tinge of sadness knowing this was our last day riding together, and that approach into Paris really is a bit tedious; I think there were actually more traffic lights than London, and we kept getting split and regrouping only to get split again. But as we got further and further in, so the excitement started to build.

I well remember from last year the feeling when we eventually rounded a corner to our first view of the Arc. I guess Euphoria is the right word. We may be tired and sore, and riding on cobbled streets (thanks, Paris) but we’d done it. The support van reached the Arc just before us and the crew were still unfurling the “WELL DONE” banners when we circled the Arc and congregated at the top of the Champs Elysees. Hugs all round, champagne and medals distributed, congratulations shared.

We’d ridden (according to my Garmin) 282.91 miles in total.

It’s a great achievement. If you fancy a challenge, and meeting a great bunch of people, you can already sign up for next years ride on the Arch to Arc website.

Like last year I took lots of photos. Next job: get them edited and uploaded to Flickr.

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