Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Liar, liar, pants on fire.

The only thing worse than being caught with your pants down, mid lie, it to lie more to get out of it. Once you reach the stage or having to lie to cover your lies, it's all going to go very wrong! And there is no better current example of this than the goings on on a local community forum.

There is no hiding the fact that I have had my fair share of run-ins with the forum, or more precisely, its admin. No love lost there, but then walking away from the site and not looking back has been one of the best things I have done for my mental health in years. For others, stepping away while their name is being defamed has been a little harder.

Recently a local lady, who I must say does a heck of a lot for the community in her own right, took matters into her own hands.

Having had running battles with the admin for a couple of years now, with back and forth of comments on social media about each others behaviour, things reached a head. The admin of the forum has a habit of making up fake or sock-puppet accounts in order to troll, attack, and stalk people who have blocked him from seeing their accounts on his other 20 or so Twitter accounts etc.

This blog actually got some attention from him a little while ago. Comments made on a couple of entries by "Mateo C" and "Dennis" were indeed without a doubt his work. Strangely, once called out on it, outed on social media, it stopped. Albeit after a little denial and mocking by him.

Comments like this are really appreciated, especially when struggling mentally, and knowing the person posting them knows full well the damage they are doing.

"We are go" sounded pretty exciting... until I read further and discovered another self-obsessed, cringeworthy and boring post. 

Where do you find all this time to write such mundane and repetitive noise, for the benefit of your eleven followers? 

And there's so much pent-up spite and bitterness in everything you write about your area. If you hate the people around you, why not do them a favour and move on to somewhere that has the drab food and drink chains you crave. Basically, any low-rent, undesirable town, anywhere in the country would offer everything you need from life (or so it seems from reading your crappy monologues)

Dennis abuse
Mateo C abuse

So as you can see, there are no lengths the man will not go to, to cause hurt and upset, and in some cases, going further to try and damage peoples names. Mentioning you in tweets about things he doesn't like, telling others to contact you to air their anger or disappointment at something as mundane as a Costa Coffee opening locally. Yup, really! Using the social media accounts of the forum to reach a wider audience, to make sure at least some upset parties read it and get in touch, even if he can't because he is blocked.
Belittling efforts made to be healthier and fitter, suggesting you are overweight and its funny to see you try and do something about it.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg of my experiences.

One person, dozens of stories of mistreatment, mis-use of the forum, it's social media accounts and its following. All for personal satisfaction, and maintaining a little control over things.

So in the latest episode, the admin started up another twitter account, with the intent of getting accepted as a follower, in order to read the tweets on the local ladies account. Not just Dave1947 or something, no no that would be too simple. Instead making up a fake West Indian Bakery, calling it Flava Baker. Complete with images of patties, a bio, use of Patios, following other similar businesses, and following the local forum. Then for authenticity, having a conversation with themselves between the admin account and the Flava Baker account, and putting a post on the forum welcoming the business to the area. Those are some extraordinary lengths to go to, to simply get to see the tweets of someone who doesn't want you reading them. Private means private. Unless you mean private messages on a forum, but that is another matter!

Wise to this behaviour, the local lady became suspicious of the new follower, and started asking questions. These were mainly about the  accounts claim that there was a dispute between the business owner and the webmaster. Another elaborate storyline to draw people into believing it was a real thing. After a bit of back and forth, she was now convinced that is was the admin of the local forum, so in a strange, powerful, and rather far reaching move, she collated a load of information about the forum admin, and sent it in an email to the email address of Flava Baker, confident it was actually the forum admin. Keeping up?? Phew!

This email contained a collection of pieces of information and pictures taken from the admins very open and public social media accounts. Nothing found by means of deception or stalking (as has been suggested). The way it was put together was a little questionable, and for the brief moment it was made public, some felt it was very threatening, although no threats were made in the email.

