Day 20

Crossways to Topsham

Distance:

68 miles (1,357 total) / 109 km (2,184 total)

Elevation gain:

4,590 feet (50,843 total) / 1,399 m (15,497 total)

Route

The final day! Fittingly (and by happy coincidence) exactly 17 years ago today Nello & Marc completed the Ride for Life.

After a warm welcome back to England, thanks to some gratefully received food and drink, and a good night’s sleep we set off in good spirits. We didn’t leave until 9am, to avoid arriving too early in case any family & friends were at the finish.

The ride itself went well, no issues although Steve must have been missing the Devon hills as he directed us to, what felt like, every one in south Dorset! There were a few showers but as long as we arrived in decent weather we’d be more than happy to get wet early on. Our first stop was at one of our sponsors, Rachel Portlock, who generously fed and watered us.

Our next stop was Honiton, where most of our training rides started and so held a special place for us from our trip preparations. We enjoyed an ice cream at the wonderful ‘The Honiton Dairy’ (other ice cream shops are available!) and a very brief trip into the Homebase car park, where the actual training rides began and ended. I even got a lump in my throat as we left Honiton for the last time in respect of this journey.

10 miles from the finish we crested our last climb, Fairmile hill. As we were ahead of schedule we decided to stop for a while to ensure anyone wanting to see us at the finish had time to get there. After almost 3 weeks of riding the odd half hour didn’t matter. While waiting we met up with some of Steve’s family who had been tracking us, allowing us to enjoy the welcome home for even longer. It also helped us to control our emotions by spreading out the last stage of our trip.

The last 10 miles were taken at a leisurely pace, there was no rush and we wanted to savour the final instalment of our epic journey. We had a minor mechanical issue when Steve’s chain managed to slip off of the lower jockey wheel, somehow!

Crossing the line we were so happy to see the friends and family that had managed to make the finish. There was food and drink (thanks Amy xxx) that was gratefully received, and a welcome bottle from the FORCE team that were preparing for the Nello ride the following day. A special thanks to Sarah, Naomi, Heather and the rest of the FORCE team for the welcome back and everything they’ve done to help us complete our ride.

We’re so grateful to everyone that has supported us, sponsored us, sent messages, and been a part of our wonderful journey. Without you all it wouldn’t have been the same, or even possible. A full thank you will be on the main page once we’ve gathered our thoughts and try to make sure we don’t miss anyone that we shouldn’t

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