Saturday 20th May 2017
Wil Woan reviews the final day to Paris...
Day Three, the last and final day. It’s been such an brilliant trip so far and I can’t believe it’s almost over already. As we headed out of Beauvais, the sun was shining and the spirits were high. I think that we were all excited that we had almost completed our journey but also that we got to have one more day of cycling together as a team.
The scenery that we passed through was beautiful, lots of French countryside and quaint little villages. As we left Beauvais we stopped to see a magnificent cathedral and on our first rest stop we came upon a little village with cobble streets and ancient architecture - not to mention the fresh croissants!
There were a few bumps in the road today, so to speak, for one of our intrepid cyclists. Jonny, who is usually found at the head of the pack, had a bit of bad luck today. After three punctures, needing a new tire and getting a bit lost, he was back on track and made it to Paris not too long after the rest of the team. Well done to Jonny for persevering and not giving up!
When we finally made it to Paris, it was all systems go at the EuroPCR conference. The team made it with only seconds to spare for the Heart Valve Voice presentation and Anwen and Pat were able to take their bikes up on the stage with them. Phil McCarthy and I gave a short presentation to the attendees and it went really well, if I do say so myself. I was told at the end of the presentation that I was the first ever presenter to speak at EuroPCR in their socked feet, a historical moment!
Many thanks to the EuroPCR team for helping to make everything happen on the day. We had a nice corner to display our banners and got to meet some inspiring people. One such person was Alain Cribier, the pioneer of TAVI who performed the first every TAVI treatment 10 years ago this week. It was an honour to meet him and he posed for a couple of photos and signed our pledge to help raise awareness for heart valve disease.
Tonight we are having our last meal together as a team. We’ll enjoy some French food, a couple of much deserved glasses of wine and many laughs. It has been an amazing experience and I couldn’t have asked for a better team to do it with. Everyone has gone above and beyond anything I could have expected and I’ll be a gutted to say goodbye to them all tomorrow. We have decided that we will be having another bike ride next year and I truly hope everyone is able to re-join us and that we can add a couple of more new faces to the team. Bring on #HVVCycle18!
Also, a big thanks to everyone who has sent their support to Pat and the team over social media, it was your encouragement that kept us going. We will be posting our videos and some wrap up blogs and articles over the next few days so keep an eye out.
My final words are that although we did 250 miles I was pleased that there were just as many smiles along the way!