Now I mention it being made public, this is the strange part. Up until this point, information had been taken from a public internet space, collated and sent to one individual, believed to be the owner of the information, which it indeed turned out to be. It contained no identifying information, first names at best, and no mention of the forum admin
In a very strange move, the admin took the email, pretended that Flava Baker had forwarded it to him, and then posted it publicly on the most open part of the forum. Along with a very damaging statement about the local lady, complete with full names, and a lot of accusatory language. Interestingly, the claim that it had been sent to him by Flava Baker didn't add up. How had they worked out who to sent it to?
After the outrage started on the forum, the victim status now well established, the lies continued. Going on to say that Flava Baker had reached out to him with the information, and allowed him access to their email and social media in order for him to put together a complaint if needed.  Many of the posts on the forum suggested he go to the police with the information. However in what appeared to be an act of compassion, and one that was spelled out very clearly for maximum effect, he stated he didn't want to hurt her or her family by filing a report.

Very quickly it became talk of social media, as well as questions being asked on the forum thread itself. Until one local well respected gent called the admin out on the story, and picked a few holes in it publicly.

From this point on, the lies to cover the lies really got going.
In an unexpected act of honesty, the forum admin posted a tell all statement, admitting he was indeed the owner of the Flava Baker account, and had used the account to try and get access to the private tweets of the local lady. Stating that it was to defend himself again the hurt and defamation he believed she was posting. Initially this was welcomed, and he was wooed with compliments for his openness and honesty, and how terrible it must be to "live in fear" of such a person. However that didn't last for long.

Questions about his honesty and integrity soon started to appear. So in a regular move, a mod moved in and stated the thread would be closed as it had served its purpose. Again, this was met with resistance, and people demanded it stay public and open. To prove their point, mods posted a poll asking what they should do with the thread. Within hours the votes were not going their way, so it was moved to another part of the forum, which while visible, allowed far less people to interact with the thread and the poll. 24 hours later and a vast percentage had voted to keep the thread open and visible to all.

Shortly thereafter, it was announced that a police investigation had been launched, so the thread needed to be locked, and moved from public view, so not to influence or interfere with the "ongoing inquiry". Convenient?

Meanwhile on a neighbouring community forum all hell was breaking loose, and people were free to express their thoughts on the man and the matter, without being moderated, or told off for doing so.

That thread is here.... Open and free discussion

Statements were posted on the local forum asking for people to stop discussing the matter, and not to mention it again on the forum, all for the sake of the police investigation.
Now it is worth noting that when asked for proof of this investigation, namely in the form of a Crime Reference Number, everyone from the forum declined to provide one, simply stating that they had seen it, and were satisfied that it was genuine. When asked to name the people named on it, and confirm that the local lady who had sent the email, and was therefore involved in the thread which had been moved to protect the investigation, was the subject of the police report. Again, this request was denied, and a statement saying, no names would be given, was made.

Now anyone who watches CrimeWatch, the local news, reads the local papers, or follows Police on Twitter, will know a Crime Reference Number is a simple code which can be used by people to offer information to ongoing investigations. It identifies no-one, mentions no names, indicates nothing about a crime, and only means something to anyone directly involved. If you approached the Police with the number and had no relation to the case, you would be left none the wiser. However in this case it is a crucial and secret piece of information. Or is it.

My theory is that while this CRN may or may not exist at all, the speculation about it is being used by the admin to continue his abusive control over the local lady. Much as he was happy to make deeply hurtful comments to me while I was low, he feels this is his the only thing he has left to try and maintain some control over her. Occasionally mentioning it when the opportunity to gather some pity and support presents itself, like recently on Twitter.

The above was posted recently, strangely, discussing matters which are apparently not to be mentioned in public as they are part of an ongoing investigation, so some would have you believe.

Up until now, the entire moderation team of the forum have stood behind his statements of desperation driving him to use the Flava Baker account, and that this is the only time he has used sock-puppet accounts to attack someone like this. Dozens of other people would say otherwise. The same group of people who are slowly coming together, sharing stories of how they have feared repercussions for speaking out or against the admin and his ways. Sadly, it is all very convincing from his side of things, or at least in the very controlled way information is allowed to be exchanged. In favour, all is well, speak up. Against or questioning, shut your filthy mouth!

