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le tour

750 523 Gerard O'Connor

Le Puy en Velay to Romans sur isere 168km

Today was all about getting through the day and conserving as much energy as possible for the demanding next 2 stages in the Alps. Stages that stand between me completing the Tour de France. Following stages are difficult (one in length) but by reputation alone the Alps will prove a huge challeng.The rest day was gratefully received and a bit to early start, 8am we rolled out of the lovely  Le Puy en Velay in glorious sunshine., within 20 minutes  the weather changed again and we were caught in another torrential downpour, a permanent feature of this years tour.

A couple of catergorised climbs in the first half of the ride didn’t cause too many issues as we nipped along at a fair pace.

The reward for the morning part of the ride was a very long descent on wide open roads and great tarmac and we are into the miles through the Ardeche area of France.

The final 50km ran alongside the Rhone and in the distance the group could see what was ahead in the distance, the Alps… the do look huge …totally different, obviously, to my skiing experiences when the snow capped mountains are replaced by lush greenery, I may not feel the same about their beauty over the few days.

Group riding got us to the finish all in tact and fairly generally fresh, amazing to think that riding over 100 miles in day is now part of the recovery process….

16 stages complete … dare not look to far ahead, but a sense of achievement to be this far …. the next days will no doubt shape the outcome.

750 842 Gerard O'Connor

Worst day ever on a bike ?? Stage 8 Dole to Station des Rousses 197kmes

The worst day ever on a bike ?? ??

Im writing this 2 days after the ride due to late finishes early starts transfer oh and tiredness, but I can still have those painful feelings from this ride.

The start was from a lovely town called Dole where we transferred at 6.30am from our previous nights stop over. It was overcast when we arrived… however within 15 minutes of straying the ride the heavens opened.

It was constant, a mix between light and torrential downpours and at to that this was the first real climbing day it was torturous.

There were a number of casualties, riders who simply were to cold to continue and were packed in the back of the support vans wrapped in foil waiting for a lift back to the hotel.

It was a real shame as the views from the mountains would of been spectacular on another day, instead it was a real focus just to concentrate on what you had to do as all your cycling gear was drenched. Add to that riders were given an option to due a shorter route, reducing the ride by 40km, and as we set off from feedstation 3 I left with a group of 4 other riders not realising that they were doing the shorter route. I ask one of the guys when the split in routes was and he said we split 4km ago… Damn !! For a moment I thought of continuing, only for a moment , I turned my bike and headed back to find the longer route. It was only an extra 8km but it seemed a hell of a lot  longer and I had to ride the next 2 hours on my own cold wet and wondering had a done the right thing … not a good place to be at the time.

Finally arrived still raining to the ski resort of Stauin des Rousses, not much about on a cold wet evening.

Shower, food and bed and trying to get warmth back into me. Yes it was the worst day ever on a bike !!