Most people are happy to travel to Paris by train or plane...but not Horncastle couple Kelly and Nick Mowbray.
They have just completed a 300-mile cycle ride from London to Paris, in the hottest weather on record.
The stamina-sapping journey was no ordinary challenge as they’ve raised £4,900 for Alzheimer’s charity – a condition their family and friends have suffered from.
Kelly, a mum-of-two, admitted the prospect of letting people down was a big factor in them completing the route, often in temperatures in the mid-40s.
Kelly, now safely back at home in Horncastle, explained: “We’d done a lot of training and taken everything into account – apart from the fact we’d be facing the hottest weather on record!
“Other people who took part were passing out on the route – but we wanted to keep going.
“We’ve had such fantastic support and backing, we didn’t want to let anyone down.
“It was definitely a great feeling when we crossed the finish line under the Eiffel Tower.
“Unfortunately, we then discovered we’d have to cycle another four miles to get to our hotel!”
The News first revealed details of Kelly and Nick’s challenge earlier this year.
Since then, they’ve been ‘overwhelmed’ by the generosity of people.
Kelly added: “To date, we’ve raised £4,900 and the money is still coming in.
“We can’t thank people enough and every penny will go towards a really worthy cause.”
The first ‘stage’ of the challenge was an 86-mile route through the Kent countryside.
Even that was tougher than expected.
Kelly explained: “It was further than we thought and it was 30-odd degrees when we started.
“We knew there were a few hills but we also faced a diversion because a World War Two bomb had been discovered in someone’s front garden!
“The diversion was basically along a path with rocks and all kinds of other hazards. It would have tested a mountain biker.”
Once in France, the couple lapped up the miles and admit the sight of Paris was a mix of joy and relief.
The finishing stages coincided with the completion of the Tour de France – one of the world’s top cycling events.
The streets of the French capital were lined with people as Kelly and Nick cycled by the Champs Elyseees and the Arc de Triomphe before reaching the Eiffel Tower.
Kelly added: “I’ll never forget the last few miles. All the crowds were cheering us on. It was as if most of Paris had turned out. It was brilliant.”
Once over the finish line, the magnitude of what they’d achieved began to sink in...along with the task of counting various blisters and bruises.
Kelly said: “Everyone just started to cry like babies – even Nick. It was so emotional.
“Mind you, we soon stopped when we realised we had to get back on our bikes and cover another four miles to get to the hotel!”
Once they arrived at their accommodation, it was time for a long, hot – and well deserved – shower.
Then, the couple joined other equally proud riders to toast their success.
Kelly admitted: “There was a great atmosphere. Looking back it is amazing what we achieved.
“I’ve given birth twice and thought I’d never experience pain like that but this came very, very close.”
Although Kelly’s bike is now safely stored away, the couple say they won’t be stopping cycling. Nick is continuing his ‘crit’ racing career before moving to cyclocross in October.
They are both tackling the Belchford Mountain Bike Adventure Cross in September
•Kelly has put together a video log of their London to Paris challenge and it is on her Facebook page – look for Kelly Mowbray.
•If anyone still wishes to donate, their justgiving page is still live here