By Linda Hall • 29 July 2022 • 12:11
JOURNEY’S END: Rhett and his teammates celebrate their arrival in Paris
Photo credit: Rhett Groom
As the Euro Weekly News explained in June, amateur cyclist Rhett and 17 others had set themselves the goal of completing the demanding route ahead of the professionals.
They also set themselves the equally important goal of raising €1 million (€1.19 million) for Cure Leukaemia, which pioneers clinical trials for blood cancer and links patients to potentially life-saving options not currently available through standard care.
“It was a life-changing experience that left an indelible mark on us all,” Rhett told the Euro Weekly News, hours before flying out to visit his parents in South Africa.
Rhett, who is 54 and lives in Okehampton (Devon), has a holiday home in the Jalon Valley. This was a perfect base for his pre-Tour training sessions and conveniently near his Gandia-based cycling coach Paul Lowry.
Experienced though he is, Rhett had to follow an extensive training regime to complete the 3,441-kilometre route, of which 49,702 metres were uphill. He also burnt 94,420 calories during his 152 hours of riding in the searing heat of one of the hottest summers on record.
“Would you do it again?” we asked.
“Without a moment’s hesitation,” he answered.
It was more than a 3,441 kilometre journey, Rhett said. “It took us on another journey where we discovered what we were capable of.
“Each day we found the answer to our question of the night before, when we asked ourselves if we could do it again tomorrow.”
They did it again and again, Rhett added, finding the physical and mental strength to arrive in Paris on July 17.
The team spirit was vital to their success, he said: “I made new friends, met different people, many of whom I would possibly never have met, let alone spent so many days with under normal circumstances.”
“From a selfish point of view my teammates and I were on a high,” Rhett admitted. “We’d survived the infamous Roubaix cobbles, the Alps and the Pyrenees!”
From a less selfish point of view, the Tour 21 riders have already raised £900,000 (€1.1 million) for Cure Leukaemia
Rhett has overshot his target of £30,000 (€35,700) by more than £4,000 (€4,760) and with five more fundraising weeks left, the Tour 21 are confident that they will raise the remainder via the https://justgiving.com/campaign/thetour21 page.
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Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share?
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