Top 2014 stats:
- 160 riders
- £515,000 raised (the 1st time we have broken half a million!)
- 21 stages
- 2 rest days
- 37 lifers (people who cycled the whole route)
- Nine Wates family members (3 generations) rode all or part of the event
A day in the life of the Tour de Force
The alarm goes off at 5.30 most mornings. Shower, apply chamois cream (don’t ask), pack the bags and head out into the breaking dawn.
Breakfast was all you can eat as fast as you can eat. On good days you cycle from the hotel but sometimes you need to get on a bus for up to an hours drive to the start point of that days ride. A chance for more sleep.
The cycling begins and each day has its own surprises – some are all about the thrill of the big mountains, others the monotony of the long straight roads. The weather plays its part as well. We cycled in everything from torrential rain (5 degrees) to cloudless skies (40 degrees). If you weren’t mentally prepared for the day it could be brutal. Over 100 miles with heavy legs (cycling through treacle) is not fun but nothing compares to the days when you are with a good group, working well as a team (sharing the hard work at the front) and enjoying the odd Chocolat Chaud break (or wine tasting if things got really bad!).
120 miles a day average, four feed stops, lots of silly chatter, café stops, pee stops, mechanicals, photo opportunities, the joy of the open road, beautiful tarmac (only a cyclist can appreciate this!). All these things contribute the unbelievable experience of leading the pro’s out on the Tour de France route. It’s magical and it has a deep affect on the people that take part. This is why they return year after year.
Back at the hotel you get a massage to enable you to do it all again the next day, you eat, you drink (but not too much) and you use social media to tell your friends and family what you have been up to. This is the only way they can truly understand what you have taken on.
It’s hard to explain what that means but to see strangers riding in Will’s name, wearing the Tour de Force jersey and fund-raising for our small charity – it is something special. As a challenge – mental and physical – there is nothing like the Tour de Force!