Winds of change – Ziggurat ride, day three

Day three blog – by Penny Moss – on the Velocity-backed event

Winds of change – Ziggurat ride, day three

"I am Penny Moss, an associate at Planning Potential. What is the Ziggurat like? Well, we got very excited yesterday when we saw the Great Pyramids of Belgium (pictured above - ok, ok - they're slag heaps).

Day three of four started well: although Bridget Leary of Construction Europe would have liked a cooked breakfast this morning, the buffet was pretty good - and it didn't look like a plague of locusts had descended on it (Cycle to MIPIM riders - you know what I mean).

"The mornings are a bit chilly for my liking, but my knees were still out. Lee Hudson of GRS Bagging UK was clearly struggling though, with his shorts inside-out. (At least he knew where he was - but not for long as, despite the excellent signage throughout this trip, he got lost. Again.) And Nicola Rees of Hunter and Stone forgot to pull her bib straps on. Minds were beginning to fray...

"As for the cycling: rolling, they said, and rolling it was, through villages deserted except for dogs and florists. We left Arras just after 8am and headed for the Lutyens-designed Thiepval Memorial for coffee and Tunnock's caramel wafers. Who knew they could taste so good? Had a second bar just to check.

"Our historian, John Harris, of the International Guild of Battlefield Guides, gave us his daily dose of horrifying statistics: 16 pillars support the building, inscribed with 72,000 names of dead soldiers - all of them unknown, 'The Missing of The Somme'. (John can make us laugh too: on day one he told us we might find old ordnance, which farmers have dug up, by the side of the road, awaiting collection by the bomb disposal authorities. 'It's estimated that this stuff will be coming out of the ground for two or three hundred years,' he said. 'Don't be tempted to stop and have a look, kick it or prod it, because it might just go bang. And on that note, have a good day...')

"I took a look at the register of deaths for the name of a relative of a friend, but he's not at this memorial. Then back to the bike and a general consensus that the definition of 'rolling terrain' was most definitely being stretched. These were surely mountains.

"Thanks to my degree in geography, I know wind turbines are generally placed in windy locations. That was corroborated today by a full-on 27 mph headwind. We were never out of sight of a wind turbine today. I'm sure our briefing last night mentioned a tailwind, but maybe I had been distracted by food. Anyway, we battled the wind and gradients to the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux, from which the panoramic views were fantastic.

"After lunch the quality of chat decreased somewhat, as people concentrated on trying to hold their bikes on the road. Most of the words spoken were unprintable. But I was ever-so polite, honest, when I told Croydon Council's Julia Dawe that she would cycle up the next hill, and would not get off and walk it, channelling my inner McClary (Cycle to MIPIM in-joke - sorry).

"For the first time I was thrilled to get to an out-of-centre retail park, as it implied a centre! Eventually found the hotel in Saint Quentin and, over a beer, considered the day: 82 miles of mountains and wind, basically. Tomorrow I'm going to find a tailwind, cycle in that direction until 5pm, and then call the support van and say I'm lost."

It’s not too late to give to the charity – here's a link to a fellow rider's Just Giving page.