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"I completed my 300-mile charity bike ride from London to Paris in aid of Diabetes UK."

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"In August I completed my 300-mile charity bike ride from London to Paris in aid of Diabetes UK. Hooray!

120 cyclists took part, 56 charities represented and to date £125K raised in sponsorship.

It was a fun but challenging event – more so mentally than physically for me personally at least. Those that know me and my cycling habits know that the down hills scare me and that my hands don’t leave the brakes for the entire descent. By the time I get to the bottom of the hill, my body is so shattered from the sheer pressure and tension of just holding on!

All four days of cycling saw a huge amount of hill climbs - (yes they were hills and not undulations  – very steep with sharp bends. It was literally one after another – I jest not, and no respite or warning that another one was just around the corner.  But what a sense of achievement when you reach the top having just cycled it and not gotten off your bike and walked it.

Day 1 was the most pressurised as we had to reach Dover by a set time in order to catch the ferry and also the longest in distance – 96 miles…..

Day 2 was collision time with 2 cyclists crashing into the back of me and bringing me down – fortunately there was no speed involved and no serious injuries for which I’m most grateful for. Cuts, bruises and blood – but no sprains, futures or breakages. Those in Bracknell will be able to voucher for the scars…. (80 miles)

Day 3 was 70 miles of beautiful French countryside and plenty of tough climbs – but you just dig deep and keep reminding yourself why you are doing this…..

Day 4 – 120 riders cycling as a convey (we stopped for no one, jumped all the red lights and brought all the traffic to a complete standstill) for 2 miles into central Paris was absolutely amazing  – Cycling up the Champs De Elysee around the Arc De Triomphe roundabout, … and down towards the Eiffel Tower with bells and car horns going off all the way. It was a true celebration of achievement and also relief that we had completed the challenge. (It was also fab to take over Paris from the Parisians if only for a short while)

None of this could have been possible without all the financial and moral support that you have all shown me over the last 4 months, and for this, both I & Diabetes UK are extremely grateful.

Together we have raised over £1,557.46 beating the target of £1,350.00. Fantastic."

Words by Paola

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