Today’s Ride is sponsored by New Lodge Contractors

Peñascosa – Torreperogil

Day 12 is here. The homeward straight!! Oh please let it be so after the last few awful days.
The boys had slept in their cabin last night so trotted down to our camper
this morning to get organised. We all got packed up and left together so that I could drive back to the pick up point from yesterday. They travelled the same route as we drove today to try to push on. They were into a heavy headwind all day. Dave led pretty much all day to take the wind to help Sean and Paul who were both struggling. It was a pretty mundane route with long endless roads ahead, a little like Norway in that respect. Olive trees were everywhere-long uniform rows scattering every hillside. The last 10 miles were uphill and it seemed to go on forever.

Tonight we stay in a little hotel (that has a bath for Paul!!) with a typical little Spanish landlady in a pinny who speaks no English whatsoever but speaks Spanish very fast! All is good.

Today has been a poignant day for myself and the team on what is the third anniversary of Dads death. The last few days have been really tough and today has made me reminisce and think about why on earth we are doing this.

My memories of Dad are of a strong, caring, enormous gentle giant. He loved everyone and was always happy and such fun. He was a proper gentleman and wouldn’t have swearing if a lady was present. He adored all his family and as new grand children came along, it just brought out more of the big kid in him. To see him change as Alzheimer’s took its hold was horrible. For us, our Step mum Christine took the brunt of things. It was only when she went away for a few days and then myself, my sister and brother looked after him, that we really realised how much he’d changed. The gentle giant was sometimes a stubborn, foul mouthed man who didn’t recognise us or an angry upset child who just cried. He didn’t know where he was at times and it was so upsetting for us all. Things became worse and he had to go into a home for the good of everyone. That was an eye opener in itself to see that Dad wasn’t alone in this. So many others were in similar states and that was just one care home! As he declined I think the hardest and nicest times were when just a little of our Dad came back – when he’d be sat with tears pouring down his face and then he’d look up at you and a big beam would cross his face as he said “Hello Darling” and then slip away again. To not know exactly how much Dad knew or thought at the end was devastating.
It’s a horrid disease and it has to be stopped. It’s horrid for the person with it but it’s horrid for the family to go through. We lost our Dad to Alzheimer’s long before the day he actually died. This is why every mile these boys push themselves makes me so, so proud. They are doing this to raise vital money to aid prevention of this horrible, horrible disease. As shattering as it is for all of them and us back up too in our small way, it’s a means to an end. I know what my Dad would say! “Bloody well done lads! Let’s celebrate with a Guinness.” We can’t do that tonight as Guinness doesn’t seem to have made its way to inland Spain but we’ll raise a beer instead (for now Dad I promise) and say cheers to Eric, my Dad, and to these boys for pushing every chuffing day to get to the end which they will very soon. Roll on Wednesday!!

– Kathleen xx