Well Done Martyn! 1500km in 6 Days

Article posted on: 14th March 2018

Clancy Director, Martyn Headley has just completed an epic six days in the saddle, covering 1,500km riding from London to Cannes as part of the Legal & General Real Assets Cycle to MIPIM 2018 team! 190 riders took part in the challenge split across two routes – one via Portsmouth, the other via Folkestone. Martyn, part of the Piccadilly Gardens team, took the Portsmouth route via Caen to Cannes. Following his arrival in Cannes and a well earnt rest Martyn commented:

All done. I did 900 miles, on the bike at 6:00am each morning and getting off between 7:00pm & 10.30pm each night. Resisted the bus at the end of stages despite most inclement weather the ride has had over 10 years. Amazing but intense experience. Physically intact with the exception of some details I’ll not share for obvious reasons. 

I’ve already raised £6,700 for a great cause and that was very much on my mind in some of the darker moments of which there were a few. It is easily the biggest challenge I have ever taken on. 

Thanks to all for your support both in terms of sponsorship & encouragement.”

Donations to support CORAM can still be made here: http://bit.ly/2paFBei

 

Below is an overview of Martyn’s journey.

Day 1 – On Thursday morning 8th March in central London, 190 riders gathered with bikes and bags at the start line and at 9am the riders made their way out of the city amidst the cheering from the huge number of supporters who had gathered. Martyn’s group made their way south-west to Portsmouth to end the first day.

It was slow progress through central London at rush hour but once out of London, the sun came out and it was a bright, chilly, Spring day. The group was plagued by punctures and mechanicals, all of which added time to the day. After the first coffee break, there was an exceptionally long 60km slog to lunch – which happened much later than planned. After, the riders resumed for the final 40km into Portsmouth at which time the peloton became a long stream of flashing lights as dusk fell. The team successfully navigated 148km in some very testing conditions.

Day 2 – Following a relatively smooth ferry crossing, the riders were reunited with their bikes in Caen and rolled out into the rainy morning. It was a long day covering 286km and included crossing Pegasus Bridge, with the scenery of the day set by the historic battlefields of Normandy and northern France. The final stage of the day was completed in the dark, with the hard-core contingent of cyclists making their way to Blois.

Day 3 – The third day started in the dark and rain, the latter of which continued for the rest of the morning. The morning 3 stages were long and flat through open fields and woods of silver birch, in stage 3 they crossed the Loire and at lunch the sun came out for the first time. The next stage was long and testing as they moved deeper into the Sancerre region, with a long climb skirting a huge lake. This was followed by an exhilarating sweeping descent to end the route’s longest day – at 325km.

Day 4 – As like all the other days, day 4 started very rainy. The team headed out of Beaune and into the dark with the most torrential of downpours. It was a tough stage with the majority in the dark, but the riders got it done. Through the region of Bresse, famed for its chickens, the riders endured further sporadic downpours, but eventually a brisk wind blew away the clouds. Sadly, it was a headwind, which made the afternoon quite challenging but long winding roads with lines of plane trees made for a beautiful backdrop. Mid-afternoon was the lumpiest stage of the day – five climbs to enjoy – but enjoy it they did. Despite the wind, the peloton was in good spirits.
The final stage left Hauterives and headed into Valence in the dark, 295km in the bag.

Day 5 – The day commenced in the early morning light as the team headed straight out of Valence and into the landscape of Provence. Through some of the best scenery in the south of France: from the Renaissance grandeur of Grignan, through lavender fields and vineyards, to the afternoon treat of the medieval village of Bonnieux.

The much-loved climb to Bonnieux during stage 4 was as beautiful as ever and the riders were treated to some impressive views across the vineyards before an “exhilarating” descent into Cadenet for the final stop before Aix en Provence. The day was topped off to perfection as everyone arrived at their hotel to find welcome drinks which kicked of the celebrations of the final night in style. One more day and only 180kms to go to Cannes!

Day 6 – The final day. There was excitement but apprehension to get out on the road, with the promise of a tough but rewarding climb out of Aix en Provence. On the road at 6am, the team completed the climb in fine style and were greeted with an incredible sunrise at the top, followed by a gorgeous descent through golden vineyards.

The two routes regrouped at lunch and made the descent into Cannes together to roll in as one peloton – a sight to be seen, with all 190 cyclists on the road together. Overall, it was an epic journey of mixed conditions and emotional highs and lows, but an incredible achievement by all. With 1,500km in the bag and an incredible fundraising total of more than £650,000 including Gift Aid, 2018 was a year that everyone will remember (not only for the rain!).

 

 The whole team pleased to have arrived in Cannes!

 

Images and ride diary courtesy of Club Peloton.

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