Day 06 Arras - Reims. A sprint

According to the Tour de France website this is a sprinters stage, and flat. Well, ladies and gentlemen, we didn't sprint. Sorry about that! And if 1,520m is flat...? Well, it had two cat 4 climbs on it.... Ok, not mountainous, but not flat. 190km. Beautiful day, very hot (34 degC at one point). We rode as a group of about 10 most of the day learning about rotating in the peleton, chain gang stuff, and riding 2 abreast. All good fun and useful to pass the time on the long straights, and shelter from the wind behind or to the side of each other. We also passed a lot of WW1 graveyards which was really quite sobering. This years Tour de France is all about WW1 awareness, and passes through many significant battle areas during this Northern France section.

Anyone looking at the ave speed and thinking it is low, please remember that we are doing 21 days riding (!) and the start and finish of the day usually involves a lot of city riding with traffic lights etc.... Unlike the pro's .....we have to stop!

Today felt good, plenty in reserve (useful, cos tomorrow is 235 km!). Legs a bit tight and knee a bit sore, so had a massge at the end and the sports physio told me my muscles were a bit tight on one side so pulling the knee cap a bit to one side. Nothing to worry about, just a bit painful, and nothing a good rub every night wont help, along with 5 mins in the shower on cold water. Hmmm.

Day 06 Thurs 03/07/14  Arras - Reims 194km

Distance km 189 Elevation m 1,520 
Ave speed km/hr  26.4 Max Speed km/hr 61.3 
Moving Time  7:07 Total Time  8:35
Ave Heart Rate  123 Max Heart Rate 154 
Ave Cadence 72     
Calories burned  2907 Temp Range  15-34

For anyone interested...... The following describes A Typical Day on the TdF

05:15 am Alarm goes off. No snooze. No time for that!

Both Andy (my room mate) and I fight to be 1st in the bathroom (this is actually the only fighting or competitive stuff we do all day..... but trust me it is important!). Put lashings of cream on various parts of the body (which includes some interesting positions in front of the mirror), kit on and take main travel bags downstairs. Take vitamins and cod liver oil, and all the other magical potions (I think this is when the pro's used to get the EPO out!!!)

6:00am Eat breakfast.  06:30am  Get on bus for transfer to start.

7:30am bikes have been unloaded by the TdF staff team and are ready to go. We put our bottles in, the holders and hand in our day bags to Stop 1/3 and 2/4 (2 bags, full of spare kit or anything we might need later in the day......e.g. creams (!) gel seats, spare shorts, waterproofs, special food, etc.  Set off cycling at 7:30am sharp.

Cycle for 40km.

Arrive at Feed Stop 1 (FS1) - usually about 2 hrs. We all ride together to FS1. Bananas and flap jack and water. Sometimes nuts, dried apricots etc

Cycle for another 40 km (40-80) to FS2. At FS2 Bread and jam/peanut butter, bananas, apples etc. We can now leave whenever we want and team up with who we want.

Cycle for another 40 km (80-120km) to FS3. At FS3 pasta and rice, biscuits, fruit.

Cycle for another 40km (120-160km) to FS4. At FS4 its crisps, coke, chocolate bars! (Oh man.... I had a Lion Bar today (2 actually!!) - remember them? Heaven.

Cycle another 40km (160km-200km) usually to the end. At the end there is usually left overs from the other Feed Stops!

This section may or may not exists depending upon the length of the day. There will be an extra one tomorrow as we do 235km!

The end of the day can be any time between 4pm and 10pm (for some people).  If you have a "Happy Bike" it goes straight in the van for tomorrow. If it needs work you work on it or give it to the mechanic who works his magic if he can.

There are massages available but long queues. Check into the room, take bags upstairs, (find day bags, sometimes delayed, and main luggage bag) have a shower, wash cycling shorts (very important) daily and sometimes any other stuff needing washing. Important to stay on top of this cos haven't got much kit/clothes. Put recovery skin gel on sensitive areas ( :-) ). Clean out water bottles, sterilise or refill with powder for tomorrow. Drink lots of water. Make up some recovery drink (protein). (Again, another fine tip from "me good ol' mate" Youcef, who along with his "2nd skin" rear-end cream has kind of saved me a lot of issues!!) Look at tomorrows stage and wonder how on earth we will complete it! Put the book away in disgust!

19:30 Dinner (best part of the day). Always 3 course, always glorious. Always loads. 

Dinner - below..... Note: It's not chicken. (Family joke...Mum.... GAMMON STEAK !)

20:00 Daily awards (good man = chapeau, he who messed up most = moustache, general award = route card)  and then briefing for tomorrow (ie breaky times, transfer or start straight away etc). Weather update and football scores!

21:00 Lie on bed with legs in the air and do a self massage (don't ask!). Prepare kit for tomorrow, lay everything out, make sure day bags are packed....Download Garmin GPS, Strava, Blog, facebook and emails/texting ..... ho hum. And bed.....

When days get wet and longer than now, the blog will be the first to stop, the washing next..... I have 4 days riding kit available, and only 4 days now till rest day, so feeling happy!

We will see a new set of people tomorrow come to join, and say goodbye to one set of guys tonight who just came for stages 5 & 6. Starting to feel like a REAL LIFER now, and the commeraderie is definitely building. I helped Pippy (Langhose) fit her GoPro to her bike tonight with zip ties and yoga mat.... and in return I got a special homemade energy bar. Great :-).  This is Brilliant fun. Hard, no...exhausting, but fun.

TTFN ....... this, is getting serious now. 6 days done, over 1,000km and 11,000m climbed..... Long way to go though, and rain is forecast for the next few days :-(



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