“The Wrong Way Back 2013 – One Week On”

Up Hill, downhill, along the flat, under the trees, watch the gravel, play spot the pothole, ride into a headwind and then turn away. Drink some water, eat some food. Rest and Repeat.

It’s been a little over a week now since we completed The Wrong Way Back 2013 and I think I left a little part of me behind somewhere.

Was it on the flat run to Minehead Battling the Headwinds? Was it somewhere on the serene climb of the Porlock Toll Road? Was it somewhere on the road to Lands End past the old tin mines in the summer sunshine. Perhaps it was on the long day to Plymouth, perhaps it was on the campsite at Dawlish just kicking back in the sun and thinking nearly home now. Perhaps it was on the last day to Weymouth riding familiar roads, but seeing them in a new light, with new friends. Perhaps it was on the last day as we rode into Wincanton together and thinking that we’d finally made it and how I was proud to have ridden with such a great group of guys.

I don’t really know, but there’s a part of me somewhere out there.

I remember the training rides and watching a group of blokes, who I hardly knew, turn into a Peleton of riders, I learned how to read the signs so I could tell just who was having a good day or who was having a bad one, based just by how they were sat on their bike first thing in the morning. I watched as they learnt to ride in a group and how to slipstream each other so that they all got a rest from the headwind.

To ride that far for that long, watching a group of guys push themselves past their mental and physical limits, was a truly humbling experience. Some us laughed, some of us cried through joy, through frustration, through elation and sometimes through sadness. It’s not the physicality that gets to you. It’s having the mental strength to keep going when most people would just get off and quit.

The Wrong Way Back 2013 is one of the things in my life that I’m most proud of. It was also one of the toughest things I’ve ever done, but then if it was easy it wouldn’t have been worth doing. It’s something I’d love to do again.

Travelling by bike, you immerse yourself in the countryside; you travel in it, not through it isolated from the world in a metal box, the sights, sounds and sometimes the smell’s stay in your memory for ever.

Cycling is good for the soul; life is simple when all you have to do is ride your bike.

Bring on The Wrong Way Back 2015. I’m hoping to be there again, where will you be?

Dave Gillard

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