As the weeks go on, the appetite for the topic is fading, but the questions remain. Still unwilling to part with the CRN, even though a number of parties have made inquiries with a number of police forces, and come up with nothing after extensive checks against many parameters. However the appetite for speaking out against this treatment is growing, fast!

From all this we can see that the admin is of questionable integrity, happy to hurt people for his own personal gain. So much so that he has apparently decided not to moderate the forum any longer. However keeps being seen active on the forum. A couple of previously low profile accounts have suddenly assumed a very high profile presence, and almost become a moderator in their own right, strangely using very similar language, and having very similar tells to the admin himself. Strange!

What will become of all this, what will happen next, well that is anyones guess. But one thing is for sure. In the process of all this, the interest and trust in the local forum has been damaged, and if the apparent love for the local forum is really what drives the admin, he will do something to let things recover. Step away? People fear this is not possible from a technical standpoint. But how can trust return with someone lacking in integrity at the helm?

As I say, we will all have to wait and see, but all I can take away from this is, the whole thing was caused by himself, dragging mods into the whole situation by asking them to manage the forum in favour of his side of the story. So if anything should become of it, the whole admin and mod team will be in the line of fire for action and inaction.

PS, I should add, the irony value of any sock-puppet account being used to comment on this will be priceless.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

#L2A2019 London to Amsterdam #Amsterdone

Could not decide on the title, so went with them all in the end, for the best I think.

So where do I even start with this!! Five days of travelling with an amazing group of people. All with one common goal, which was to raise as much money as possible for St Christopher's Hospice. To help them fund, and continue to provide a much needed, and well  known and respected asset in the local community. To date, this trip has raised in excess of £165,000 , which is quite frankly amazing. Although that said, from the data collected on money spent on alcohol consumption on the trip, if that had been donated instead of drunk, I reckon we would be nearer £200k.  Just kidding 😆

So back to the trip, so much to say! I guess the logical starting point is... Day1 !

Day 1 - Sydenham to Calais

An early start for all, getting to the hospice for 6.15 to get registered and ready to go. A stressful time for me, I don't do crowds very well at the best of times, let alone when preparing to ride through four countries. All the same, I got on with it. Some badly timed banter from someone I didn't yet know started things off badly for me, but I won't dwell.
Once riding, we all got into our stride, and headed into the morning rush-hour to escape London. After a bit if a battle we were heading out through Biggin Hill, clearer air and roads awaited.
A group of us decided to blow through the first water stop, early in the day, just wanting to get the miles to the lunch stop done.
Ploughing on it was soon lunchtime, and we stopped at a lovely little pub.

First fall of the trip went to Darren, who unlike everyone else, had decided to take a closer look at the banking next to a pond full of bright green pond weed. Everyone knew the exact spot. Well done Darren, glad you were OK.
Lunch however turned into a bit of a stressful mess, with early arrivers ordering their food, only for it to be taken by those arriving later, leaving those of us who got their first, last to eat, then dash.

Back on the bike, and hills starting to appear, it was not long before not taking on enough fluids started to take it's toll, and my quads started to cramp up. Eventually choosing to get off and walk up a couple of the hills. But not before having to squat at the roadside, as standing was impossible! Making a phone call as I walked up the hill, I charged up my mental an physical batteries once more.

From the top of the last hill, it was not long before the wonderful sights of the signs for Dover appeared, and the day started to wrap itself up a bit. Sadly, arriving in what was now coming on for evening school run and rush hour, progress through town to the port was a little slow, but I was in no rush, we had made good time for sure. Rolling along the prom towards the meeting point, there was relief in my mind for sure. As well as a little trepidation.
To ease this, I decided to take a quick ride up and down the prom on the cycle path, and take in the scenery. It was now getting quite windy, so the ride along the jetty/pier was fun to say the least.

