And so to the final, emotional day of the Lockton Zurich to Munich ride. Who better to pen the final blog than Lockton partner and ride sponsor Neo Combarro? (Don't answer that.)
'The mood in the camp is good as we hit a dry road. We start a little late but that’s ok as we have an easy, rolling 116km from Oberammergau to Munich. The peloton is alive with the sound of music as we ride through the stunning Bavarian countryside. Max Boyce makes his debut on the ride playlist and, while it’s welcomed by the small Welsh contingency, we never get to hear the full repertoire as it’s soon changed for AC/DC and other more tempo-aligned tunes.
The peloton is rolling well and riders are all now in full networking mode with lots of chat. The weather plays it part and the drier conditions give everyone the opportunity to sit up and talk.
We have soon arrived at our first coffee stop, which is accompanied yet again by cake. I begin to worry I have a rear tyre puncture but realise it’s the weight I have gained as we have eaten our way through Switzerland, Austria and Germany.
We pedal on for 40km to lunch: three courses, which would ordinarily be very welcome, but I am now starting to miss the baguette and 15 minute pause I am accustomed to on the Club Peloton London to MIPIM ride. As has been the case at every stop, the food is superb and we all enjoy a long and leisurely lunch.
Final stage into Munich and more stunning countryside and villages that embrace traditional Bavarian culture. You can sense the enormous pride the locals have in everything Bavarian. Quicker than hoped for, we are in the suburbs of Munich, and the end beckons. A pleasant ride through a park and then we arrive at The Expo centre, all delighted to have be safe with no injuries and no mechanicals - extraordinary, given the challenges we had faced.
The finish to an event often hits you like a train. Bikes are quickly packed away and there are farewells all round. One minute you're surrounded by the people who have seen you at your strongest and weakest, have encouraged you, laughed with you, or just quietly suffered with you; the next they have disappeared and then there’s the anticlimax.
Not on this trip however! Lycra is quickly changed for Leiderhosen and, in a little over an hour, we go from glucose drinks in plastic bottles to Bavarian hop beer in steins. It's Oktoberfest!
What starts slowly, likely any Alpine climb, quickly escalates to free fall descent, with everyone dancing on benches, arm in arm with hundreds of other enthusiasts. People who had shared many a dark moment on day two were now enjoying the after party as they should.
Every Club Peloton ride I have participated on I have left all the happier for the experience and the new friends I have made. This event was no exception to that, and I am always grateful to those fellow cyclists who make this and every event so special."