Sunday, 26 July 2015
I arrived at Rubicon, the official finish of the Race to Rhodes, with Gawie and Andrew at 14:50. The ride from Tenahead had taken just over 90 minutes. Andrew stayed for a short while and then pushed on to Chesneywold. Tim had yet to arrive and Gawie had started a day ahead of me so was a day slower completing the race. The previous best riders to Rhodes had covered the distance in 4 days and something like 7 or 8 hours. My time of 3 days 8 hours 50 minutes although 17 hours slower than the previous year was good enough to secure the win.
Having arrived at the start line hopelessly prepared with little to no training I had managed to win my first Freedom Challenge event. It hadn't been easy and I will definitely be back to race it again but never again without adequate training.
Janine finished less than 2 hours behind me having dug deep to prevail in spite of the severe pain she was in. To my shame I was in the bath when she finished and was not there to greet her when she came in. I am not proud of that. We had ridden together for 3 days and I missed the opportunity to celebrate her success. She had finished faster than I though she would have. She is one tough lady and rode hard on that last day in incredible pain to get to the finish. Incidentally, she also finished well ahead of Tim's arrival in Rhodes.
Last word. On the trip home Janine thanked me. I commented that she had nothing to thank me for as she was often much stronger than me and knew exactly where she was going. She didn't need my help in any way. Her reply is one I did not expect. She said that she was in incredible pain in Vuvu and wasn't sure if she could get to Rhodes. Then she thought back to Allendale on day one of the race. She said "When I saw you stand up at Allendale, completely shattered and say to me, 'come lets go' I realised that we are so much stronger than we think we are. I decided that even if I had to crawl I was going to get to Rhodes. Thank you for that."