Dear blog fans.
We are now in Beauvais , about 55 miles from Paris. It was another eventful day!
Despite all the mishaps, mainly due to going on the wrong route, we are having a laugh, being challenged and enjoying it. It’s a shame there is only 1 day left.
I suppose the highlight of the day was after 15 miles or so when we all seemed to get spilt up. I was with Richard and Stuart the guide (not Stephen as previously mentioned, I did say I was bad with names!). Stuart (well that’s the way the Garmin sat nav takes us) took us down what can only be called a farmers track. No tarmac, loose stones, grass in the middle, single track. You get the picture.
Well that’s not really suited for road bikes. Thin high pressure tyres and stones don’t mix. I wouldn’t even walk my bike down that at home. Well the inevitable happened and Richard got a flat. Stuart went on to the end where we would meet and I got to changing it. I though Richard was an intelligent man, quick learner and all that but after all these years watching others fix his puncture – he still doesn’t get it!!
When starting the job I said would it just be typical that when I finish the support van turns up. It was tricky due to the puncture resistant tyres on the wheel (ironic, huh!) but I got the job done. As I put the wheel back on the bike, guess what….the van turned up. The timing was perfect, really funny. Anyway it meant I could clean the grease off my hands and the correct pressure put in with the larger pump he had.
We were still smiling and I said there would be a plus point to all this and that I would tell Richard at the end of the track. At the end we met Stuart, who has also had a flat- surprise surprise! The plus was that it wasn’t uphill and I didn’t want to tempt fate by saying it earlier. Stuart in his wisdom, who has done this ride last year said, ‘I don’t know why we go down that track, last year it was a mud bath! It only cuts the corner of the road off and doesn’t save much distance.’ We let that one go…..!!!
By now the others were long gone. So we followed Stuart down a pleasant road through farmland, very small towns up some steep hills and onwards. At the next junction he checked his ‘Garmin sat nav’ and guess what, we were off route! Looks were exchanged between Richard and me. Stuart then called Mark (in the van) for directions and after a few more words we turned round and went back down the road we just came down. We were a bit annoyed it had happened again. Twenty minutes later Stuart calls Mark and asked where he is. More words exchanged and we had gone the wrong way at the last junction. We should have turned right, effectively doing 2 sides of a triangle and not turned round. More words and looks. We agreed to put our bikes in the van and join the route as long as we missed none of the route out. The bikes and Stuart went in the back, Richard and I in the front. 20 minutes by van later we were back on route. By now it was 1pm and we we were hungry. Thankfully the van was now stocked up with food other than bananas, and we had a picnic by the road just off a roundabout in town. Food helps but we were still astounded. The others were waiting for us 4o minutes away and were having lunch.
We caught them up and found we had done an extra 9 miles. There were other stories of going a bit off route, not knowing what was happening etc and we set off again at about 2.
The roads were rolling and there were some big hills. The weather was hot and a bit cloudy. I was getting tired after not enough sleep ( Keith you are a great guy but I can’t sleep through your snoring. Tina, much respect!! So I am in my own room tonight as I need to sleep. It’s now 11.15pm so there won’t be much more of this and it will probably be my last adventure blog effort. It’s great to look back on but really is a huge effort and gets in the way, mainly of sleeping and relaxing, which is vital, for me anyway on these mad physical adventures.
Well by mid afternoon, I was losing energy and getting tired. Stuart was just doing his 15mph leading up front and the group was stretching out. The extra miles and messing up my food, (lunch was just a cheese and salad baguette, which was lovely but not enough) was not great for my cycling and energy levels. I was eating energy bars but getting overloaded with them. I needed to stop but couldn’t get to Stuart to tell him. Fortunately the van was nearby and passed on the message. The group stopped and when I got there I didn’t even get of the bike but went to Stuart and told him what I thought! Not like me at all as I usually keep it in, but perhaps it all got to me. I said there was no effective sat nav, only 1 phone between them, he had no idea how the riders were feeling or riding and it was ridiculous. He took it coolly and said there should be 2 guides, one front and one back. I said I could do my job but didn’t know about him doing his, just saying I thought it needed sorting.
When he was supposed to be riding with Richard after taking us the wrong way he didn’t even stay with Richard, but just did his normal speed. So I hung back to be together and off he went, looking behind occasionally.
Well the penny dropped as he now lets us all pass him on the hills then catches up at the front. What a good idea that is, quite sensible, I’d say!
Anyway it’s 11.30 and I’m finishing now. France will be happy tomorrow as they just thrashed Switzerland in the World Cup.
The stats for today were leave at 9.15, 74 miles (keep up it was only scheduled for 65!), average 13.3mph, 5.35 hours on the bike, finished at 6.45. When we left this morning we all agreed 4.3o was reasonably achievable for a finish time. As you just read – you know what happened?!!!
Roll on Paris