St Albans man completes 24-hour charity Paris cycle ride
PUBLISHED: 07:19 10 March 2012
A CYCLIST has described his emotional journey as he completed a record-breaking trek from St Albans to Paris in just 24 hours on Saturday.
Dean North, 26, took on the mammoth challenge alongside friend Liam Smith, 24, to raise money for Cancer Research UK.
Unfortunately, a physically exhausted Liam had to drop out soon after the pair reached France but a determined Dean, from St Albans, went on to cross the finish line in 23 hours and 40 minutes.
He said: “It was such a huge achievement and I was ecstatic, overwhelmed and emotional at the end. Knowing that all the work I put in had paid off was such a relief; I would have been gutted if I hadn’t made it.”
But it was not all plain sailing for Dean, who had to contend with some difficult weather conditions along the way.
He said: “It was fine from St Albans down to the ferry port but as soon as we hit France we were challenged by the weather.
“The fog was so thick that I could only just see past my front wheel and I managed to get lost a couple of times, which was quite scary. I had no signal on my phone and no money but I managed to get myself back on track.”
After taking the opportunity to cycle around the Arc de Triomphe (and nearly getting run over three times) Dean arrived at the Eiffel Tower, where he was met by his partner Sarah and young son Noah, as well as friends who had made the journey in support cars.
But Dean still had no idea if he had manage to break the 24-hour barrier as he didn’t have a watch.
He said: “I took my watch off on the ferry, as it was uncomfortable and my phone was in my back pocket; I thought I could just rely on clocks but couldn’t see anything because of the fog!”
Dean continued: “I couldn’t sleep that night, as I was just so excited that I’d done it.”
Dean is now well on the way to reaching his £10,000 fundraising target and will be taking part in the Liverpool half marathon in two weeks to boost his total further. If you would like to sponsor Dean you can do so by visiting: www.justgiving.com/stalbans2paris