In July 2009, eight Blue Water employees including Managing Director Kurt Skov spent one week cycling the 1,250 kilometers from Denmark to Paris in support of the Child Cancer Foundation.
Divided into seven teams, 250 Danes including Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen arrived at the Place de Concorde on 24 July at 1500 hrs to cycle the final leg of the journey up the Champs Elysees to Arc de Triomphe.
Last day and 160 km to Paris! We set off quite early to get there on time. We thought we had overcome the worst, but hardly had we finished our breakfast before we met the first steep hill - and it was getting worse and worse for the next 130 km: one steep climb after the other in a never-ending row.
Sometimes it looked like we were to cycle into the sky, but it surely was no heaven - it was pure hell for us! Some of us may have thought: why did I voluntarily get myself involved in such a project - and even pay money for it (each rider pays DKK 10,000 to Team Rynkeby - and in return gets a new cycle and all costs included - hotels, food & service during the tour, and return by bus to Bramming. It runs up, so Rynkeby also contributes - www.team-rynkeby.dk
At long last we made our way to Paris! At first we rode 20 km on an excellent cycle path along the canal, but all of a sudden we were at the Gare du Nord Station and cycled straight into Paris rush hour traffic! The weather had been fine all day, but shortly before the finishing line it was pouring rain. We reached the end of our journey, the Place de la Concorde, where we met all the other 6 Team Rynkeby teams - and some were also welcomed by family and friends.
We did it! We have conquered Paris! We succeed and achieved our goal, set six months ago! The 40 riders of Team Rynkeby Bramming got there in fine style without severe injuries and accidents, though we did have minor crashes from time to time.
Therefore, it was a fantastic experience - a moment of life - when 270 riders from all 7 teams of Team Rynkeby in yellow (and red) jerseys on yellow bikes and under police escort rode together at the final promenade ride up the Champs-Elysées, around the Triumphal Arch and down the Champs-Elysées again.
At the Maison du Danemark we had a well-earned glass of champagne and hotdogs. After some speeches, among others by Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen from the Team Rynkeby Ringe, we were greeted with the loudest applause when we sang our team song to the tune of the French national hymn. It surely is a good song, and having practiced a lot, we finally know it by heart and also find it a roaring success!
Afterwards, we cycled to our Carlton Hotel, situated conveniently at the centre at Place de Pigalle between Moulin Rouge and Sacre Couer, where we loaded our bicycles onto a truck to Denmark. Bye-bye bikes, we certainly will not miss you for the next days!!
Eventually we had a cosy evening - at first we all dined together, and finally we gathered "at the tailgate" - a tradition from the tour: every night after dinner we had a cosy gathering at one of the service cars, where the door at the back was opened downwards to serve as a table for drinks.
Many thanks to all our team mates of Team Rynkeby Bramming and the team captains, Arne Mortensen and Preben Davidsen - from the Blue Water team of 8 riders who pulled through together. From a masculine point of view we must admit, after all, that we are so proud of our 3 female riders, Aase, Anne-Grethe and Helle, who have worked so hard and done extremely well!
No doubt this was the toughest stage of the tour!
It was raining when we started off from Dinant in beautiful scenery along the Meuse River. Luckily the weather cleared up, and we had to conquer many mountain tops in Belgium. At noon we crossed the border to France, where a group photo was taken, and then we rode into a very fascinating and hilly terrain.
After a long drive downhill we immediately had to force another very steep uphill climb - the steepest rate of climbing was 15 %, and it almost was just like the real Tour de France. Some of the riders saw it as a great experience, while others had quite a tough time and had to struggle through.
After many hours on our bikes through 203 km, everybody were quite exhausted and worn out when we reached our destination in Tinqueux in rainy weather. All the same, we all went through the rigours of the day and proved that people of West Jutland may be used to cycling against headwinds, but we can also cope with the high hills.Friday will be the day where we will reach the goal that we have all been longing for through all the rough and vigorous training sessions: the ride towards Paris where we will meet the other 6 Rynkeby Teams and cycle together up the Champs-Elysées.
This was the day that many of the riders had feared most of all: the climb of the Ardennes Mountains in Belgium. It was a fantastic tour in fine bright sunshine most of the time - and very beautiful scenery. We cycled "only" 120 km, but it became a very rough experience for the Blue Water team. However, we managed all right and got over the steepest climbing of 18 % over 1600 m at the town of Huy (it exceeds the climb categories of the "real" Tour de France!).
