The fourth and final morning of CBRE Cycle to MAPIC is one of extremes: extremes in temperature, extremes in elevation and – for some – extremes in emotion.
It’s a cold and misty departure from Aix-en-Provence and only a short 5kms to the first climb of the day. As we climb higher, it gets foggier. It is a strange experience not being able to see more than a few metres in front. It’s just about concentrating and turning the pedals for 15kms.
At the top, we see the sun for the first time: the clouds part to light up the mountains behind us to our left and to the right, the sun rises above misty vines. We descend into the sunshine-defused mist and regroup. At one point, on the crest of hill, we look down on a sea of thick fog lying in a valley bottom. Then we ride into it. It is not a pleasant experience but the cold, damp chill air and the lack of appropriate clothing does make for some amusing conversations. An hour later, we ride out of the fog to arrive cold and damp at the first coffee stop in a charming hall in the charming Le Val. As we set off, the sun makes a tentative appearance for a short time and then it’s back to turning the pedals very fast in order to keep warm. Never have so many cyclists prayed for hills to help them keep warm.
Finally the sun does come out, just in time for the hills. As the sun heats up, the hills become harder but the camaraderie kicks in. Riders are working together and helping others up the climbs, either with words of encouragement or a helping hand. We pass spectacular historic town and cities, such as Les Arcs and Draguignan. There is another long, tough climb through Bagnoles-en-Foret, with rocky escarpments above us and stunning views below us.
Lunch, at 135km in, is a peaceful picnic in a cork tree plantation. After taking on food and fluids, it’s time to remount for the final 46km into Cannes. The route takes in a couple of sharp climbs, accompanied by some satisfying descents and finally brings the cyclists onto the seafront of Cannes. Led in by the CBRE team, the peloton is welcomed to the Palais, home to retail property conference MAPIC. After 820kms and 6500m of climbing, 46 retail property professionals arrive in fine style and to much jubilation, having raised more than £50,000 for Coram and disadvantaged children.
At the medal-giving ceremony afterwards Malcolm Dalgleish, Chairman, CBRE Retail EMEA, commented, “It has been an incredible ride. We were blessed with perfect weather and we’ve ridden through some stunning scenery. It was a real challenge but this brought everyone together, creating some fantastic bonds amongst the riders. The most important thing is that we raised lots of money for Coram. I couldn’t be happier.”