It all started in a chilli morning or 21st of June… as in… 2 days ago!!!:) Can’t believe it…
I was a bit nervous… have to admit!
I’ve put on my helmet… took my AIESEC t-shirt (yay!) and… One very important detail – took my smiley flower and attached it to the front part of the bike.
And here I go… 5.30 in the morning cycling happily on an empty street and bam! all of a sudden i found myself surrounded by thousands of cyclists -amateurs and professionals… children and grand-parents… yellow, white, black and pink!
Fascinating!
The gathering point was in a big park in sw London – Clapham common!
The official start happened at 6 – me and my team – we were scheduled to leave with the 6.30 batch.
When I got there I suddenly realised I was so nervous that not only that I did not get to sleep too much but also I didn’t have breakfast :)))
Slight panic- reminded me of those mornings at 6.30 am on caderea bastiliei in Bucharest waiting for the university to open so that we can get good seats for the exams – anyway, got my snickers and chewed happily.

7am… still too many people… poor organization but finally we made it…bam! Start! go!go!go!
27,000 cyclists participated in the race!
Leaving London was not as tricky as I imagined – because there weren’t as many cars… but still a good few… all in all we were quite slow because there were too many of us.
Outside of London… that’s when the true adventure started… cyclist started speeding so the crowd was more fluid – 1st stop – after 10 miles – we waited for all out team mates (11) to gather and made a good cheer.

From now on we realised that each of us should focus on their own time and finish the race.
I decided to cycle next to a couple and another friend. They were very good – not too fast but a constant speed – and fast when climbing hills (pfew!) :)))
The road was going through forests, villages, wide fields… green, yellow, red – and a deep blue sky – amazing feeling of freedom.
The race was not left without some victims as not all cyclists were responsible… even one of my mates has gone through one – his chain fell off so he lost control and a lady bumped into him – she got a bit hurt – he was ok.
That’s what made us stay behind – we had to fix his bike and move on.
In times like this you realise how important it is to stick together and that the end goal is not to finish in a good time … but to finish together.
This is how I felt.
I could see that the team members were not friends as we were scattered all over the place – I was friends with 2 out of 11 and 2 others out of the remaining ones were fair play and waiting for others – I really appreciated that.

The final challenge was a pure killer.
There were several hills on the way – but the last one…was a mountain!!!!!
I cycled for about 1/2 of it… but ended up pushing my bike… me and 90% of the others… the 10% were courageous – honestly… considering that people were stopping to rest from pushing their bikes.. You can get a clue on how steep that hill was… I decided not to stop even when I felt like my leg muscled were as tense as hell… and that’s when I pushed harder.
It was all worth it close to the top – the view… was simply breathtaking… and on to Brighton was a beautiful valley… and you could see the sea.
I haven’t has such a good feeling since I went to Scotland!
Freedommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

People were extremely supportive… cheering for us all the way … giving us water… smiles and playing music.
But one of the most important things for me was to know that I had 2 friends waiting at the finish line.
The girls screamed like crazy when they saw me… and me… I was damn proud!
Finished the race in 6.5 hours… with a big smile on my face and with my mate which had the accident… together till the end!

My team raised 2400 gbp for British Heart Foundation

To be continued…

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