Friday Featured Rider - Paul

For this week’s Friday Featured Rider it’s our pleasure to introduce you to Paul Hewitt (4th from right, above). He rides every other year along with a bunch of colleagues from Alitex. As he explains, they’re a very mixed bunch of abilities and experience, but they’re a superb example of team building with colleagues around a shared purpose and challenge. Read on (and if you think your company could benefit from bringing a team to ride Le Loop, get in touch!

Vive Le Tour!

Meet Paul 'Hewdog' Hewitt ...

AGE: 62 this year

LOCATION: Alton, Hampshire (although my family roots are firmly embedded in Barnsley, South Yorkshire).

EXPERIENCE: I have been cycling since my mid 30’s when I realised I was getting too slow for football.

My cycling became serious when I committed to doing LEJOG with my nephew in 2008 for Cancer Research.  We went the long way up the Wye Valley and the West side of Scotland covering just over 1000 miles in 15 days. We weren’t interested is doing it lightening fast, we wanted to enjoy it. Afterall, we had never put our bodies through anything like this before. I was as fit as a butchers dog when I got home!

I continued to do long rides for the enjoyment and thinking time. Cycling for me is a great way to get away from the daily slog and do some useful thinking.

I was introduced to Time Trialling about 10 years ago by a work colleague and was hooked. Totally different style of riding – head down, arse up for 10 miles flat out. If you can walk and talk afterwards, you haven’t tried hard enough!

Paul Hewitt 1
Paul in the mountains

HE SAYS: This is my 3rd Le Loop. The first was in 2014. Tom (Tom Hall – boss at Alitex) came across the charity and decided it would be a great team building idea to rustle up a gang from work to give it a go and raise some much needed funds for WWMT. Here we are doing our 4th. We assemble a team every 2 years, mostly made up of work colleagues. This year we have 28 taking on the challenge, and it really is a challenge. Some of our team didn’t even have a bike! We have a wide range of body types and cycling ability but we will arrive and leave with a smile on our faces.

My training so far has mostly been on Zwift, I’m a fair weather rider these days and like the fact I can flop on the sofa straight after a ride.

Words of wisdom.  You have 2 choices in life – you can stay in bed with your dreams or get up and chase them. Basically, don’t spend your life saying “I might” or “I’d love to do that”. Go and do it.

For future riders of Le Loop. I have never taken part on a better organised event. The team are very welcoming, supportive and accommodating. There is a great camaraderie within the cyclists too. I am a very average cyclist so naturally I am nervous about the ride this summer. However, the regular, well stocked feed stops are a great way to break the ride down into manageable chunks. Hopefully, the massage tables will be waiting for us at the end of each days ride! (Ed. Never fear! The massage team will be there!)      

My standout moment was on my first Le Loop in 2014. We were riding stages 5 and 6. Stage 5 was the cobbled stage – 9 sections of cobbles totalling 13km. Riding the cobbles is an experience in itself.

I was in a group of about 10 riders and up ahead we saw another group of riders all wearing Tinkoff-Saxo kit. We eventually caught them up, not through our pace but traffic lights which slowed them down. We pulled up alongside them and realised it was Alberto Contador and his team doing a recci of the cobbled stage. I have never been dropped so easily and they weren’t even trying!

WHERE ARE YOU NOW?: I am a bit of a yo-yo rider and it is things like this that keep me inspired to get out on my road bike or downhill riding with my lad. I’ve done a couple of the Le Loop rides and get a lot of pleasure from supporting other members of our team that are very anxious about the ride.

I don’t have any big plans for the future, only to carry on cycling as long as I can. Maybe I’ll get more riding done if Tom lets me retire!

Paul – huge thanks to contributing to our Friday Featured Rider and representing the Alitex Team. You guys always bring a very special energy to the tour with a huge dose of ‘can do’ attitude and a big sense of fun. We’re looking forward to having you all with us on tour again this summer!

Vive Le Tour!

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Our previous Friday Featured Rider can be read here. 

Paul, left
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