We’re always on the lookout for people that embody the Ride Often, Ride Far spirit that we celebrate. Lee Grieve is definitely someone who fits that bill. If you missed the first installment of his race report, catch up here.
My epic journey started in Sheffield. A train journey to Hull and then a ferry crossing to Zeebruge would be the first leg of this adventure. Obviously, the trains were all cancelled due to lightning strikes and I spent most of the day on the platform panicking that I’d miss my ferry. So I found myself two days before the biggest race of my life absolutely hammering it through hull, fully laden, desperate not to miss that boat. Great tapering strategy I chuckled to myself as I rolled into the ferry port with minutes to spare.
Most people thought I was mad doing the TCR: Family, friends, fellow cyclists and colleagues. EVERYONE thought I was mad riding 100 miles the day before the start to make the most of the charming Belgium cities and towns on the way to the start line in Gerrardsbergen. It proved invaluable, I shuffled things around in my bags to make them more accessible and also worked out my charging routine. I spent the night chilling with a couple of beers at the start line, trying to stomach food and chatting to the hundreds of riders sat around the main square. I don’t think I’ve ever been asked how much I weigh in such a short space of time.
The TCR officially kicked off at 10pm. That meant a lot of hanging around after signing on in the afternoon. Some of us tried to catch some sleep, most people just seemed eager to get going. The tension in the air was incredible. I also didn’t realise how emotional it would be. First, a speech by the son of a rider who was tragically killed in last years race. Hearing him speak really tugged on my heart strings, it made me think about getting back home in one piece to the people who mattered. Next we had a marriage proposal on the start line… luckily she said yes!
Nearly a year of planning and training and this was it. The start. The crowd was going nuts, the Muur reared up in front of us and the countdown begun. 10…. Deep breath. 9…. Check my lights are on 6… lets get that Wahoo started or I’ll forget 3… this is it. 1…. Go. The sound of hundred people clipping in could be heard echoing around the square. ‘Hold yourself back… don’t get carried away’ The voices in my head would be my main company for the next 13 days now so I best not argue with them this early on.