Alan's London to Paris Cycling Challenge for charity L'Ortolan
To say I like a challenge is an understatement, when the opportunity came up to cycle from London to Paris came up I jumped at the opportunity.
300 miles in 3 days for one reason, raising funds for Hospitality Action.
21 of us signed up to do the cycle ride, mostly people from the industry, this included fellow Michelin starred chefs Matthew Tomkinson & Steven Drake, Hayden Groves who was 3rd in the National Chef of the Year in 2011 and I also managed to get my young apprentice chef from L'Ortolan, Sam Bowden to join us.
After 6 months of intensive training we were ready to 'smash it when it's counts'
Day one was a relatively easy day setting off from Greenwich and cycling all the way to Dover, rolling hills and pretty countryside were the order of the day. The last 6 miles were amazing, battering down a dual carriageway flat out, the last 2 miles were downhill and I am pleased to say I managed to average 53 MPH for a whole mile!! That's shifting for sure.
Day two we had our biggest day mileage wise to do, awesome roads in northern France meant we got carried away with ourselves and ended up getting a bit lost and taking in a few too many hills and miles, over 20 miles too many even before lunch, last part of the day the heavens opened and we did 30 miles in biblical rain, savage weather and a 120 mile plus day in the saddle, tired all round.
Day three we rolled into Paris, getting to the outskirts of Paris and asking for directions was so amusing, think of being in Maidenhead and asking for London! Once we got into the financial district we ended up in a tunnel, in the dark on a 8 lane motorway! Quite an exciting couple of miles, this finished off with the relative safety of cycling round the Arc de Triomphe and then going flat out chasing cars down the Champs-Élysées.
A great few days where great friendships were made and most importantly lots of money raised for charity, now back to work for a rest.
To donate to Hospitality Action or to find out how to take part in fundraising.