Wed 16 March 2016, 9:30 am
I decided to sit it out in the bus for the first stage and then ride three in a row, including the landmark stage at the Luberon hill village of Bonnieux for another 100 mile-plus day.
The sun shone and we had a view of the Hautes-Alpes as a backdrop, with Mont Ventoux, scene of epic cycling feats.
We were in wonderful scenery but enduring big, big climbs. It was tough.
But we smashed it – cycling 100 miles and ascending 200m, including a mountain.
Mechanics Helmut and Brown locked themselves into the van, somehow. We rode hard and arrived early in Aix, where it started raining. Our reward was to lug into the hotel all the ordinary rider’s luggage to keep it dry.
There’s no enthusiasm for sightseeing in the rain in Aix, the others will arrive some time. We’re all feeling elite and elated … Chris Hill (Clark Advisers) has opened a tab at the bar …
We had an evening of speeches and awards, with all the riders together for the first time since London. A passionate speech by Dr Carol Homden, chief executive of Coram, about what our generous sponsors’ £356,000 is delivering for vulnerable kids, brought hardened ride captain John McNaughton to tears.
After the bar has never been so full but the celebrants thinned out quick to a hardcore couple of dozen as a degree of tension kicked in when thoughts drifted to the final day.
Tough stage, tomorrow, only 180km but including three big, big climbs. Has anyone got an ounce of energy left?
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