We all knew this day and the 25-mile-long climb up the Col du Grand St Bernard was going to be a challenge, but none of us really knew how beautiful it would be. So when we took the right-hand turn to begin last 6 kilometers to the summit, the pain in our legs was soothed (just a bit) by the stunning scenery and ear-popping altitude.
The air was still and pure. There was hardly a breath of wind. And the sun warmed us on those last kilometers. And I’m pretty sure I can speak for the well over 50-person-strong peloton when I say that the effort it took to pedal uphill for close to two hours was worth the feeling we had at the top.
Sharing a common goal that’s hard to achieve has always been an underlying theme of the London to Monaco ride, and nothing illustrates that more than what we all went through on the mountain today. Men and women from many different countries who were strangers only a few short days ago worked together on the climb and were hugging and congratulating each other on the top. But we couldn’t celebrate too much since we had another 100-miles to cover once we reached the top!
In fact, the metaphor of climbing a big mountain is apt for the mission of the organisation we’re here to ride and raise money for. Tackling the problem of overfishing and disappearing fish is a huge challenge. But today shows that when a group of committed and passionate people works together, anything is possible. And the same is true when it comes to the world’s oceans – anything is possible when we work together.
As Clare Brook, BLUE’s CEO, quoted when we started in London “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle”. The fish really do need London to Monaco riders pedaling over mountains.
As a veteran of all three London to Monaco rides, I can say it’s made me more humble, more grateful, and a lot more fit! And when I realised I’m making a small contribution to helping save the ocean for my cute little 6-year old to wonder at the way I always have, I know we’re all on the right road—that happens to be 200 kilometers long!