Saturday, September 30, 2017

Tour de Rêves Day Six

French Village Diaries Tour de Rêves charity bike ride around the Deux-Sèvres day six the return to Secondigny
Tour de Rêves route day six Etusson to Secondigny

We fell asleep listening to the rain, so it was a lovely surprise to wake up to blue skies and sunshine. Things were looking up for our last day, until I looked closely at the time on my ipad while lounging in bed with a cup of tea. We had set our alarm for 7.30, planned to meet the others for breakfast at 8.00 but my ipad seemed to be telling me it was 8.40. I was confused, until I realised we had used Adrian’s UK phone for the alarm, which was still set on UK time and we were suddenly in a flap and officially late for breakfast.

French Village Diaries Tour de Rêves charity bike ride around the Deux-Sèvres day six the return to Secondigny
Ready to leave (in the sunshine)

It wasn’t a good start for me. I ended up finishing my lemon and ginger tea with breakfast and stupidly declining a coffee. I had often been slower than the others during the week, but that was nothing compared to my snail-like progress this morning for the 22kms into Bressuire without caffeine. It is a mistake I will not be repeating. They all did a lot of stopping and waiting for me to catch up and I could tell Adrian was getting quite worried.

French Village Diaries Tour de Rêves charity bike ride around the Deux-Sèvres day six the return to Secondigny
In the local paper again
Happily, with caffeine in my system once more and pepped up by a surprise visit from a local journalist who was waiting in Bressuire to interview us (we were beginning to feel like celebrities), the rest of the day was much easier for me.

French Village Diaries Tour de Rêves charity bike ride around the Deux-Sèvres day six the return to Secondigny
Along the voie verte to Moncoutant

It was an easy, flat run to Moncoutant along the old railway line and thanks to the family who were waiting for us (to make a donation), we were pointed in the direction of a restaurant for our final meal together. There was certainly a lot to talk about over lunch and we all agreed that despite the physical effort involved and uncomfortable weather, we’d all had fun and having spent so much time in each others company it would seem rather strange saying goodbye later in the day. Things could have been so much different. We were not close friends when we dreamt up this challenge; in fact we had never actually met face to face until our first planning meeting. Over the course of a year we managed about three or four bike rides together, but none of those rides were over 40km, although we had got to know each other quite well via the countless emails back and forth attempting to organise the event. It had been hard work, but we unanimously agreed it had been worth it and that we’d do it again.

French Village Diaries Tour de Rêves charity bike ride around the Deux-Sèvres day six the return to Secondigny
Not more rain!

The weather might have been against us, but the support we received during the week had certainly made up for it. Just to ensure we knew who was boss, the rain reappeared shortly after lunch and was so heavy we had to take shelter under the trees, but we all decided that whatever the weather we would arrive in Secondigny with smiles on our faces and wearing our team jerseys (without rain jackets) with pride.

French Village Diaries Tour de Rêves charity bike ride around the Deux-Sèvres day six the return to Secondigny
Feeling like champions


It was a great feeling to cycle back into Secondigny and rather emotional to be greeted by so many relieved family members and friendly faces; many of them our cycling friends who had completed various stages with us during the week. Sarah and I were presented with flowers by the mairie of Secondigny and there were hugs and smiles all around. Despite being soggy from top to toe, it was a fantastic finale to an amazing adventure. In six days we had completed a 437km figure of eight circuit around the Deux-Sèvres, exploring our department following cycle routes and quiet back roads, meeting some amazing people and having great fun along the way. We really can’t thank everyone who helped and supported us in so many ways enough. THANK YOU.

The Tour de Rêves - a charity bike ride around the Deux-Sèvres department in France, undertaken by four mad friends, supported by many others, all with the aim of raising money for Rêves a charity making dreams come true for seriously ill children.


To read the other posts about our six day adventure click the links below.