Being the first rider over the hill, Klaus won our internal Blue Water competition for "the polka dot jersey". It was a tough ride in the extremely hilly landscape to the end destination of the day, the charming town Dinant at the Meuse River.
We arrived as early as 4 PM, which we really appreciated because it gave us the possibility to relax and enjoy ourselves a little longer than usual and have time to wash our outfit - most days we arrive at around 7 or 8 PM. Throughout the journey, we have stayed at excellent hotels with good food. During Thursday's stage 6 of 200 km, we will cross the border to France - and we have been told that it too should be really tough!
A fantastic day where we cycled in sunshine and app. 30 degrees of heat and almost no wind which was wonderful after all the headwind. However, it was a long stage of 193 km.
Comments from the Blue Water team:
Kurt may be too modest as we have been told that he was awarded a diploma for "The Spirit of the Day". During the day we met some of the other Team Rynkeby Teams - from Vordingborg, Aarhus and Ringe, the latter with the Prime Minister and his bodyguards in front. Team Aarhus als o stayed at our hotel, so we seized the opportunity to practice our team song to the tune of the French national hymn "La Marseillaise". This was greeted with enthusiasm, and we agreed to sing it as a joint song as we also later shall stay at the same hotel. The text is written by Leif Fabricius, Manager of the Esbjerg Revue "Tobakskuller". He is an eager cyclist himself.
Now we eagerly await Wednesday's climb of the Ardennes Mountains - fortunately "only" 119 km. The Blue Water team will internally compete for "The polka dot jersey".
Another long day from Bremen to Ahaus (close to the border to Holland - it lies to the south-east of Zwaartemeer/Deenekamp). Unfortunately we took the wrong road a couple of times, and therefore the route was 203 km instead of the planned 182 km. Anyway, the scenery was beautiful and the weather was good, mostly sunshine, however we had a strong headwind.
We have now cycled 570 km in 3 days, and the riders are somewhat exhausted and worn out. What do the Blue Water team say?
Tuesday we will cycle about 180 km in Germany, Holland and Belgium.
After a good first day, everybody eagerly awaited this stage, which includes 211 km to Bremen and is the longest leg of the journey.
Departure from Friederichstadt at 8.00 AM (normal departure time) in bright sunshine and a pleasant ride to Brunsbüttel where we crossed the heavily trafficked Kiel Canal on board a ferry. We continued towards Elben - about 20 km we cycled on a small road along the river. It was a great experience for all the participants - sheep in the fields on one side and on the other side crowded ship traffic.
At Glückstadt we crossed Elben on a bigger ferry. The weather was fine, and on board we met 2 other Rynkeby Teams, from Silkeborg and Ringe, and had a chance to say hi to the Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, participating in the tour for Team Ringe. Another rider from Ringe, the Danish Minister for Foodstuff, Eva Kjer Hansen, was involved in an accident shortly before they reached the ferry - we were later informed that she had a broken shoulder blade/shoulder.
After this we drove for a long ride to Bremen. We had to cycle through the city before we crossed Weser and arrived at our nice Bremer Hof Hotel in Stuhr, a suburb of Bremen where Blue Water's office is located. We had good food and a pleasant time together - again we practiced our team songs.
After a long day on our bikes - and very changeable weather conditions, from sunshine to heavy showers - we are still cheerful and in high spirits.
Having spent a lot of training hours/km we were ready, and the take-off day for the bicycle tour to Paris dawned.
The starting-up took place at a festive gathering in Bramming including among other things a speech by the local politician Finn Lambæk and the prologue ride through the town before the departure at 10 AM. Many Blue Water employees had come to wave good-bye and wish us best of luck.
It drizzled when we cycled through Ribe, Ballum and Højer to Rudbøl at the border between Denmark and Germany, but then the rain stopped, and we could enjoy the sunshine when riding along the German dikes at the Wadden Sea - a picturesque scenery, however we had to cycle against quite fierce cross and head winds. We are 40 riders in all, divided into 2 teams.
We drove through Husum and after 160 km we reached Friederichstadt, a very charming town, where we lodged at a very nice hotel. We had dinner and spent a cosy and pleasant evening.
The first day has been quite satisfactory. The team had a total of nine punctures, which mainly happened in the rainy weather. The team has done quite well - and the Blue Water riders are well off and eagerly looking forward to Sunday's stage which is the longest leg of the journey, namely approximately 220 km to Bremen.
You can read all about Team Rynkeby and all the participants at team-rynkeby.dk.