Now back to the group, just in time to move off into the port itself, and get ready for the ferry trip over. How much fun was that! Riding into the port, then being escorted by official vehicles through to the holding point before boarding the ferry. Must have been a sight for sore eyes. Or a PITA to be sat behind while trying to make your ferry. Either way... I think we all enjoyed it. On to the ferry, bikes stowed, time to get some food. For me, fish and chips was the obvious choice.
Choosing to sit alone, and have some me time, I relaxed for a while, updated social media, and got some rest (not sleep, just rest!)

Before we knew it, we had arrived at Calais, quick briefing of what would happen next, which actually turned out to be quite the farce, but not dwelling....!! And we were off, riding through the port looking for the exit. Finally found, we made our way to the hotel for the night. As soon as I had my room key, and knew the plan for the morning, I was missing! Some time on my own, time to unwind, and prepare myself for the next three days of riding.
It was a lovely room, and I have to say here a MASSIVE thanks to Jo from St Chris, who arranged three out of the four nights to be single room for me. Not having that would really have changed how the trip went. It was enough of a struggle as you will see, but this was a blessing.
So room, prep, pics, rest!!

Day 2 - Calais to Brugge

The fun was about to really begin. After changing forecasts over the past week, the weather which finally arrived was far from ideal 20-30mph headwinds, across flat, open farmland. GREAT!

Downstairs, the breakfast room was already buzzing. A bit much for my comfort, but I grabbed some food and a single table. Eating before rides is not something I do in general. In fact eating in the mornings isn't my favourite at all. But taking the advice of the many, get some brekkie in you they said, so I did. Fluids were aplenty, keen not to get cramps like Day 1. That much at least worked. Although the heavy fluid intake the night before came back to bite about an hour into the ride!!
Out the back to put bags on vans, and hear the morning briefing. After the briefing I had my first glimpse into the realisation that I was not the only one dreading the day ahead, mentally unprepared.

Before long, we were out into the streets of Calais, and heading to the outskirts. Sadly within a few hundred metres of the start the first accidents happened. Thankfully people more shaken than actually hurt. Hope everyone is OK now.
On a calmer day I am sure I would have really appreciated the scenery more, but riding into a headwind, and struggling to maintain even 10mph, well that gets boring and tiring very quickly. 250w being used to achieve a speed that would see the day taking 8-9 hours in the saddle. Nope, that isn't the one!

Open fields, mile after mile, occasionally heading into the shelter of a small town or a tree lined area, the mind was already playing games with me. Full of self doubt, I plodded on, riding alone most of the time, so not to be a burden on any groups, and allowing me to stop as and when I pleased. Something I discovered a few other men in the group doing also. Nice to not be the only one having that mindset.
The first water stop seemed to take an eternity to reach, but we finally made it, having joined Stewart and Hannah for the last few miles. Loveliest of lovely company for sure, and a pair I would spend more time with throughout the trip.

Next stop, lunch. But not before many more miles of unrelenting headwinds. Whenever you rode with others, the topic was very much about the wind. Not that there was much time for conversation, all energy was being used just to keep the bikes moving, However, the skies did start to clear, and at least we were now starting to get some sunshine, even if it was in a headwind. So I guess I could go so far as to say that the scenery was starting to improve. Small towns and villages, open roads, all had quite a rough road surface, which really did start to wear on my hands and wrists after a while.
Deciding to use a single ear pod to give a little music and distraction, I managed to get into a stride after while.

Stopping from time to time, to stretch, and take photos, I was having severe highs and lows. Sometimes hoping the van would pass, and suggest I got in. Playing the conversations over in my head of what would be said etc. The quitter in me was hard at work.

