I've never been to Gravesend, now I've been twice

Let's get this straight from the very start, this is the hardest thing I have ever done.

Harder than telling Katy Pearson I didn't want to play with her in the playground, harder than choosing whether to have a cup of coffee, a cup of tea, or one of each.

Cycling from London to Paris is gruelling, it is difficult, and can be fraught with problems.

I am part of the Rhino team, often mistaken for the slowest team but really we are loaded with cunning and guile, and will come out victorious in the end.

As the Hares and the Hornets, the other two teams, shot off into the distance, we chuckled to ourselves at their foolhardy approach.

They'll definitely be tired soon, their legs will be aching so much more than ours.

Let me turn my attention to some of the mishaps that have struck our first day on the road to Paris.

We started full of hope and brimming with ambition from Westminster Bridge, as Big Ben struck 8am, and to great fanfare.

A superbly organised launch to the ride, and something I will always remember, cycling off in central London as a team with crowds cheering us on.

I think it's fair to say it was Gravesend when things took a turn for the not-so-great.

The Rhino's esteemed leader, Harrow borough commander Richard Walton, took a shine to Gravesend, and we (he) decided to take a little tour round the town centre.

But as we left towards Northfleet, it became clear a cunning ruse had been executed, and Richard had taken us in the wrong direction.

He stopped an elderly man for 'directions', but really he knew the only option was to head back to Gravesend for some more precious moments in the curry house-ladened town.

Now I'm going to gloss over me falling over four times, my chain coming off twice, and the dizzy spell I suffered half way up a hill, because these are details no one is interested in.

John Nash takes the afternoon prize for most punctures, weighing in with an impressive five in a short space of time.

To be honest, he had already beaten the competition of one by a mile by this point, the prize was in the bag, and he may have been milking it a little.

I am writing this from the ferry, where the news has just arrived we still have four miles to go to get to the hotel.

Which is a bit of an issue as I sip my fourth glass of wine, previously happy there was only one mile to cycle in Calais.

Today, we did an impressive 85 miles, including the 'Gravesend detour', and tomorrow is the same.

I'm off to stretch ever single area of my body and try to convince someone to give me a massage.

The money raised so far is impressive, but we need more for this epic effort. Visit www.justgiving.co.uk/tristankirk and be generous, please.

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