We chat to Tom about his daily routine, his experience during the event and his take home advice for future LONDON – PARIS riders…
Can you tell us a bit about your background, what you do and how long you’ve been doing it?
I’m currently studying Physiotherapy at Bristol and am going into my final year of the 3 year course. It was here I gained my sports massage and taping qualifications. During my studies, I work part time as a sports massage therapist at The Physio Clinic Bristol. This is a great opportunity to maintain my sports massage skills and hands on experience and really apply my studies. When I graduate, I plan on working back in York and pursue physiotherapy within cycling and running.
What time did you get up each day?
The first day we got up at 3:15am which was a bit surreal as there were still people coming home from a night out. After that we were treated with an extra hour in bed, waking up around 4am ish each day.
What was your first job in the morning?
As soon as we grabbed our bags and a few croissants from the hotels, we would be picked up in the van and taken to the start of the ride. Here we would help set up the branding, get the drinks/food out and get our massage beds and kit set up.
Where were you based for the duration of the event?
We travelled from London – Paris over 3 days, travelling through various towns and cities in France, stopping off at French town halls and then hotels on the way.
What were you involved in?
There were around 300 riders completing the 3 day trip. As a result, we were kept busy giving massages at the start, lunch stops and hotels in the evenings, taping up sore knees/backs and giving rider’s muscles some much needed TLC.
What kind of things did you do for the riders?
Apart from the massages, I was involved in K-taping several riders, getting the riders drinks and food at the food stops, giving riders advice on riding, nutrition/hydration and massage. It was great to get to know the riders and see how thankful they were in Paris.
Do you have many injured riders?
A lot of riders complained of stiff necks, backs and legs, however I did get a few more interesting cases where riders had crashed and were very bruised/swollen as a result.
What massage tools did you use most often?
On previous trips I’ve used a tool which simply put, is a foam rolling pin! Imagine a foam roller with handles, but it’s a lot thinner. Tends to save your hands a quite a bit.
Was a lot of taping required?
Surprisingly not that much! Knees and calf muscles were fairly common each day. We all had multiple rolls with us, however a lot of riders brought their own tape and were happy to put it on themselves.
Can you roughly run through what a typical day at the event was like?
Early wake up and a few mins to grab some brekky. Once in the van, we travelled to the start of the ride for that day. After helping set up the flags and feed tables, we set up our massage beds. We’d be treating for around an hour, sorting out various niggles/ stiff muscles. Once all the groups had rolled out, we would pack down the kit and head back to the van.
After that, we’d have an hour+ drive to the next stop, which tended to be the lunch stop. On the way we’d grab snacks and supplies, have a kip and have a chance to do some exercise/treat each other or show each other new skills.
The food stop would last a few hours, so we would be pretty busy with massages which lasted 15mins each, but with such a good team, they flew past.
After that we would travel to the hotel and get set up in a massage room, putting the evening massage time sheets out and showering before the riders arrived. There would be a few spaces for massage before dinner, but most of them happened post food. After that we had time to chill and head to bed, ready for the next day.
Is there any advice you’d give to future London – Paris therapists?
Our team had such a positive energy about them which made the trip so much more enjoyable. I’d say keep the positive vibes up, look out for each other by making life easier, such as grabbing each other food, drinks, helping to pack up their massage kit etc – the small things make a massive difference.
Bring some home comforts like Yorkshire Tea and Whole earth Peanut butter, it certainly helps!
Sleep whenever you can. Get some ear plugs. If you don’t like espressos at the beginning of the trip, you’ll like them at the end.
Any advice for future London – Paris riders?
Electrolyte drinks are a must – we saw a lot of cramp on the first day because of the heat and poor hydration. Bring lots of spare dissolvable tablets with you.
Make the most of the evening hotel massage treatments – your body will be thankful for a light flush through, but it’s a good morale booster and chance to unwind after a long day.
… & most importantly, enjoy the ride!
We can’t thank Tom enough for his hard work during the event – such an asset, who always brings so much energy and enthusiasm with him too! Thank you Tom and we look forward to seeing you on the road again soon for the Royal British Legion Pedal To Paris.
For more information about Tom and how to find out how to book in with him, pop over to his profile >> HERE