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Friday, November 16, 2012

Louisa speaks direct from India

* Louisa, left, celebrates the end of her marathon ride with a well-earned glass of champagne. 

We have now received the final e-mail from Llangollen Operatic’s Louisa Jones describing how she felt after completing her gruelling 260-mile charity bike ride through India.
Louisa, 33, has been taking part in the Action for Charity’s Women V Cancer Cycle Challenge to raise cash for three women’s cancer charities.
Along the way Louisa and her fellow cyclists had to contend with pothole-strewn roads and soaring temperatures sometimes over 30 degrees.
In her last message she says: “Well, today at approximately 12:00 Indian standard time, we arrived at our final destination amid much whooping and jubilation.

“I woke up at 6am feeling refreshed and re-energised and the final 40km through hilly terrain just flew by as if it was the first day. It was a great feeling to know we were on the home stretch.

“2km before the finish line, we all stopped, tied balloons to our bikes and helmets, then cycled the final stretch together.

“It was an amazing experience as we celebrated with champagne and group photos and a lot of people were very emotional. Indeed, I still can't quite believe that we have cycled 350km (260 miles) in four and a half days, sometimes in blistering heat, on a diet of curry twice a day (oh for a plate of baked beans!)

“I am even more amazed by the women themselves; I am amongst the youngest of the group. The oldest lady is 65 and the average age is around 42. Many have had or are still recovering from cancer or getting over other personal challenges. Everyone has a story but no one has wallowed in it and the support and camerarderie shown has been humbling; it has been about completing the challenge as a team and not as individuals.

“We are now on the coach to Jaipur where we are looking forward to a proper shower and bed. Tonight we will celebrate our achievement with a party, then tomorrow we have time in the city before heading back to Dehli in the early hours of Sunday for our flight home.”
In earlier messages this week, Louisa told how at one stage along the road she had been catapulted over the handlebars of her bike after being cut up by a jeep.
She also revealed how, later in the trip, she and many of her fellow cyclists had been suffering from the dreaded “Delhi belly”.  
Louisa flew out to the sub-continent on Friday of last week and after a short period of acclimatisation began her marathon ride which took her and around 90 other intrepid women cyclists from across the UK from the city of Agra – home of the iconic Taj Mahal - through the rural state of Rajasthan in north-west India to the capital, Jaipur.
To maintain their tight schedule the group, ranging in age from their twenties to sixties, had to average around 40 miles a day.
The route followed was far removed from the usual tourist trails and took riders both on and off road.
In advance of her trip to the sub-continent Louisa raised the cash necessary to guarantee her a place on the ride.
Thanks to strong support from family, friends and work colleagues she managed to burst through the £2,800 qualifying barrier some months ago and pledges are still coming in.
She also made  a personal contribution of £500 towards her fundraising total, which will be distributed between Breast Cancer Care, Jo’ Cervical Cancer Trust and Ovarian Cancer Action.
+ To make a contribution towards Louisa’s challenge go to   

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