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Monday, 19 May 2014

The finish line

Friday, 16 May 2014

Day 6 and 7

Day 6

On paper a 95 mile day sounds pretty horrific, but it turns out we're absolute lads, so it was a piece of piss. The wind was behind us, the sunshine beaming down. Very few hills. It was a fantastic days cycling.

Max only got 2 punctures, but unfortunately no world record tyre changes happened. We arrived at the destination in Milly Sur 
Therin at 5:30 and were almost immediately handed some choice local beers on the hotels roof terrace. Champion.

We were handed very literally translated English menus at dinner which included dishes: 'mouthing' (Mause boush), 'laminated cheese' (cheese and puff pastry) and 'burnt cream' (creme brûlée). This caused some amusement.

Day 7

A short day with lots of drinking. Got a ferry from Dieppe to Newhaven. Now hungover. 1 day to go.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Day 5

There was no grande buffet at the Ibis budget in Troyes, but we were invited to the support teams room for a spot of breakfast. After breakfast we rode to the nearby bike shop to drop Max's wheel off to get his spoke mended, and then set off.

It was a gruelling morning's cycling due to an extremely bumpy road, which left six very sore derrières.  There was a fair amount of complaining about the sore bums, and we made slow progress. Jonny got a puncture at lunch, and didn't beat Max's world record at changing an inner tube. In fact he did appallingly , as he managed to pierce 2 inner tubes trying to get his very tight tyre back on the wheel.

Once we arrived in Château-Thierry we wandered around the town and argued about where we were going to eat. We'd narrowed it down to either a curry or a Moroccan. The majority of the group were keen on a curry, but Max was adamant that Currys are rubbish outside India or the UK, so should be avoided at all costs. Ryan was adamant he wasn't having a Moroccan, due to the poor vegetarian option at the last Moroccan establishment we'd been too. A fight nearly broke out. Then they kissed, and made up, and finally we agreed on a curry. It was really, really good. Oh, I'm blogging about food again!

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Day 4

The grande buffet was certainly grand. I consumed museli with fruit, a yogurt. 2 sausages, 1 slab of brie, 2 slices of salami, 1 slab of unidentified cheese, and 2 pain au chocolat, to ensure I didn't repeat the burn out of day 3. Anyway this isn't a food blog so lets get on with the cycling related blogging.....

After the grand buffet - which was a bloody good spread by the way -, we set off from Langres on our merry way north-west towards our destination for the day Troyes. The weather ranged quite a lot throughout the day. Sunshine, then rain, then more sunshine, then another dreaded hail storm. This one was timed much better though, as we were able to huddle under a nearby tree as soon as the hail started. No farting from Ryan this time either, so all in all a much better hailstorm experience.

We stopped shortly after at a village cafe for a coffee and to warm up. Max took his shoes and socks off, and started drying his socks on the wood-burning stove in the cafe, much to the barmaid's disgust. We tipped her 2 Euro 50c, which I don't think was quite enough considering Max's antics, and the fact we'd muddied the floor of the cafe considerably.

The sun re-appeared, then Max got the first puncture of the trip. He managed to change the inner tube in 7mins 30 seconds, which was very impressive from a man who has seemingly done nothing else quickly in his entire life.

Lunch was bloody nice, but I won't go into to much detail as this is a cycling blog, not a food blog.

The second puncture of the trip followed. Then the second broken spoke. Both on Max's clapped out  relic of a bicycle. We were too far out to ride to get the bike fixed, so the support team arrived with the spare bike. This gave a perfect opportunity for Jonny and Ryan to ride off to a nearby vineyard for a spot of champagne tasting, whilst the rest of us assembled the spare bike.

We finally arrived in Troyes at about 6pm. So it was quite a long day's cycling. Troyes is a beautiful medieval city by the way.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Day 2 evening. Day 3

Some of the group spotted what looked like a decent Chinese on the evening of day 2 for dinner, so after a couple of happy hour beers at a pub locale, we headed for the restaurant. We were quite surprised when olives were served as we arrived and the waiter was telling us how good the cous cous was. Turns out it was a Moroccan restaurant. Apparently Oriental doesn't mean Chinese in French. Several Heinekens and then a heated debate about whether we were leaving at 8:30 or 9:00 the next morning followed. Clearly setting off early and finishing early is the better option.

We set off on day 3 at 8:30 (my team obviously won the debate). We were dealt a valuable lesson about nutrition: make sure you eat enough or you'll burn out. We started the day by only having a croissant each, due to there not being any shops open the previous day (Sunday) to buy supplies from, and us not willing to stump up the cash for breakfast at the hotel. We hit a boulangerie about 10 miles into the journey and I had half a spinach quiche and half an almond croissant. I only had 2 sandwiches at lunch, instead of the usual 8 I'd had on the previous days, and as a result the last hour of the day I ran out of energy and found very difficult. When we arrived at the hotel for the night every cyclist's eyes lit up when we were offered the option of a 'grande buffet' breakfast for 9 euros for the next morning. 

The highlight of the day was realising Ryan had cycling under shorts on back to front and inside out without any over shorts on. He looked even more ridiculous than the rest of us lycra clad, bearded jokers on bikes. 

I had steak and chips, 4 Heinekens and a bottle of wine for dinner, and was tucked up in bed by 8:30. A slept like a log.

Jonny at lunch