Breakfast: 05:45. Transfer: 1 hour. Start time: 08:00. Distance: 223.5 km. Terrain: undulating, then flat (1,500 metres). Climbs: one category 4. Finish: 19:10. Time in the saddle: 8:58 hours.
We started in Granville, where they like to put scallops and cream on their pancakes apparently. But today we left Normandy and are now in Angers, which lists Cointreau among its specialities. Now I quite like scallops, but on balance I think I’d prefer to take the best of each area and order a crêpe suzette, as it’s quite fun setting fire to your dinner deliberately! If you like Rillauds d’Anjou (pork belly), then Angers is the place for you.
Tale from the Tour
Today’s ride started on the beach at Granville. Well, nearby anyway and in persistent rain that lasted most of the day. So I’ve used a photo from earlier!
We were a select band today, just the 30+ lifers and 4 semi-lifers like me, as those who joined for the first two stages have now gone home and the next influx will not be until Stage 5.
Not great at first, but that all changed with the day’s most entertaining moment which ended up with the rider being awarded the “nelly” prize. His crime? He had not properly rinsed his shorts and so when they got wet, foam started appearing from his backside and was blown towards us. It was like cycling into a blizzard! If I could have videoed it, I would have called the film “Blazing saddles, foaming bottom”! From then on it all changed and we laughed out loud every time we thought about it during the rest of the day.
I rode in the last group with Annabel, Jenn, Gene and, until injury struck, Tim. This group is known in cycling circles as the “grupetto”, or “fun bus”. We also kept our spirits up by singing a whole load of songs, mostly to do with rain (Eurythmics, Supertramp among many others) and marked the half way point of a long stage with Bon Jovi and the 2/3 point with Meatloaf!
Another highlight was when we drafted behind a tractor for a while. It was warmer there too! I was quite disappointed when I saw it turning off, but it was turning into the Tractor shop and so I was able to grab a photo!
Our grupetto was commended tonight for our group riding. We stayed in perfect formation for most of the ride and that really helped the miles tick by. Our group had formed early on when I spotted that the ladies had disappeared. I had assumed that this was because they needed a cafe (us blokes have hedges, nuff said), but anyway after I checked which was our exit off the roundabout (signage is excellent on this tour), I went back for them. This was just as well because the last of our vans had just gone by and was not aware we had stopped (we should have told him), and his job was to take down the signs! Panic averted, because I could just about see Andy in the distance taking down further signs. Quick sprint, and I caught him so we were safe! Lesson learned. For this I was honoured to receive the “chapeau” award tonight, so I get to wear the flat cap until I pass it on to the next winner tomorrow. And I just thought I was doing what anyone would, looking out for my fellow cyclists.
Penseé du Pédaleur
On these long straight, flat roads you can see for miles and miles. Today I recalled the time when I was supposed to be studying for my initial accountancy exams but headed off to the Loire that week instead because I only had two to do and had covered most of the topics before, but had not managed to get an exemption. I had visited Chartres, which you can see really well from a great distance. The above photo is not Chartres, but illustrates the point to a degree. So today we were riding in an area I had been previously and when I had absolutely no clue as to how the gears worked! A basic lack of technical competence that I probably still possess. At least on that day it did not matter very much. And I passed my exams!