Andrew Parson recently completed L'Etape UK, the official tour de France sportive, in support of Crohn's & Colitis UK. Here, he shares his experience and motivation...
On Sunday 14th July I completed the 161km long route L’Etape UK. What a hard day of suffering that was, I was absolutely exhausted!
The sportive certainly tested my stamina for spending more time in the saddle than the usual couple of hours I’m used to. Cycling through the beautiful countryside of the Chiltern Hills did have its moments of joy, but the gruelling distance combined with the 2085m of climbing hills, and some of which hit a 20% gradient kept my head down and my suffering set to absolute maximum.
However, the suffering I experienced on that day was only within my mind and legs which would eventually come to an end once I'd finished the ride.
It was a small insignificant challenge compared to the suffering I witness my wife go through on a daily basis with the debilitating the with Ulcerative Colitis.
It was for this reason that I was personally motivated towards completing the event, and also decided to raise awareness for this awful invisible condition. I'm happy that I was able to raise some money for the charity, Crohn's & Colitis UK in the process.
It was a real personal accomplishment to complete my first century ride on a course that I believed to be a tough cycle sportive.
Although I did complain quite a bit on some of the hills throughout the day, my wife still called me a legend when she cheered me on at the midway point.
But effort, fatigue and pain are some of the things that my wife deals with on a daily basis with this completely hidden chronic condition, all without any complaints! She is the real legend!
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