I’ve been trying not to focus too much on the rest day while cycling as I find it best to remain in the groove rather than having the mind starting to wander and potentially tricking the legs into thinking that they can start to wind down! However, we are in Albi now and I slept deeply last night knowing that there was no riding to do.
I still got up quite early as there is a lot to do on rest day morning. Got up at 7am, got the laundry done, had a massage, then breakfast followed by bike cleaning. All done by 10:25, so time to rest up again before heading off for a most enjoyable lunch – goats cheese salad followed by a tournedos (accompanied by a glass of Bordeaux because the local red was not deemed suitable by the chef for the meal I had ordered!)
An opportunity to reflect on the first half of the Tour. For a start, it’s been the toughest route of the three “first halves” that I have done. That’s because it has been 10 days rather than 9 and there has been a lot more climbing (or it feels like it anyway). To counter that, we have had the best weather even though it has been extremely hot at times. Better that than very cold – in 2017 I had needed my winter jacket for a bit but it is so far untouched.
I don’t seem to have suffered so much (yet!) this time, which has allowed me to have more fun on the bike rather than feel it’s a total slog. Although previous trips have been fun too, the key differences are: better weather: a better bike setup (a 50-34 compact with 11-34 on the back for those who know/care); and the knowledge that I have already completed the route of the Tour de France once before. The knowledge that this trip is within my capabilities is of greater value than simply a belief that it was, which was my starting point in 2017.
Thought I would share some quirky photos:
This afternoon I played the tourist a bit to take my mind off bikes and visited the Cathedral. What an absolutely stunning place that is, both outside and inside. Will have to come back and pay it a proper visit one day.
That’s it, time for a nap now, to be followed by early dinner and an early night. Must make sure my head is back in the cycling groove tomorrow, but the respite has been welcome.