Today the Cyclist has 5xCat 4 and 2xCat 3 climbs en route to Lyon. On the way to the start we saw some TDF people as we had stayed at a Logis that was along the route so we were doubling back towards the start, which The Cyclist is never happy about. He cycled on through the first town while I filled up with Diesel and took photos of the towns decorations for Le Tour. At last they are getting in to it. There are lots of good decorations in this town and The Cyclist and I were quite impressed.
It was 20 degrees before 9am and the sky is clear. I have the air con off so it will be a hot day today. We caught up with the broom wagon of TDF. I got out of the car and had a chat with him. This is Nick who will be the last one through and collecting those yellow arrows back up. I mentioned about the speed of the other vehicles and their closeness. He told me that he had seen an accident yesterday as he pulled up. He had put his 4way indicators on as he stopped to get and arrow and the car behind decided just to swing out to pass straight into the path of an on coming car. I am beginning to think they are as bad as those Italians however like all things nasty, the longer ago you experienced it, the more you begin to forget.
At 11.05am we caught the tail enders from TDF. The Cyclist did his usual thing of coming up behind, swiftly nipping last, saying a polite hello, then zooming on along his way. What people don’t know is that he is quite shy in a way. He would be perfectly happy to do this whole 3 Tour thing and not tell anyone. He doesn’t ever blow his own trumpet rather he would avoid it if he could. I mean, he never says anything about the position he held in Japan, nor that he spent 6months herding camels all across the Australian dessert from one side to the other when he was in his twenties.
In one town the sat nav took me down a road that turned into a no entry with a car park on the left. The TDF guys were in the car park for one of their food stops. There was a one way street to the right so I took that. It was very narrow and within meters it looked as if it was heading for a wall. It was. the road was a 45degree angle right. I only just got the Meriva round. I was following the sat navs and they both took me back to the same car park. There were lots of TDF guys about and they could go up the No Entry of course.
Then I saw their lead rider, Phil, and I asked him how I could get out of the town as the sat navs didn’t know how. He gave me a direction which was out away from the direction I needed to go but it joined with a road that if I took it, it would bring me all the way back. I had lost the cyclist in traffic on the way in to the town but I knew he had snacks and water, so when I saw an Intermarche I popped in quickly.
I really was quick but after that the Garmin threw a Freddie fit. It told me to turn right at the place where the No Entry came out on the left. I took the Garmin advice not the co pilot as it had behaved more times than not. This turned out to be the wrong choice. I was going along a country track and thought quite quickly that I should have seen some signs of the Tour or cyclists. I doubled back to where I had turned and took the road the CoPilot said. Ah cyclists from TDF.
I went as fast as I could to catch up with my Cyclist but by the time I did I had not seen him for over an hour and he wasn’t a happy bunny. It was very hot and he had emptied both bottles. He took on some water and I calmed him down with some urgently needed food. The Garmin continued to play up and tell me to keep turning right to get to D31. The route wasn’t on the D31. I get so mad I began to shout at it as it was driving me mad. Then CoPilot took me into a town centre as a way point that was off route again. Ok, I needed to fix the Garmin. I went through every way point as my start point until it gave me a route forwards that didn’t say the D31. Now to catch up with the Cyclist again before he notices I have gone again.
We were meeting Squadron Leader at the hotel tonight. He was driving his car to tomorrow’s end point and catching a train back to Lyon and Givors. I had advised him to drink lots of water and eat lots of Carbs today and I really hoped he had. At our hotel I suggested a bedroom picnic that I could get from Carrefore as then I could make sure that both he and my Cyclist had everything they needed to fuel tomorrow in large quantities. He agreed and in fact we all walked along to Carrefore. It was 7.15pm on a Saturday night on an out of town shopping area that looks far more like an industrial estate. A lot of the Motels are placed on these estates right next to the motorway.
You can imagine my surprise when down a grubby side track there was a bride in full puffed out white dress, leaning against an old Peugeot with its tailgate up and two usher looking guys sat in the boot. I really wanted to take a photo as it was completely out of place but as much as I would like you to have seen it, I couldn’t do it without them knowing. Squadron Leader only ate a small salad a a bit of bread and Brie. I was quite concerned as The Cyclist had already eaten once before we ate again with Squadron Leader. He had been dieting of late and I advised that now was not the time to diet. It is only after seeing what not eating properly did to The Cyclist during his training for last years Le Tour and taking on board all the the excellent advice from the Physioligist, that I know what and how to fuel my Cyclist. I just needed Squadron Leader to listen as I know he wants to do all of tomorrow’s stage.
Roll on tomorrow
Wicked Games – Chris Isaak
Yellow River – Christie