Thought I’d use rest day to catch up on a few things that have not so far made it to the blog.
Firstly, and most importantly, thank you so much to all who have sponsored thus far. It is very much appreciated by me, the William Wates Memorial Trust and the charities it supports. Indeed this week we have enjoyed a visit from Regenerate, one of the charities supported and which gives young people opportunities they may not otherwise have. For one of the teenagers visiting us, not only has the project given her employment opportunities but her visit to see us in action was her first trip outside the UK and her first air travel experience. Things we tend to take for granted. We are expecting a visit from another charity next week.
Although I have now reached my minimum fundraising target, it would be great to raise even more and if you have enjoyed the blog and would like to do so, then please visit http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/johngriffiths5. Thanks again, and also to all those who have contacted me one way or another and offered encouragement.
A big feature of this trip has been the involvement of BellaVelo, a London-based women’s cycling club. Two of their members are riding the whole Tour and various others come out to join them throughout the trip. This is indicative of Le Loop’s desire to increase the levels of female participation in what is traditionally a male-dominated sport. Certainly the efforts being made show how accessible Le Loop can be. Of the 47 people riding the whole Tour, seven are women. Last time I did this in 2017 there was one. So there has been a step in the right direction. I don’t know the stats regarding those coming out to ride a few stages only. I say “only”, but that should not be seen as diminishing the achievement. After all, I happily say that in 2016 I “only” rode the first half of the Tour!
A common concern – shared by any gender – is whether riding multiple stages of the Tour de France is beyond them. That is certainly a valid concern, though what I have seen is that steps are taken to give people options to shorten the route where possible on the toughest days. This is either by jumping people forward to feedstop 1 or 2 or by suggesting a shortcut to avoid a certain climb. Whether shortcuts are taken or not, they are still tough days. Yesterday for example we could have avoided the final climb and gone straight to dinner in Foix. Some did that, which was absolutely fine. You may be unsurprised to hear that this was not an option I really wanted to take! Yesterday was just about on the limit of what I could achieve, given the lateness of the start and everything else I wrote about. While I may wish that I was a stronger cyclist, I am thankful to God that I am strong enough.
So on to Nîmes, a very Roman city. I will see more of this at the start and finish tomorrow. As for today, after arriving just before noon I went straight for a good lunch at a restaurant 200 metres away. Poached egg and ratatouille to start, followed by steak and chips and then a cafe gourmand to finish. After that, back to the hotel to clean the bike and to have a massage and a swim. I was then peckish again, so a croque monsieur was just perfect for filling that little hole. Then it was time to watch the end of today’s stage on TV and have a little nap. Woke up just in time to go to another “all you can eat” buffet. Chinese this time rather than the Moroccan we had the other day (nice) and French the day after (OK, but not truly satisfying). I think I’ve made up for my missed dinner of yesterday now! As you can see, food and rest was more important than sightseeing today.
Otherwise, nothing noteworthy other than perhaps Dr Julian’s Superman pose at the rest stop during the coach journey to Nîmes. Or he might have been demonstrating a stretching routine.
Well, I needed a photo and have nothing else today.