Another transition day. But moreover, an emotional day.
He’s been an amazing part of the group, and completed his challenge with style, fun, good wit and charm.
Of course his real achievement has been dealing with us 3 for a week.
Chapeau Rob – well done mate.
Really today was just about getting from an absolutely abhorrent hotel somewhere next to a dual carriageway and a roundabout – to Tarbes. Our launchpad for the Pyrenees. And also to drop Rob off at his family’s holiday villa for the next week – and to see him complete his ride, his challenge.
Emotions were running high – perhaps not captured by this photo – but it was a powerful moment.So we road to Madiran.
Strong, easy. Following a river, through a lovely valley – and I’d say the perfect last 20 miles for Rob. We had lovely scenery, bends in the road (important), and even some hills. We had time for reflection, something I think the bike is the best place for.
And as we had the odd chat in 2’s or 3’s or the whole group as we rode, it was clear we were all reflecting.
I’m an emotional sod, and I don’t like goodbye’s, so saying bye to Rob was quite hard.
Polly and Charlotte were great, it was great to meet them and they put up a great spread for lunch.Thanks guys – a real pleasure. You may yet have some tents on your lawn.
So then there were 3.
We pressed on to Tarbes and made great progress. Really nothing else to write.
We have an apartment tonight and have spent the last 4 hours doing laundry (essential), eating some dinner, drinking some Rose (obvs) and most importantly doing some bike maintenance in prep for tomorrow’s huge ride.
I say ‘doing the laundry’ – we did it in the car park of a supermarche – right across the road. Slightly mad, and madder that Rob, and Polly, met us there in there car – whilst doing a shop for their holiday and coming to get Rob’s stuff from Kevin and Abigail. It was odd though – and having a final beer with rob in a car park was perhaps not the most fitting good bye – I was still emotional.
So Rob’s gone.
Ands the three of us continue.
Allez le gang…
One last thing to say.
For Matt (Lamby), today and tomorrow, and for a long time beyond will be hard, a test, and a time to re-figure out what life really means.
He had some dreadful news today. News that his very good friend Robin passed away on Thursday night. Losing a battle with a very aggressive cancer. It had only been 6 months since the diagnosis – and although I think his group of friends knew this would come – it is never easy when it does, and it is always too soon.
Matt has been telling us of cycling with Robin, of being cuffed at squash, and just all of life’s moments with him.
I know every moment of quietness will be filled with those memories. And I know as Matt spends 3 or more hours tomorrow climbing the Tourmalet his thoughts will be of Robin and his wife, and very young child.
God bless them, and Matt.
Perhaps the incredible achievement that Matt is acting out, will in some way, especially tomorrow, honour his mate.