We were woken at St Ives at 7am to a deserted sleeping hall. Everyone else had gone! As we walked out for breakfast, who should be in the queue but Steve. He literally skipped across the hall towards us, a completely different person to the one we’d left at Kirton. Apparently he’d slept for a few hours then come across during the night with Mike and a few others. Chris and I, on the contrary, were still knackered and I was shocked when I went to put my contacts in and couldn’t actually see my eyes as the huge puffy bags around them got in the way. However, spirits were high because we knew we only had 74 miles to go, and we set off in bright sunshine. Steve was riding like we had at the start, zooming off up the hills and generally looking like he’d not ridden over 800 miles in 4 days, whereas we were still moving pretty slowly.
The film crew pulled up next to us filming us riding again and Steve punctured! We checked he had all he needed, and as the crew wanted to film it, we left them to it on the assumption he would catch us up on current form. The film crew re-appeared and filmed Chris and I for quite a while before disappearing to the finish.
The final control was a small hall in Great Easton. By now the Garmin was showing 32˚C so we put the bikes in the shade and stopped for our final control. I had removed my base layer and had my jersey unzipped and was still overheating, but Steve skipped in again wearing legwarmers and overshoes, insisting he was not hot and babbling about how he liked the warm.
We set off again for the final push leaving Steve to refuel. Promised views over London either didn’t materialise or I was too tired to notice them but it wasn’t long before we were passing the back of the school at Loughton that would be the end of our journey. I shook Chris’s hand and apart from nearly being wiped out by a transit less than half a mile from the end, we rolled into the finish together, to the sounds of cheers, applause and cowbells. We were given a nice finishers medal, told there were still 700 riders out on the course, and then we just went to get some food with silly grins on our faces.
I texted Liz to tell her I’d finished and said I’d ring in 10 minutes. When I called I actually couldn’t speak as I was finally overcome with emotion. We’d only gone and done it.