Thursday, 25 July 2013

T24: When the Dream is Over...

A 7.30am wake up for my final day. Breakfast was at the flat with my host Mikhael who has been a champ. There's been ice-cream in the freezer, chocky in the fridge with beers, a much needed washing machine (so I go home 100% clean - YAY), and a VERY comfy bed. I was totally happy with this choice of accommodation.

Then kit on for one last ride. I'd heard yesterday at the Randomee start line from an Aussie chap called Harry (who used to ride with Neil Stevens from OGE) that there was a daily Paris bunch starting at the very gentlemanly hour of 9am. 

So I set the Garmin for Longchamps and mounted The Raptor for his final French outing.

It was nothing much to speak of in terms of scenery and it was pretty flat but I'm happy to report that I was fairly, shall we say, competitive...I dropped the bunch...twice. Maxxxxxed 'em!!

It was very hot again today - over 32 by 11am. Post ride I thought I'd get one last coffee opportunity in - hell, it can't hurt to give these frogs one last chance. Then, as if to taunt me, knowing it was departure time, the best French coffee I've had. Far out...are you just trying to hurt my feelings. Anyway, I had another.
Yes by the way, that is a rude helmet tan!!

Then, some lemon juice for the paper cut that was my departure from France, was to find a sensational fresh fruit grocer down the road who sold me the plumpest, bursting cherries and most delicious punnet of strawberries ever. Humph.
The stats:
Count:20 Rides
Distance:1,739.87 km
Avg Distance:86.99 km
Time:76:14:23 h:m:s
Avg Time:3:48:43 h:m:s
Max Time:8:50:03 h:m:s
Elevation Gain:35,779 m
Avg Speed:22.8 km/h
Max Speed:92.4 km/h
Avg HR:122 bpm
Max HR:178 bpm
Avg Bike Cadence:76 rpm
Calories:36,164 C
The ugly:
  • Coffee in France. Don't bother unless you are 100% desperate.
  • Smoking in Europe. It's just part of the scene whilst eating out at any time of the day.
  • Getting my mobile stolen on the flight home and needing a full new identity profile built from scratch - from bank accounts to Strava to Woolies and beyond. Double Humph.
The Amazing Bits:
  • Virtually all of it! If you love riding or if you love food or if you love travel or you love scenery, or cheese, or smallgoods, or the mountains - then at least once in your life - you MUST spend time in France.
  • Cheese.
  • Small goods. There is no wrong time.
  • Wine. White, Rose or Red.
  • Coffee in Italy - liquid magic.
  • Gerro in yellow.
  • A panache and watching the Tour at the end of sweet day or riding.
  • The actual TdF100 which was so entertaining this had everything. Especially loved Saxo's move in the crosswinds.
  • Annecy. If you only go to one place in France - this would be it.
  • Completing 200k on the same day as hitting nearly 5,000m of vertical.
  • Virtually every descent. Oh baby!
  • Virtually every climb - especially the ones with big names: Ventoux, Telegraphe, Galibiere, Iseran, d'Huez.
  • As a group we tried to sit around and determine the best meal or best day - it was not possible. So many rides/days/meals/ice-creams had their own awesomeness and such differences that earned their own spectacular memories.
The missing rides:
I don't want this to end but the very fact that it does makes it even better. I can't wait to see my little family. Hooray for home, hugs, lovers and little people.

Thanks for reading...I genuinely hope you enjoyed it and that it may have inspired you to do a little riding trip of your own. The planet is open - own it!!!

This has been My TdF100 and it has been way beyond expectation - simply awesome!!


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