Reflections from Chris Ward
12 days after completing his epic journey through France by bike, we spoke to Chris.
What words sum up your experience?
“There are three words for me that sum up the 3 days in the saddle ‘disappointment’, ‘adventure’ and ‘team’. For me as an athlete I need to set specific objectives and goals (in discussion with my coach). This is why the specific objective of 50heures was so important. Following the problems encountered during the trip to Macon, we realized that reaching the goal of 50heures would now sadly be out of reach. It was hard but Rich and I changed the goal to finishing before midnight. This enabled a restart driven by new focussed motivation”
What role dis your Coach play?
“Rich played an important role in this challenge, without him and his experience as an athlete and coach I would never have completed even half the journey. His specific workouts for months and the kindness of “Le LAIDLOW” family allowed me to be in the best possible shape to face this first challenge.
I started the challenge without injury, in fact I rode the first 20 hours to Lapierre Bike Factory in Dijon carefree with an average higher than expected”.
When did the problems begin then?
“From Beaune I started having an issue with my right knee that made me suffer (a lot!). From that moment, I had trouble even rolling at 20kmh. We alternated between cycling and massage so that I could at least continue the adventure, but it ate into time terribly. At Couzon-Au-Mont d’Or, it got so bad that we stopped for a complete hour to try and find and then try and fix the problem with Chantal Kibbey, my sports massage therapist. Her years of experience enabled her to identify and address the issue, which at least allowed me to continue (albeit with regular massages to relieve the pain)”.
So is 50hours achievable?
“Now home and after talking to both Richard and Chantal we all believe that yes 50heures is achievable. Are we going to attempt the adventure to make the crossing in less than 50 hours ????”
Who do you want to thank?
“In addition to Rich and Chantal and my sponsors Mavic, Garmin, Lapierre and Torq, I would like to say a huge thank you to all the people who gave of their time or services for free to help me in my challenge and who helped to raise awareness of cystic fibrosis.
All the people who waited on the side of the road: Anthony Oliver (Oliver and Eve by car) and to all those who rode with me for several hours to Troyes, Luc and Jean-Baptiste Dupuis (Lyon to Condrieu), Sam Laidlow (Lattes to Narbonne), Emmanuel Daffos (Fitou to Perpignan), Gaetan (Perpignan to Amélie-les-Bains), Triathlon Catalan and finally two of my best friends Marc Villa and “Vallespir Migou” for the last 28 km climb up to Lamanère.”
So whats next?
“I have other adventures and challenges foreseen in the coming months and until September …. They are not made to create world records but to show that everything is accessible to everyone with a little determination, good training and especially the desire to succeed”.