Four girls, three days, 510 miles to cover. That’s what our team, the Agria Quadesses faced as we embarked on the Extra Mile ‘Bike to the Future’ Challenge in September 2015. The route stretched from Le Mans, through the Alpes Mancelles, across the Loire Valley and finally onto the Monts Blond and Monts d’Ambazac – and, whilst there were many female riders, of the 35 teams taking part, the Quadesses was the only all-girl group.
Yes, it was tough, and at times we all had to dig pretty deep to make it. But we did – and we can honestly say that it was one of the best experiences of our lives. What made it so special?
We all agree that nothing is quite like the team spirit on the Extra Mile Challenge. The entire event feels so totally supportive, so much fun and so very friendly. We’d be lying if we didn’t feel our competitive sides emerge as we kept the lead ahead of our boys’ team for several hours one day. However, any competitiveness was very good natured – especially back at the bar at the end of the day!
On such a long and testing route there are going to be mechanical problems. But despite every team having its own car, cyclists from other teams never hesitated to stop and take time to help with punctures, chain issues – and in our case a rather challenging roof rack.
Lorraine, team leader of the Agria Quadesses, says, “This was my 5th Extra Mile Challenge, but first as an all-female team. As ever, it was an incredible event to be a part of, which certainly tested us all both physically and mentally. Motivating us throughout was the unique combination of raising money for two fabulous charities and the chemistry and support we felt within our team. Some of the Quadesses had only met a few weeks before the challenge, but from sharing the intense experience of the Challenge, we all left as great friends.”Once we’d made it across the finish line, as well as exhausted and in need of beer, we felt incredibly proud of our team. But will we do it again? We didn’t need to think about that one. Lake Geneva Challenge here we come!