Vive La France!
Day 04 Tues 01/07/14 Le Touquet - Lilles 164km
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France is wonderful.
My legs felt a bit stiff this morning but soon loosened up. Clear blue skies and lovely and warm, we started by the beach at Le Touquet. Immediately cars gave way at roundabouts, people cheered as we passed and the roads were just sooooooo smooth! It really feels like we are on holiday!
The pace was pretty fast and the first 90km went incredibly quickly. We even had an intro to Le Pave (cobbles) which was horrendous.... Up and down some seriously bumpy cobbles, wrenching the arms, incredible. Arm pump galore. Oh.... and we have 15 km of that tomorrow.... oh dear. 2 guys have even rented special "Pave" bikes!
Today was all about peleton riding though, rotating around and doing a few minutes at the front and then sheltering from others and saving energy. We were riding 2 abreast and chatting away. Great fun. And fast. At one point we were steaming along and missed an arrow to turn though.... ooops. Absolute nightmare if you do this cos you have no idea and just keep going until you see no more, and have to turn around. But thankfully some people in the peleton noticed and shouted so we turned round immediately. I also learnt about how to push someone along when their chain comes off so it can be put back on as you ride. I learnt this 5 minutes earlier when it happened to me and Goose pushed me along. Felt good helping the next one out.... as if I had "the knowledge" !
Today felt a bit like a transition stage really, as it was mainly "flat"....well if you call 1,300m flat, with 2 category 4 climbs!!
The "Lifers" (those doing the whole of the Tour distance) were alone today and we met the 2nd/3rd group (Tour Taster 2 and 3) in the evening. They will ride the next 2 and 6 stages with us.
Arrived at the hotel and did some washing! So I now have a full set of clean riding gear which we hung up outside to great amusement from the locals! OK, so you had to be there. Bed time now..... nearly 11pm... up at 5:30 again tomorrow!
It's going well, its tough. No 160km (100 miles) day is "easy" but this day wasn't as "hard" as some!! Over 700km done now. And both Andy and I are now fully recovered and both feeling fit at last!