Team Velo is a three-day cycle challenge between two of the most iconic cities in the world: London and Paris. With participants covering an average daily distance of 74 miles, this is a real test of physical and mental stamina.
Raising vital funds for The Springboard Charity, which helps disadvantaged young people find work in the hospitality industry, 10 teams cover over 230 miles of beautiful English and French countryside as they power their way towards the finish line.
“It is a hugely physical challenge to ride 230 miles over three days, but so rewarding and for such a great cause.”
This year CH&Co Group was represented by eight intrepid individuals from Harbour & Jones, Lusso, Charlton House and Ampersand.
Matt Symonds from Lusso Catering took part last year and enjoyed it so much, that he organised this year’s team: “The thing that makes this event so special is the camaraderie from all the teams along the route. Everyone really wants to see all the riders cross the finish line and will help anyway they can. It is a hugely physical challenge to ride 230 miles over three days, but so rewarding and for such a great cause.”
From Harbour & Jones, Gary McKechnie, Laurent Lepelletier and Cedric Paris all knew what to expect, having completed the challenge in previous years. Fully equipped and with bulging saddle bags (inner tubes, energy gels, new cleats for shoes and of course a cyclist’s best friend, a big pot of chamois cream!), they joined their CH&Co colleagues for three long days of cycling.
Laurent Lepelletier had this to say about the challenge: “This is about both mental and physical strength. More importantly, it is about supporting Springboard and raising the much-needed funds to support their awesome work in helping young people achieve their potential and nurturing unemployed people of any age into work.”
The team did brilliantly, finishing third in a time of just over 15 hours. We asked Matt how the team had got along and how he felt when he saw the Eiffel Tower.
“Wow, what an amazing event. To take eight guys from different backgrounds, with different levels of fitness, who have never ridden together before and work seamlessly as a team from day one is really something special. You all have your highs and lows, but with your team around you, encouraging you along the way, gets you through mile after mile with a smile on your face. Seeing the finish line and the Eiffel Tower was such an amazing feeling. You realise, crossing that finishing line, what a massive achievement it really is and to finish in a line as a team makes it all the more special.”
We asked Gary what the most difficult part of the journey was for him.
“Well, apart from having to share a double bed with a bloke I’d only met 24 hours earlier, the hills were the hardest part!”
Asked if he would return again next year Cedric replied, “Yes, I would and if you asked me to go tomorrow, I would be in. I love being on my bike and the atmosphere of Team Velo is brilliant. Everyone is in such good spirits, it would be almost impossible not to have fun.”
The team have not quite reached their fundraising target yet, but you can help them achieve it by donating here.
Well done Team Velo 2017!