London to Paris Cycle Challenge
The Next Ventures team successfully completed this gruelling challenge covering over 321 miles, setting off from London on Wednesday 24th July and arriving in Paris on Saturday the 28th. The journey was difficult but hugely rewarding with the team raising in excess of £12,000 for their six chosen charities.
On day one the course set off east towards Dover following the beautiful but undulating North Kent Downs providing no end of stunning views but also a seemingly endless number of hills to climb. However, the riding was not over when we reached the white cliffs because we had to climb back on our bikes after our channel crossing to reach the first hotel on the outskirts of Calais, our first stopover.
The second day started early in an effort to spare us from the ferocity of the predicted heatwave. It certainly helped but our progress to Arras, across open Northern French countryside, saw the team enduring temperatures of over 44 degrees with precious little shade for relief.
Mercifully day three saw temperature subside to more bearable mid-thirties, as the course continued towards the town of Compiègne. This day took the team across the Vallèe de la Somme where we saw some of the many war memorials and cemeteries commemorating the fallen of The Great War 1914-18, very sobering indeed.
Our weary team was nearly there but on the final day of cycling, from Compiègne to Paris the weather had another little trick to play. Day four started wet and just 16 degrees. The rain, light to start, got steadily heavier and continued for more than four hours but the drenching didn’t slow us down. The same can’t be said for the extraordinary number of punctures that beset us after Richard had remarked over breakfast, “funny no one’s had any punctures yet.”
To our relief, the clouds broke and the sun shone for our final approach through Paris to the Tour Eiffel and our Grand Arrivèe. The Next Ventures team had completed the challenge, overcoming scorching heat, countless climbs, endless roads and pouring rain. The aching limbs and various sore parts of the anatomy are quickly forgotten and what we have achieved makes it all feel worth it.
The nominated charities were:
Cancer Research UK
Prostate Cancer Research
Children with Cancer
Brain Tumour Support
Total raised for charity £12,000
Next Ventures would like to thank everyone for their support and contributions to the fundraising.