Sunday, July 20, 2014

Riding to the Tour Part 1

I started this blog a few years ago to write about our annual motorbike trip to Europe, though other things have taken it over during the last  few years.

In the last year other things have taken over from the blog and it has fallen by the wayside, so much so that I am yet to finish the write up of last year's motorbike trip and won't bother now. To make sure it gets done this year, I hope to blog each day, so make sure you follow our adventures.

Last year we went to the Alps to see the final week of the Tour de France. We visited every stage and became a little bit of slave to it, so this year will be different, we're only going to three stages including Paris, where I will have commitments around the women's race.

The final mountains of this year's Tour are in the Pyrenées, so today we set off at 4.45am on the long run South to Montluçon. It started well, the dawn revealing blue skies and summer mist resting gently on golden fields of wheat. It didn't stay that way.

Today has been a waterproofs on, waterproofs off kind of day. Some of the heaviest rain I've ridden in,  road markings disappearing beneath a silver maelstrom of water, droplets stinging my fingers and hammering on relentlessly on my helmet. It's been horrible.

In that weather, 520 miles is a long way to ride for a hotel on a tatty retail park.

What have we learned?
1. Trust the forecast on the Metéo France iPhone app. It predicted a 100% chance of rain.
2. Riding the Peripherique in Paris is better listening to Shine On You Crazy Diamond by Pink Floyd.
3. The miles and hours go faster when you accept they won't, when you welcome the discomfort and embrace the misery.

A beer please mademoiselle.

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