After my earpod dropped from my ear, and spending 5 mins searching before finally finding it, I was done with lows, for the time being at least, and it was time to get to the lunch stop. Catching the wheel of a couple of kind souls, I at least got some respite from the gruelling headwinds for a while. Before being dropped once again. Or should I say, letting myself be dropped. Pushing too hard to hold the wheel in front is almost as soul destroying as watching it pull away from you as you finally let go!
Lunch must be near now, right!
Riding solo now, deep in my train of thought, I turned onto another long road. As I pedalled I heard a whistle, looking round I saw a local walking along. Turning back I muttered "arsehole" to myself and carried on... Another whistle, this time I look harder. It's the group, set back from the road. I had almost just missed lunch!!

Off the the bike, time to get some blood back in the rear end, and hands. Lunch was at a beautiful little place. At the morning briefing we had been told that the idea was to push on early for the day. Our destination for the day, Brugge, a beautiful place that we should arrive at in good time for a fun evening of exploring. Sadly the restaurant had other ideas. Arriving in good time, I was there for about 10.50am, with lunch not til 11.30, or at least that was the plan. All seated on time, we sat and waited. We were told it was a three course lunch, a little excessive for a cycling group who wanted protein and carbs, a quick break then get going.
Starters came out by about 12.15, with pause then for about another 45 mins before mains showed up. By the time everyone was done eating their chicken leg and rice (underwhelming for such a long wait), it was gone 1pm. So much for pressing on.

Now in the midday sun, plus a little weighed down from lunch, and still fighting the wind, the afternoon was a chore. Finally reaching the borders of Belgium, the cobbles appeared. Beautiful to look at, undesirable to ride on for sure! How they do the Paris Roubaix I do not know, and quite frankly, don't ever want to know how it feels! None the less it was nice to finally be in the next country, so it felt like progress was being made. The roads, now of mainly brick and cobble were not fun to ride a road bike on. My decision not to take the CX bike with nice 32c tyres was revisited in my mind a number of times.
Stunning scenery just kept coming, and my first thoughts of "I really must come back here" came into my mind. If only the wind would give us a bit of a break. Wasn't going to happen, well not for long anyway.
Riding alongside the canals was stunning. Quite a few stops for pictures had to be made, it would have felt like a wasted opportunity to just ride past it all, all for the sake of a more constant pace. It was not like I was right at the back anyway, so no drama. Soak it up and keep the mind occupied.

A short water break later, much needed by this point as the temperatures were really starting to climb, and it was off onto the final leg of the day. Longer smoother roads now for the best part of the rest of the journey. With many more bike paths starting to appear, segregated from the roads. However one thing I discovered to my amazement was that mopeds are allowed to use them. Makes sense once you are aware of them popping up, but certainly a surprise when the first one appeared. Stops every five miles was now the arrangement I had with myself. Stay fresh, rest frequently, and drink plenty. It was also a good opportunity to get some more pictures. More staged ones, rather than rolling roads. From here on in, it was going to be enjoyable and memorable I decided, and soon the city limits appeared.

Arriving at the old city walls, the trail of orange guide arrows seemed to dry up, and Garmin was relied upon to find our way in to the final finishing spot. Arriving solo, I was soon a little lost, so just rode back to the main road, from where we all rode to the hotel together. What a relief it was to be with others. First time I had really thought that since the start. On arrival we realised we were actually one of the first groups to the hotel, so checked in and kicked back with a drink for a while.

For the second night I was sharing a room, sorry Bill! A prolific snorer and bad sleeper, I would not wish myself on anyone, so the whole evening and night was spent on edge.
Dinner was lovely, again I found myself with a great group on the table, Jan, Morgan, Jo, Fiona, John and more. Conversation was great, now all I had to do was get through the night of sharing. Back to the room, which I must say had a lovely view if nothing else, I just wanted sleep. My day was done.

I should add here, stewed beef, with chips, I can handle. But add stewed apples to the plate and I get confused. First of a few strange combos.

