One day to le grand depart!

No good answer as to why I am on the crack of dawn EasyJet flight to Nantes at the start of 3 weeks of cycling following the exact route of the Tour de France , just one week in advance of the real thing!!What started out as a lunchtime chat with Gavin White ( I blame son in law Simon for the intro to Gavin!) quickly spiralled out of control and no sooner had I made a gentle enquiry to the lovely Sarah of Tour de Loop I was signed up! Not for me a few stages of this iconic event….no…let’s go all in…that’s of course what a sensible 62 year old would do!So …if a team of ‘domestiques’ is good enough for Chris Froome so it would be for me!First there was Marianna…my personal trainer…who introduced me to Simon who became my on line coach…and there is Zephyr.. rock star yoga teacher…Nichola…the very best cycling physio…Jade….masseuse to the stars …And yes you would be right …I have been pampered all the way….I have done my bit… becoming a cycling bore…a junkie for ‘ warm weather ‘ training in nice places….ł. Man avid acquirer of anything that might make a difference to my attempt on this 3,500 km journey round France ( to say nothing of climbing up 55,000m!)….magnesium oil , creatin, whey, …etc!!So – tomorrow we start….and today I journey with my 40 other Grand Loopers to Noirmoutier in western France….If this is what all the hotels are like I will be happy!

Day 1 – Noirmoutier to Fontenay

201 km…7.11…28.05 About 170 km into this 220 km I would have been prepared to say…all ok….My body began to complain about the 35degree heat that the blue skies had bought us ….and by the end ( top of a hill!) the peleton has disintegrated and many bodies were to be seen in the prone position!The first day allowed everyone to gently get to know ones fellow cyclists and get into a group going at a similar pace….pretty flat all day so all the niceties and subtleties of group riding were explored!!I enjoyed passing through Sable where the Vendee Globe starts and finishes. This is Pays de Loire country….a gentle seascape with huge fields in the hinterland punctuated by an array of classic French villages….We are staying in a girls boarding school…as our tour leader ( the truly wonderful Sarah) tells us …’ when she says a luxurious hotel she thinks insufficient calories ‘…. I think the cycling may be only part of the challenge !!

Day 2 Mouilleron to la Roche

187 km… 7.34…25.01

If this was ‘flat’ as the official description would have it then ‘Hill’ will be interesting . Heat dominated the day with temperatures still over 35 degrees. Landscape reminiscent of rolling hills of the Cotswolds.A group of 18 who came just for the first loop finish today so tomorrow the party thins down a little . Continue reading “One day to le grand depart!”