Mike Smith reports on the 2019 Duchenne Dash to raise money for and awareness of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Well done Mike.
The door of the Newhaven ferry lowered and 160 cyclists waited to see if the storm had followed them across the English Channel onto the next leg of their ride. As it opened the high winds blew the rain horizontally straight into our faces!
On June 7th I ride captained my 7th Duchenne Dash, a 24hr charity ride from London to Paris. The event was set up by a colleague / friend after she discovered her son has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. DMD is currently incurable, it affects young boys, paralyses them in their teens and takes their lives in their twenties. It’s a devastating condition. The group of riders and organisers of this event have become like a small family now, all united to do their bit to help the cause and I’m immensely proud to be part of it!
We set off (in the rain) from the iconic Herne Hill Velodrome in four separate groups decided by ability and speed. Myself and a buddy on the front chatting promptly missed the first directions on our Garmin’s. Sheepishly we rode the group of forty riders around the roundabout twice to find the correct turning and foolishly hoped no one noticed.
Once out of hectic London and into the lanes the ride found a good rhythm. It’s a strictly no drop ride, a fairly sedate pace, but to some of the participants it’s a huge challenge, especially with the weather conditions! We made it to Newhaven together as a peloton of forty and tucked into a pub meal and beer.
The ferry crossing to Dieppe is designed to allow you to rest and peacefully prepare for the longest leg to Paris. We crossed in a big storm and the ferry lurched it’s way across to France with me lying in my bunk praying it didn’t sink.
The rain seemed to follow us on and off for the whole day to Paris, but the group pushed on to finally ride along the iconic Champs-Élysées and finish at the Eiffel Tower.
It’s always a very emotional and rewarding experience seeing these people conquer the challenge. The charity raised a great amount of money to help fund research to help these boys.
It breaks my heart every year.
If you’d like to help:
NB If you’re into rugby you might have noticed Owen Farrell linking his fingers together in the shape of two J’s after he scores. This is to raise awareness for DMD and the charity Joining Jack.