Stage 1: Düsseldorf

Cycling summary

Start time: 17:00. Distance: 14km time trial. Terrain: flat. Climbs: None. Finish: 18:30. Time in saddle: 0h55

Local lowdown

Think Düsseldorf, think beer and sausage. The stereotype is true perhaps, but apparently there is a great fondness for all things French here. There is a three day celebration of French culture and cuisine around the time of Bastille Day (14th July), but we will be long gone by then. Will have to make do with beer and sausage then!

Tale from the Tour

Well first up a group of us that had arrived yesterday went to see the rugby.

Great view of the big screen

 

Perhaps unsurprisingly we lost what is probably our best chance of a win in the Lions-NZ series but hey ho. At least we got to see it in the comfort of McLaughlin’s bar and no-one dared sit in front of us. We were very loud at time and would have deafened them!

After that it was back to the hotel for a spot of lunch at the superbly named Mangold bar. Now we are not all golden oldies and we are not all male, but there is nevertheless a fairly narrow demographic. We had dinner and a few beers there last night too, having first retrieved our bikes from the vans that had brought them out and stored them in the basement next to the sauna as instructed. This still seems to have annoyed someone using it at the time, quite possibly we had had the temerity to move the deckchairs to make space, one of which had his towel on it. Ever been confronted by an angry, naked German? First incident of the tour and we hadn’t even got on our bikes yet. Now I usually like to illustrate my stories, but this one not so much!

With my room mate Alex at the start of the Tour

There’s been a triathlon event going on today, so in order to make life easier we held off doing our ride until 5pm as it wasn’t going to take long. This gave us plenty of time for a briefing and to meet other riders and the support team who will be vital to our success in this crazy mission to ride 3,500km over 21 days.

Stopped at yet another red light

The best thing that can be said about today’s stage is that we have knocked it off the list. I’m not complaining, but commuting in London used to be more fun. And the Tour is the Tour after all (cliche alert). Ride leaders did an excellent job of getting about 50 people through busy streets where we also had to contend with tram tracks.

Oh, and I was honoured to receive the first “chapeau” award for having mentored one of the lads who attends a charity supported by the money we raise. Dequane will be coming out to ride stage 7 and I hope he feels encouraged by our ride together. Please do consider sponsoring me if you haven’t already. Http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/johngriffiths5. It’s for very good causes.

Suits you, sir

 

Andrew, Alex, me and Rob taking post ride recovery seriously

So, another beer, then dinner and one more beer for carbo-loading purposes and it’s time for bed before a proper ride tomorrow. As I mentioned at dinner, so far I have drunk more beers than I have ridden kilometres. There may be some journalistic licence in that, but not much!

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