Friday 12th March Lanark - Edinburgh Distance: 55km. Done: 2888 km. To go: 0 km Weather: Blue skies
We made it.
I am going to miss blogging as much as riding. So while I'm going cold turkey on the bike for a few days, I shall bring you some tales from Edinburgh over the weekend. Social diary and court reporting.
Safety was always the big issue for me - around 50 people on the road every day for four weeks, of massively varying ability, in hugely difficult conditions was a risky proposition but we survived. An accident would have cast a long shadow - but despite plenty of 'incidents' everybody survived. Then came the challenge whether we could raise £1million, and with your continued support we are well on our way, and finally we said we'd try and have fun. And my god have we laughed.
Last night's fines at the delightful New Lanark Mill Hotel - I got the Captain Bligh captaincy award for arriving with none of my team. It's a long story but fair. I know how John Terry feels. Dickie got the Jeremy Clarkson award for energy conservation, for attacking every hill from the front. Team captains all made speeches, including Paul Kimmage who insisted on telling Lawrence that he has not become a team player. You could fool me.
Simon Brydon thinks he's in Chelsea. At every little hotel we go to he asks for the same, culminating this morning in saying to the waitress 'that's not a macchiato, that's a hot chocolate'. We thought he'd lost the plot today, spurning the lunch stop (for champagne) and riding on, but he just stopped at his mother's for coffee (bet she doesn't do macchiato), and joined us on the run in.
Gavin Hastings, Andy Nicol and Jill Douglas all came, and I spent ten minutes showing John Inverdale how to change gear. Little ring at the front, big one on the back - for the climbs. Gabby Logan must be a saint - Kenny Logan is hyperactive - does he ever stop? Great fun and is taking us to the game tomorrow. As always a ticket crisis has been resolved and we are all going.
Dickie had a fall, Andy Nicol said his arse had never been so sore. I spoke to Tom Davies from Giant in Cape Town, where he is for the Argus on Sunday - he was having coffee with Lance Armstrong, down for the one day event, the largest in the world with 25,000 riders - and we are keeping our Giants. I am very attached to my TCR. Great bike. I rode cross Europe on Giant, Garmin and Gatorade. All you need.
A very simple uneventful 52km up and along the A70 today, so nothing really from the road. We rode in together, and Joanna and I shed a tear. We all embraced. A great turn out at Murrayfield, with all the riders creating the traditional alleyway with their bikes, and we got all our photos done. Ten of us set out from Rome and only Jonny (bad knees and fall) sadly didn't make it. Quite amazing. I finally rode with Greg - the last mile.
Every piece of cycling kit has been stashed in one bag. Good riddance for the moment. Just hit Pizza Express, and now it's party time at Malmaison....
Andrew Croker is part of the core team accompanying former England rugby union captain Lawrence Dallaglio on every leg of his epic 2,770km Cycle Slam which started on 12 February in Rome. They're riding between Nice, Paris, Twickenham, Fishguard on to Rosslare and finally Edinburgh. The aim to is to raise £1M to be shared between Sport Relief and the The Dallaglio Foundation. You can support the Cycle Slam at www.dallagliocycleslam.com.