So the second rest in upon us and finally time to enjoy a little rest, i excused myself from the covering the press conferences…you only need one person to take pictures of people sitting still.
its time to go and enjoy some of the roads i have been driving on and enviously thinking “i’d like to ride that” the plan is to go and do the final climb of yesterdays stage..in reverse and then back in the race direction…should be a fair amount of climbing and descending fun to have with some switchbacks to enjoy.
Yesterdays stage was an interesting one…doing a first stop in the first few hundred meters of the stage always seems odd, it means you start off behind and then the whole stage is a chase to get back on but the Milliau Bridge was too good an opportunity to pass on. Only finding out the drama of the days stage over dinner i spent a few mins desperately searching back through my pictures to see if i had been lucky enough to capture it. Given it happens in the 1st KM and i was at about 500-600m into the stage i was incredibly unlucky to miss out but as you can see below they are still playing nicely at this point..or maybe its happened and they are still next to each other.
either way the rest of the day was a driving challenge to get back on the course ahead of the race, one challenging section of winding roads had me concentrating hard to make it round hairpins. Within a few kilometers of the race route we came up behind a jeep and a motorbike that were clearly together. The road didn’t lend itself to the overtaking and as soon as it a was straight the sped up. All too quickly the race route was upon us, the classic “cars dumped on both sides of the road” and the familiar red and white blocks showing it was blocked. The jeep and the motorbike just seemed to pile into oblivious to the fact they weren’t going to be able to go further. The gendarme manning the road was on there quickly trying to explain they couldn’t go any further. Almost as quickly the team car that was following us that was also desperate to get on the route was at there door…i can only imagine the words exchanged. I should point at that also at this point the owner of the accommodation for the evening had phoned so i was having a conversation in bad french explaining what time we would be there and it couldn’t be any earlier, perfect timing.
Thankfully a combination of tooting, my colleague Pete, someone from the team car being a little more vociferous and the gendarme got them out the way and bingo we were on the race route. All i had to do was just sit there and be ready for the way to clear and then floor it to get the gap between the race and us for comfort.
With that all sorted the all that was left was deciding between a final stop and the finish, in the end the final climb was too tempting and we stopped. This time it was Pete’s turn to be smug…having loaded up and walked a way from the car i suddenly realised that he had grabbed his jacket…he just looked at me and smiled..a few hundred meters later we cleared the protected bit of the road and the wind hit us…too late now…thankfully it wasn’t too cold but having been acclimatised to 30C sub 20 in strong wind was pretty cold for a delicate flower like me.