Day 3 - Brugge to Breda

Less wind forecast, but clear skies and high temps, Day 3 was set to be the nicest so far. Most of the day would be spent on cycle paths as we were now deep into the cycling centre of Europe. Hopefully this would be the first of the days I had expected when I signed up for the ride.
Setting off after the briefing, it was already clear that the pace was right up there. Riding in a decent group, we were making good ground to get to the ferry for 9.40am.. Because that when the first ferry was, right... Nope. 10.15 was the first ferry we could get, so arriving just around 9.30, we had 45 mins of downtime, snack time, and stretch the legs.  Not a bad thing, and at least we had all found our legs at last.

After the ferry crossing, which I had again isolated myself from the others for some R&R, it was a strange old route out of the terminal, but soon onto amazing roads, now fast heading for lunch. Back running with the pack, the miles flew by, a couple of little stops along the way for photos and nature breaks, we were really making up for lost time. The sort of pace that we would have benefited from on Day 2. Getting to know new people once again, Matt, Toby, Jezz and more, it really helped my spirits riding along chatting to people that interested me. Sharing stories, having a laugh, group cycling (in tiny groups) isn't so bad after all!
Steaming along, we almost missed the lunch stop, with a quick glance though, it was in our sights, and it was a much needed rest from the sun which was really getting going now.

Lunch was a loud affair, but pleasant too. Another slightly strange meal, but better than the lunch the day before. Fed and watered we were under way again quite soon, into the midday melt. This was the stop where poor Mario (my bike) got his first and only injuries, with mean Andy moving his bike... lol. I'm just messing, **it happens right!
Lunch was followed by mile after mile of glorious cycle paths. By this point I was really starting to understand why so many people cycle here. I should point out, that we had been in the Netherlands for the majority of the ride.
The next little twist came in the confusion as to how far the next water stop was. Confidence was high that it could not possibly be too far, as it was a hot and long day. Wrong!
26-29 miles later we arrived at it, after passing through a sketchy housing estate, losing sight of the arrows, it was Garmin's time to save the day again.

Choosing to roll with a slightly slower group for the remainder of the ride, the pace was still plenty fast for me. In no time at all we were getting into Breda. Again, the afternoon had been spent with a variety of people, really helping break the day up a bit.

Hotel time! Hurrah. A loud rowdy reception awaited us there, which was a welcome sight for the first time. Lovely looking hotel, wasting no time I got in an checked in, stowing the bike away. While doing so, it was a good time to chat, and everyones spirits were SO much higher than the day before. Exhausted by ecstatic to have all had such a great day in the saddle, spirits were high.
Off to the room for me, a nice shower, get everything on charge, and back downstairs for a drink (of Pepsi) with the gang from the day. Again blessed with a single room, my hopes were high for a nice sleep. The room was stunning, I would happily book back in there to stay in the future.

Dinner time came round fast, but with some people still arriving way into the starters of the meal, it soon became apparent just how hard we had pushed that day. Knowledge of that was very rewarding to say the least.
So dinner, bread arrived first, a lovely selection. followed by soup 10 mins later. Now I am not sure if it was hunger or actual flavour, but it tasted amazing. Something me and Hannah would discuss for the remainder of the trip. Bit strange having the bread and soup as separate courses but hey, it was tasty!
The choice of main was chicken or fish (salmon on this day) much like the other days, which is fine. I went with the chicken.
The salmon was served with new potatoes.. the chicken was served with........ Well, look for yourself!

Yup, that is sweet popcorn!
Anyway, the food was good, the combinations just a bit strange. The strange theme continued with chips being served 10 mins after the mains. I personally would have preferred the chips with the chicken and the popcorn with dessert, but then I can't cook, so what do I know.
Off to bed once dinner was down, completely forgetting to find out the plans for the morning. Thank heavens for Facebook groups. Info secured, I was off to sleep.

Day 4 - Breda to Amsterdam

Time for the final push. Now aware of how much food my stomach could cope with before a ride, I decided to take things a little easier on the final day. So imagine my sadness on seeing the best spread to date, and a huge bowl of lovely crispy bacon!! If only I was not riding, but alas! Breakfast tucked away, bottles full, briefing done, we were off. Best day by far, weather, spirit, everything.

