Well, the raid Alpine is complete, finally arrives in Antibes in the South of France, the home of some of the world's super yachts. It was interesting wandering around the port looking at the toys of the mega-rich and it struck me how totally bored all aboard looked gazing out almost appearing to wonder what life was really about.
I wondered whether I would swap with them given the chance, in all honestly, I wouldn't.
This has been an excellent trip, 703km and 16,300m of ascent, that's over 10 vertical miles, in the space of 6 days. We crossed 31+ cols and saw some of the best scenery on offer to the cycling enthusiast.
It was really excellent that all of the riders setting off on the challenge completed it in it's entirety which I understand isn't always the case, so lovely that nobody was left at the end feeling as if they had "failed" - everyone was a winner.
All of us faced up to our own challenges, some facing difficulties unknown to others and often unmentioned. Some had longer days than others but we all covered the same distance and we all crossed the same high passes, a magnificent achievement.
The trip was brilliantly organised by Marmot Tours and the support throughout was the best I have experienced on a cycling holiday to date. The Marmot Tours team of Helen and Nathan couldn't have been more supportive and nothing was too much trouble for them from the start to the finish of the holiday, 10/10 from me.
It will be nice to get home and one of the nice things about making an effort with the photo and video recording side of things is that all the memories come back as you get home to sort things out in the weeks and months ahead. Without those records, for me at least, things al become rather a blur!
What next? Who knows? To be honest by deliberately taking my time on this ride and taking the time to ride steadily, to pause to take pictures and to enjoy the scenery I have probably awoken a latent interest in cycle touring. It seems to me that with time and determination one could have a fantastic time travelling slowly carrying one's own gear through the countryside covering 40-50 miles a day and crossing maybe one col per day and really savouring every mile.
For now at least it's well done to all those who rode the Raid Alpine with Marmot Tours starting on 1st August 2011 on the shores of Lake Geneva.
Watch this space!