Tony Dooley’s Grand Depart Classic ride for Prostate Cancer UK

I’d like to thank everyone who supported me for this event by sponsoring me or sending me their good wishes. I have so far managed to raise over £1600 so I have surpassed my target of £1000.

On Saturday 24th June I rode the second stage of the Tour de France from Dusseldorf in Germany to Liege in Belgium to raise money into prostate cancer research, so I thought I’d send you a short report. But first I’d like to thank everyone who supported me for this event by sponsoring me or sending me their good wishes. I have so far managed to raise over £1600 so I have surpassed my target of £1000.

The whole event started on Thursday morning with a train journey from Flint to London Euston and then check into the Travelodge Hotel in London Thursday evening. Friday morning, we got up early for a coach trip to Kings Cross St Pancras to catch the Eurostar train to Brussels, our bikes having been taken by van the night before. From Brussels, we travelled by coach to Dusseldorf and checked into the Hotel Novotel.

Day of the ride …

After a good nights sleep, it was up early again Saturday morning for breakfast and then a group photo.
75 of us set off on a 4 mile loop round Dusseldorf (known in Tour de France speak as the neutral zone ) before starting the 125 mile stage. The whole ride was well signposted from start to finish. We were advised to follow the signs rather than the route on our Garmins as a detour had been put in place after Prostate Cancer had sent riders the Garmin files. This was due to a whole village near the end of the route being dug up to resurface the road for the pro riders. (That’s a way to get the council to fix your potholes.) There were 3 feed stations along the route at 32 miles, 70 miles and 93 miles. Each feed station was set up at a local hotel or restaurant along the route. The usual energy bars and gels, drinks etc were provided at the 1st and 3rd feed stations but at the 2nd feed station we could also have a meal including pasta salad, rice or chips. I passed and just had some rice.

The weather was fine except for a strong headwind for a large part of the ride. Also we had to stop at the many sets of traffic or pedestrian lights in the towns and villages along the way … just as I was building my pace up, haha .. of course the pros didn’t have to deal with that. There was the occasional time when I felt like accepting the offers of the broom wagons to pull me off the route and have a lift (along with several others I must emphasise by the way) particularly as the souls of my feet had been aching from about 50 miles into the ride … something I’ve been trying to find a solution to during my training rides beforehand. But there was no way I was going to stop. I wouldn’t have been able to face all the people who have sponsored me at home, work or the Tri Club if I had stopped. So with determination and the help of other riders as we paced each other for the last few miles, I made it to the end.
The whole event was well organised and we were very well looked after. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and thanks again for everyone’s support.

Tony Dooley