Out the doors, straight into amazing sunshine, gentle breeze, and onto mind-blowing cycle lanes.
I won't put all the picutres on here, as there are hundreds, but will instead put a link HERE for the full album, and just share a few of my favourites (as I have done for other days too). If there is one section of the whole ride to ride again, it would be this one. The paths, scenery, road users, places, everything is amazing. I will return here one day for sure.
So, breakfast to waterstop 1.

There isn't much more I can say, other than I loved every second of the first leg of the day. What's not to love! Great company great roads, nice pace!
Off to lunch stop.

Temps now into the 30's, getting out the sun for a while was a blessing for sure. Relaxing lunch with a few of the bunch. Once again presented with foods that I would not ordinarily choose. Dishwater with floating veg pieces! Ham and egg on lightly toasted bread. All a but strange but wow it hit the spot.
Going back outside after lunch, we suddenly realised how hot it was. Picking my group wisely, I stayed with Stewart and Hannah, steady pace, conversation but not too much, perfection.
We rode along some lovely roads, high above the houses, looking down over rivers etc. Again, stunning scenery, and the time simply flew by.

Last official waterstop was soon upon us, and much needed too. Not far to go as such, but some were really starting to run low on fluids.

From here, the afternoon flew by, and soon I was back riding with Toby, Darren, Mark and more, getting ever closer to the outskirts of Amsterdam. Frequent stops to take shelter from the sun for a bit, and rest tired legs.

Told there would be "holding points" for everyone to regroup at, arriving at HP1, it was simply a bar in town just away from the canal. Not in the mood to stop while everyone sat in the sun and drank beer, I decided to move on to HP2, which I was told " a few of the faster ones" had moved on to. Steady pace, on my own, it was perfect. Able to enjoy the scenery on a glorious weekend Amsterdam day, I really got a feel for what life there is like when unwinding. In awe of how many people simply put their swimming clothes on and rode to the river and park.

The last 6 miles to HP2 at the park were stunning, again, a few pics below.
On arriving at HP2 it was apparent that only 8-10 of us at most had made it. With the "grand departure" for the group arrival at the museum scheduled for about 4pm, it was not looking good. 4.20pm I checked with Hamish (one of the guides) who was as baffled as I was as to where people were.
I popped off to Subway to get some food returning just before 5. How many more had now arrived.... None!

Around 6pm the masses finally started to arrive. After a final quick briefing, it was time for the worlds most scattered group ride into the Museum.

Once there, I have to say I was feeling rather anti social, so went off to do my own little celebration, before waiting quietly to head off to the hotel

The final leg to the hotel was fun for all, soaked from sitting in the fountain. But again, fab roads and a perfect opportunity to see what was left in the legs, with a sprint for the lights. Max 1261w, with a 10 second 1000w sprint before the road ran out.
Finally, the hotel was in sight, get in, get stripped, get a shower. Aaah

All that was left was the celebration dinner, and sleep!
Burger and chips was not what I was expecting for the celebration meal, but it hit the spot.
Speeches were beautiful, it was lovely to all be wearing our finishers t-shirts and be awarded our medals.
After that, it was bedtime.

Night night Amsterdam !

The whole journey from start to finish was amazing, and so worth while. Even with the mental highs and lows, I would do it all again in a heartbeat.
I can't express my gratitude enough to certain members of the group. All I will say is, if you took the time to chat with me, and ask if I was OK when I was low, thank you, you made a huge difference. If we spoke at any length during the trip, I like and respect you, and that is big coming from me, honestly, so again, thank you for your company.

I have to put this last bit out there...
I am SO close to my £2,000 goal now, thanks to some amazing donations before and during the ride.
If you have not yet donated, and wish to, please feel free to visit my Just Giving at www.l2a.snazy.co.uk

Total to date...

Thanks for reading.
Remember the full #L2A2019 album is here