It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when that moment of no return is. That place in time when you throw yourself into something without looking back, with no regrets or doubts.
However, I know for sure that when I decided that I’d fully commit to cycling, I was on the final hairpin of Alpe d’Huez with my Uncle Roger. That was ten years ago now and since then cycling has given me so much more than I ever would have realised.
I knew riding up Alpe d’Huez today with Larry on our #NoGoTour would be a bit surreal; its the first time I’ve been back since that day as a fresh faced 16-year-old, although I didn’t realise just how emotional it would be
My Uncle Roger passed away three years ago and that hairpin on the Alpe carries huge significance. I can remember riding up that day, totally in awe of Roger and the whole circus that is Alpe d’Huez when the Tour is on. Then the race came through and I just knew I had to do that one day too.
That was the moment for me when I was totally and utterly inspired to chase that dream and when you return to such a significant place in your life, you can’t help but look back. All I could think of was how grateful I am that my Uncle Roger decided to ride up Alpe d’Huez with me all those years ago, starting a chain of events that I will be eternally thankful for.
Thankful for days like today… seven and a half hours, a gazillion cols, descending in semi-darkness as the sun sets, chased by sheeps dogs, scoffing our faces mid-ride in an Intermarche during torrential rain, blowing up completely on Col du Glandon, descending in torrential rain, finding a hotel just before dark, making myself hurt up Alpe d’Huez and saying hello to my Uncle Rog!
Simply riding for the hell of it.
It’s why we all started doing this in the first place, but then along the way it’s easy to forget. In all honesty, I was hoping to write this and explain why that feeling is so good. It’s been the sort of blog piece I’ve been wanting to write for so long, but never been able to find the words. I’m not sure I’ll ever pinpoint it.
I think that’s why we always go back, why there can never be one ride more epic than the last. Why we finish the ride and immediately start planning the next. Sometimes you have to go back to the start, to remind yourself of such things and today was that for me. Even if Larry did half-wheel me the whole way…