Last year, Team Rynkeby collected 1.5 mio DKK to the Child Cancer Foundation. This figure is expected to rise considerably this year. Presently, Team Rynkeby Bramming alone have collected about 420,000 DKK for the Child Cancer Fundation. If you wish to contribute, please deposit your contribution to this account with Sydbank:
Account: 165 01 40
Your name + Team Rynkeby BRAMMING under Information.
For further information, please contact Blue Water Marketing
+45 7913 4144
© Blue Water Shipping A/S
To sum up the entire tour, I first of all want to thank all our colleagues at BWS as well as family and friends for their support. I had not recognized the full extent of it all, but I was prepared to put a great deal of work into this experience. Very long days on the bike, but at the end of each day we sang our team songs and backed each other up. We came to know each other for good and bad; we have shared the various smearing and lubricant stuff, have greased our bottoms in the open and relieved ourselves outdoors e.g. in corn fields. From time to time it has gone far beyond our normal limits, but in the evenings we have had a good laugh at it. I wish I could have done better in the hills the last 2 days - it really was hard work, but we made it by joint efforts! It was great to see my family who welcomed me at the Place de la Concorde with a banner. The final promenade ride around the Triumphal Arch while singing "We are from Denmark" and our team song made everything worthwhile. Thanks a lot for a fantastic tour.
It has been the most challenging and exciting week of my life with daily rigours. Extremely tough but a great tour. Despite some minor physical disorders I got through, and I am really proud. I have met some fantastic people and have made new friends for life. It was great - and we made it!
I am so happy and proud because I made the tour from Bramming to Paris. It was a great experience, and thanks very much to my loyal team mates who pulled me through! Many thanks to the entire team who made it possible. Right now I'm lacking the normal use of my fingers and my bottom! At least now I know how to practice and prepare for the next tour!
My cycling tour to Paris was a great experience and most of the time it was great fun. We had time to enjoy and yield, but aching buttocks and knees and swollen feet also took up a lot of thoughts. None of us were used to cycling 200 km every day. The funniest and most challenging to me was the ride in the mountains. For the Tour de France riders it might have been a piece of cake, but to amateurs like us it was quite demanding and took a lot of sweat and toil! Therefore it was a well-earned joy to meet in the evenings "at the tailgate" for a cold drink and have a cosy chat to evaluate the rigours of the day.
On Day 7 we could roll along the Place de Concorde and down the Champs-Elysées. It was a fantastic feeling of triumph: we succeeded and achieved our goal. It has been a great week with challenges, great experiences, teamwork and fellowship. For sure it is an experience for life - and it is highly recommendable.
An unbelievable challenge and an experience for life. We came to know each other for good and bad and learned a lot about ourselves and the others. Some of us have been tired to the point of collapse for the last 2 days - but we pulled through and made it to the Place de la Concorde. An undreamt-of feeling to reach the goal, and it is amazing how quickly you can get the great hardships at a distance and focus on the fantastic experiences and most of all: the excellent teamwork and friendships.
Having trained 3600 km on my bike and lost 12 kg of weight, I
was ready to stand the test.
After some very tough and gruelling days, who would have thought that big Messmann should be a mountain goat? I actually felt quite fit in the mountains, and it was a great pleasure to help and assist on a good day.
The last stage of 160 km should have been a parade ride, but it proved to be a tough race on yet another windy and rainy day. All the same, we coped with all the difficulties and arrived at the Place de la Concode at 3.30 PM - the peak of the tour and a culmination of hard training sessions and many ups and downs. A lot of new friends, a good club feeling towards Bramming IF and good talks during many training tours. I convinced the sceptical people that I could do it: I made it to Paris. A superb team and many thanks to the entire Team Rynkeby Bramming. Thanks to the Blue Water team - a special thank to Niels, my room mate. Thank you very much for great hours and a fantastic tour. It was a cheerful and emotional feeling at the climax of the tour in Paris.
Also greetings to Carsten Bøttcher who could not join us, but I am glad that you are in good health - it has first priority.
A tour and experience just to my liking - based on collective as well as individual challenges and efforts. By a good team spirit, a demanding and gruelling task was accomplished with much energy, enthusiasm and fight - and least but not last high spirit! I am proud of the Blue Water team.
Personally, my goals were completely fulfilled. Despite various physical disabilities and "defects" I reached my goal with hardly any difficulties - actually it was getting better and better every day. So I am ready for the next challenge!
An enervating battle has come to an end. We have fought with captains, lieutenants, angry watchdogs and "head master Andersen". We have greased our arses and tormented our knees and bones - but we won and are ready for the next fight!