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Team Apogee 2012 – LIVE BLOG Part 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SIMPLY RED V

Saturday September 22

Day 4 – Paris Ahoy

 

I open my eyes on our last day and for the first on this trip Painter is up before me.  He is chirpy and happily singing “Country Road” by John Denver…badly.  The problem with stupid songs like that is that they stick with you and as the morning develops I eventually find myself singing it too.  It is driving me mad

 

Country roads, take me home

To the place I belong

West Virginia, Mountain Mama

Take me home, country roads

 

…Go Away!!!!!

 

John must have a water meter at his house and go through the shower on a skateboard – He showers in seconds.  It is an amazing contrast to what I am used to.  Put black people and water together and everything slows down.  How many black Olympic swimmers have you seen?  Eric the eel is probably still going. Black people do not do speed around water and on more than one occasion John has asked, “You ok in there Glen”.

 

The sisters arrive and we drag our weary bodies onto the bikes one last time.  Everyone is talking positively but our movements tell the truth about how we feel.  Once again we are the last to leave; well after everyone else and we vow to take it easy.  The problem is that over the past 250 miles our cadence (the speed at which we cycle) has increased without us noticing it and taking it easy equals over 16 mph.  After less than a mile we start to climb a hill that goes on longer than the average moan you have to put up with if you come home pissed. It went, on incessantly.  We deal with it as we do the moaning by keeping our heads down for a bit and shutting out the pain. We add another few thousand meters to the climbing clock and our immunity to burning thighs and calves reveals how amazing the human body is.

 

 

Country roads, take me home

To the place I belong

West Virginia, Mountain Mama

Take me home, country roads

I said go away!

 

Just thirty miles to go and an orderly calm surrounds us.  There is very little banter (we have seemingly run out of ways to abuse each other) we take turns to head the Apogee peloton and cycle onwards to the final lunch stop.  The calm is broken as we head into the outskirts of Paris when Barry and Jason seem to take leave on their senses and think that they are car crash dummies.  Has Jason finally cracked so close to home?  They play chicken with the traffic jumping a major set of traffic lights and three of us screech to a halt behind them screaming “NO Femi, NO” to stop him doing a lemming impression. What is going on?  We are losing it so close to the end. The four of us watch the next 5 seconds through our fingers.  Oh god how close was that?

 

As happens with men, gallows humour immediately takes over and what follows next is a conversation by the lads about what would happen to Apogee if Barry and Jas had just got wiped out.  It was a hilarious insight into the company politics. Many names are mentioned some I know and some I do not but Painter, Femi and Campbell were animated in the benefits and consequences to their Apogee career if the various people who were proposed to take charge, did.  Some of the hilarity went over my head as I do not know the characters involved but I got the gist.

 

As the lights changed and we clip our feet into our peddles (I love that sound) a blockbusting one liner as it dawns on one of the three that they should forget about who runs Apogee and that there would be two “Very attractive, rich widows available who own the thing.”  We are shocked by the callous crossing of the line and the short cut to power and pleasure that was being suggested and the boys stop the culprit from digging any further and are insistent that I ‘out’ the culprit in the blog – verbatim.

 

Would I do that?

 

All I would say is that when push comes to shove it is complementary when others find your spouse attractive and all of us were guilty of finding the one liner extremely funny and play with it up to the lunch break.

We get to lunch and know that it would take a catastrophe of Devon Loch proportions to deny us our ‘prize’ (For those young one’s amongst you – Devon Loch was the Queen mum’s horse that fell on the flat home straight when about to win the Grand National).

 

The complaints about pain have stopped and we prepare to

meet with the rest of the group on the skyline peloton into Paris and the iconic Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower.  Campbell calls the peloton a Pelican to get a giggle of approval and then goes on to repeat it time and time again repeatedly asks if it will be included in the blog. He is driving me mad and in the end that I tell him no but his “other one liner will if you do not shut up.”… oops.

 

Campbell is not alone and Femi and John also slide along side me as the day goes on to get assurance that I am not too explicit with the names and comments bounded about in the light hearted name the leader session.

 

We say goodbye to the sister’s “How do you spell Ivel” asks Richard.  “What is that?” we enquire “That Tower we are meeting you at”… He needs to get out more – we set off to the heart of Paris.

 

Country roads, take me home

To the place I belong

West Virginia, Mountain Mama

Take me home, country roads

FFS!

 

The drive into Paris is great fun especially as the organisers have instructed the group that under no circumstances must the peloton stop even if it is going through traffic light.  His next comment sealed my fate “So people who are not very brave should be at the front”.  The words red, rag and bull spring to mind.

 

…So here I am at the very back of the peloton with Team Apogee.  I advise them that the wildebeest’s that stay on the edge or back of the herd are the ones who get picked off by lions but that fell on deaf ears – especially Campbell’s…  It is great fun and every  hairy moment in the Parisian traffic is greeted with a cry of “keep your bottle Femi” not that our lemming in waiting needs such encouragement.  We arrive to a rousing welcome, Champaign and family.

 

300 miles after that chilly start in Crystal Palace, via Myra Hindley, “Say hello to my little friend” hills in Ashford, climbing almost twice the height of Mount Everest, sleeping through more night time trombones than the Royal Albert Hall and the pain; the fu**ing pain; we are bathed in glorious sunshine under the Eiffel Tower.

 

I have done many things in life but this one I will remember for ever.  Jason and to a lesser degree Barry have been long time friends of mine but after the past week I have a different bond with them, Femi, Campbell and John.  It is something that has nothing to do with work and transcends friendship.  Only they know how I have felt, how I have doubted, how I have hurt and how I feel right now.  We are ‘blood brothers’ in arms.

 

There was no party last night and no blog. I just switched off the light and joined the band.

 

Country roads, take me home

To the place I belong

West Virginia, Mountain Mama

Take me home, country roads

 

It is now Sunday morning and I am doing this the penultimate blog.  I hope that it has given you an insight into our challenge – we have enjoyed great support we have received many donations but I think that we have been great representatives of the people who back Apogee and the Charity.

 

Now we need to try to enjoy Paris a little before heading home.

 

Simply Red.

 

 

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