An interview with an L4A Legend
Cycling from London to Paris, I think you’ll admit, is kinda crazy. Cycling it with one leg and a prosthetic is into the tricky domain which is either genius or insanity… But this is just what Cassie has done.
After finishing this arduous task Cassie found a little time in her busy schedule to have a chat with us about the journey.
So, Cassie, what an amazing achievement. Everyone at L4A are so proud that we were your charity of choice and that we have had such an amazing champion for the cause. If it’s alright we’d like to ask you a few questions about this awesome undertaking?
Okay… It’s not really an everyday task, cycling from London to Paris, the training must have been hard and novel in its own way. Do you think the training prepared you for the ride?
Definitely, the training was absolutely essential for my preparations. I’d spent hours slowly building up my fitness and the hours spent in the saddle were all worthwhile because the cycling didn’t actually turn out to be the hardest aspect. I was well prepared which allowed me to enjoy the cycling and the stunning scenery, and the challenge of long days on the bike. In May I did some cycling on a mountain bike in 27 degree heat in Greece which massively helped my preparations too because I’d got used to going up big hills over and over again, so mentally I was well prepared because I knew I could attack all the hills on our route and my body could take it; I just had to keep turning the pedals over and not listen to my brain telling me to stop.
Would you do anything differently when it came to the training?
No, I wouldn’t do anything differently, I feel that I did everything I could with the time and resources that I had.
Obviously there is more to such an endeavour than just physical fitness. What problems did you find in the practical realisation of the project?
The main issue was the team aspect of it. The three of us hadn’t cycled together as a group before due to uni commitments and living in different places and although two of us had cycled in a pair, it was only for a day. At one point one of the team member’s speed and morale were low due to not really having done enough training, therefore they found it very difficult and this was very frustrating for all three of us. Two of us were faster and fitter than the third, but she did incredibly well to have the determination to carry on, despite clearly hating the hills and not really enjoying the ride in general. This could have brought the other two of us down, but we were adamant that it wouldn’t and we would enjoy the cycle all the same and we did, and did everything we could to keep morale up!
How was it with your support team?
Communication with the car was also difficult because they weren’t around all the time and they aren’t cyclists so didn’t totally understand how cycling in a group of different speeds and levels of fitness works, which added more tension. Relationships were tested, as they always will be in challenging situations when people are pushed. The challenges were very different to what I had expected and I think we all learnt a lot from it. At the end of the day we all got through it and made it to Paris raising a huge amount of money for Legs4Africa and that’s all that matters.
How did your prosthetic fair on the ride?
Sweat made my leg move around in the socket more than I would like, my stump was a bit sore and my left knee and incredibly tight hamstring were feeling the strain, but all of these things were very minor compared to our team issues and I didn’t have any time to worry about them!
Before this interview you mentioned you broke some ribs, how?
My tyre got caught in a tram track as we got into Paris, bike and I went sideways and I smacked into this big concrete thing on the floor. I was very winded at the time, but after a minute I was fine, a little sore but got straight back on, had a carb gel and did the last 15 or so miles. It was only the next day that the pain really hit, then moving, sitting, lying down etc. were all rather painful.
Wow, well that was a pretty heroic effort to carry on. How did it feel to complete it and what were your thoughts as you rode into Paris?
It was a wonderful feeling, although the traffic and slight soreness made it quite stressful! Seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time was incredible and I felt a huge sense of achievement – so much time and effort had gone into the planning of everything and six months ago it was a complete dream, I hadn’t even been out on a bike so I did have a little emotional moment and reflect on just what an incredible journey this has been.
And Cassie, what next, you’re seeming pretty unstoppable at the moment?
I did the Arctic ONE para-triathlon last month but had to change my plans slightly and did it as a relay as my ribs wouldn’t allow for running. I’m off to Sardinia to work for six weeks over summer running a kids club for a British holiday company.
That’s amazing. Thank you Cassie for this and thank you so much from L4A, hopefully we’ll see you again in the future carrying our torch….But just before you go, can you give us a few words to encourage others to do what you have done?
It felt so good to know that we’ve raised so much money for such an incredible charity and that other people will get legs because of us.
Thank you Cassie.
If you have any great ideas for fundraising for Legs4Africa why not download a pack now and become one of our LegEnds.