Today was always going to be a real test, with a combination of mountainess climbs and a distance of over 130miles.
The first 60 miles were fairly uneventful as we skirted around the foothills of the Pyrenees, occasionally having the courage to look up and see what was ahead of us. Fortunately there was a bit of cloud cover which helped a little to ride without being exposed to the sun
An amateur should think long and hard before attempting one of these stages, 2 would probably necessitate a visit to a doctor, 3 would require a psychiatrist – anymore and you should be checking that person has written a will.
Bernard Hinault, 5 times Tour de France winner
What a pleasant day today is ;
A 22km ride around Marseille… it’s almost as if you haven’t done anything today.
Groups meandered around the streets of the Port and a quick ramp up to the beautiful Basilica that overlooks the city.
Well I’ve been back 3 weeks from the tour and have ridden just the once for an hour on my bike…. a rest through choice rather than necessity.
I felt a little weary the first few days after the tour but the body and legs have held up remarkably well …
What have I learnt (about myself ?) ?
Your mind not your body will dictate whether you continue cycling through the pain
You can always turn the pedals one more time
The 10 months preparation before hand was essential to complete this amazing challenge… A huge thank you to everyone who has been a part of this adventure, no matter how small … it is appreciated…. coaches, physios, training partners, cycling holidays and most importantly Mam Dad Angela Charlotte Jess and all other family and friends whom without it would of been a bigger struggle
A strong will is more important than a strong body
The greatest sporting achievement I have completed. Will I do anything like this again, I’m sure I will, no immediate plans… though the highs certainly outway the lows so my quest for challenges certainly is there. A huge thank you to TDF staff and support crew who were amazing and did everything with a smile. I’ve also met some amazing people in the group of ‘lifers’ who shared this experience. It’s over now no one can take this away from me and I have some incredible memories and an overwhelming sense of pride to have been a part and to have completed it….Au revoir mon amis
There are some days just worth waiting for ….and this was one of them.
2 category 3 climbs (you should all know what they are by now !) were all that stood between us completing a gentle stage after days of gruelling mountain challenges.
Most of the riders took the opportunity of using the day as a recovery ride,if you can class 181km as recovery.
Despite everyone’s thinking to ride gently the pace was steady throughout as we racked up kilometre after kilometre, overcast and warm meant riding conditions were perfect.
No major incidents today, landscape was flat and picturesque and all riders seems to get through the ride unscathed.
A couple of climbs towards the end didn’t deter the good spirits of everyone in the group, and I’ve had the pleasure of riding with Gavin for a few days now, an ex Durham Uni graduate, who is quite frankly the funniest guy I’ve met, you can hear him before you see him and his banter has keep the peloton amused throughout.
We rolled into a quaint French town Rodez and to a very ‘French ‘ hotel … tomorrow holds a bigger challenge, but a gentle day and rested legs tonight and I’m sure we will all give it go again in the mountains.