We caught up with Alex Matheson, one of the bosses at Fuel10K who told us about the incredible bike ride from London to Paris he took part in last weekend, all in aid of raising money for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
Not only has Alex ridden the Duchenne Dash ever since its inception, this year he was a ride captain in charge of one of the four groups of 40 AND his 74 year old father was taking part too! Did that give Alex any cause for concern? “Not really, Dad’s pretty tough but he hadn’t ridden a road bike until Christmas!”
The riders left South West London on Friday lunchtime and, according to Alex, this was the trickiest bit of the ride. “It’s very stop-start with all the traffic and a fair few of the riders hadn’t ridden in a group before, where actually bunching up is the best way to ride but it feels very counterintuitive if you haven’t done it before.”
It was 120 kilometres to Newhaven where the riders were given bags of Fuel10K goodies for breakfast the following morning. This is the “unglamorous” part of the ride, waiting for the ferry but no sooner were they aboard and got their heads down, then they’d made landfall in Dieppe at 4am GMT. “There are big white cliffs that greet you as you come into Dieppe which does make you wonder if the skipper has gone the wrong way and we’re actually in Dover!” notes Alex.
This was the long stretch now to Paris, with 3 breakfast stops including one at a chateau. “The French people were amazing,” says Alex, “We were cycling through very rural, very beautiful countryside and people would come out of their houses and cheer us on.”
The absolute highlight of the Duchenne Dash though was riding into Paris all bunched as one group now, with support cars and outriders, ensuring there was no need to stop at red lights. “It’s incredibly exhilarating±” says Alex. The team finished in front of the Eiffel Tower having done it! Was it emotional? “There were a few damp cheeks.”
Staggeringly, after 6 years this amazing charity is well on its way to eradicating the Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. With money raised from the Dash they’ve funded their own clinical trials and are shortly to begin gene therapy trials. “It’s pretty humbling and inspiring,” notes Alex.
And then money raise this year for the Dash? Over £1,000,000. Remarkable. Bravo to all who took part.