Breakfast: 06:30. Transfer: none. Start time: 08:00. Distance: 178km. Terrain: flat (1,250 metres climbing). Climbs: two Cat 4. Finish: 17:05. Time in saddle: 7h05.
Suffer scores: John 2/10, Alex 2/10
Chateaux seen: loads. Rivers crossed: many.
I’m sure many have visited the Dordogne at some point. This is a beautiful area popular with “gourmands” who love their truffles, walnuts and terrines. And we have the famous Lascaux caves around here, picking up on the theme of Neanderthal man whom we came across in Germany. There’s a statue of Cyrano de Bergerac in the finish town, which I have visited before. Doesn’t look at all like Gérard Depardieu who played him in the film (and being an Astérix fan I tend to think of him in his role as Obélix anyway)! Got the necessary big hooter though.
Tale from the Tour
I’ll start with some words about bike faff, a particular condition from which we suffer and it gets exacerbated when there is a lack of time. Sometimes it feels that we really are up against the clock and it can be tricky to deal with.
Serious bike faff started yesterday when there was loads to do in very little time. This meant that I had not inflated my tyres or got my kit properly dry. So this morning I got up earlier than usual as there was a load of kit to pack, some of which was still wet. I was all done, with overnight bag on the van by 7am and thought “great, chance to gather my thoughts and rest up for a bit”. Then I remembered I had not taken my amnesty bag back to the van (stuff that I don’t need for the week can be left on the van and I’ll get it later). Faff. Back to the room and then I remembered that I had not done my tyres. More faff. Then when I did the rear tyre the valve broke and I had to replace the tube. Stress faff. And it was now nearly time to go. Argh! Then someone wanted to know the details of the problem. My inner chimp (which I was reading about yesterday in Guy Martin’s book) was screaming “how on earth is answering that going to help me?” I had the matter under control but was rushing, not wanting to be distracted so my response, while not rude, was probably a bit short. This bugged me afterwards and I had the chance to make amends at the first feed stop. Graciously the rider understood the pressures we can be under at times and no harm was done.
But then we got off the busy roads and serenity was the watchword for the rest of the ride. Truly this felt like a holiday ride, and after riding through beautiful countryside where we saw chateau after chateau and criss-crossed the Dordogne, we arrived at a beautiful hotel set in the middle of a golf course and which has a swimming pool that I was able to use!
We had a few photo stops and at one point a local agreed to take a photo of us but was convinced the camera was not working even though he had a few goes, all of which involved him holding up the traffic in the process. Barry ended up with 35 copies!
Some more shots:
There was no suffering involved today, but it seems rude to score any Tour de France route less than 2. And we did push it a little bit at times and it was quite hot!
Finally, although there was a distinct air of humidity when I opened my case this evening, everything is now bone dry and I’m good to go until the next rest day (that’s five more rides) so all is good and hopefully less faffy. But at 5am tomorrow the whole show kicks off again. I wouldn’t want to be leaving the tour just yet though – it feels like we’ve done the hard yards and each day we are getting closer to Paris. With the new intake of riders I feel like I am in year 2 at college now, with the third and final year to come after the next rest day!