Usual morning up times though for the first time all the riders were in breakfast before we were..keen to get today..the last day and the one with the time limit...underway.
In theory I should have been back van today but as we were headed to Spain and somewhere new I volunteered and was willing accepted to be scout. Our usual spot in Cerbere didn't want to accommodate us in July / august so hence we were migrating south to Portbou.
The drive there was fine..zoned out a little on the drive and almost shot through Cerbere without realising it. Up and over a col to Portbou which has a very different feal to it. While I love Yves at our normal hotel in Cerbere, Portbou just had a little more character to it and of course it is Spain. Though the parking is a pain in the derrier. Parked badly then sorted the rooms and the dinner, and got back to Cerbere by just after 10. Not bad going there! Very fast time. Eventime to have a coffee before sorting the finish line celebrations.
Bit of waiting for them to arrive and then at 12ish the tandem came in. Champagne popped and celebrations started. G turned up in Frodo and then the others came in over the next half hour or so. The champas seemed to evaporate and the riders moved onto other booze..beer then wine...we had to remind them that there was a little more cycling to go to get to the hotel, and then after photos left them to their lunch. We headed off and got an ice cream each and sat watching the beach and having a good natter and a return to normality.
After which we headed back to Portbou with the riders wobbling along behind us. Unfortunately work for us was not finished. We had to offload the bikeboxes and get the tools etc ready for the riders when they got back. There was also the hire bikes to dismantle, repair and clean, I think it was just before 7 that we were done. Just enough time for a shower before heading back down stairs to give out the certificates and badges and to congratulate the guys. One moving addition to the usual presentation was something G read out that was written by the man on the tandem describing his cycling crash 6 months ago that left him with multiple bad injuries to his chest and legs and was unable to talk and use his jaw for months. It was a letter of thanks to his wife who had been with him the whole way and got him through it. This trip was their way of sticking their fingers up at the accident and moving on. I don't think there was a dry eye in the room when it finished. Those two were lovely and they really made the group and were an inspiration to us all.
During dinner it also turned out that another rider had made a momentous decision while on the raid..up the Tourmalet in the fog actually..he quit his job and was going to do something that was actually worthwhile and contributed to society. Good on him..another brave move.
Dinner was a huge amount of food, complimented by a huge amount of wine. At 6€ a bottle it didn't put too much of a dent in the budget. Though we did stop paying 9 bottles down....
Not sure what time I went to bed but some of the guys just kept going, moving onto spirits and only made it to bed in the wee hours.