This is a very brief summary of the first 4 days of our epic journey from Paris to Nice by Bike, on account of the fact it is now 10pm and I am falling asleep on my keyboard, so please forgive any mis-spellings or plain nonsense, I am not in full possession of all my faculties.
The reason for this, is that I join you after having ridden over 400miles in the last four days, over any number of category 4 and 5 climbs as well as a few bigger and a monster of a 1st category Col today (the Col de Supeyres if you’re interested). We started today at no more than 200m above sea level, and had reached 1366m at the top of the Col. A massive effort for the whole team.
But I get ahead of myself. I should start from the beginning….
I always want to do something for our partner charity each year, until now this has involved a 24hr race or some other similar nonsense. This year I was lucky enough to be invited along on a Polocini organised (www.polocini.com) ride from Paris down to the south coast in Nice, a total of 1200km or about 800miles if you’re ‘Olde’ School. There was one condition, I was to provide the team support vehicle for someone to drive so that I could ride the route. No problem.
I’ll jump the journey ahead here a little and we’ll cut to the riding. We set off from Paris, via the Palace of Versaille and out onto the open road. The first day was spent getting to know how the rest of the team would respond to the pace and distance of the back to back daily riding. As it turned out, we very quickly formed a great ‘Squad’ as we worked together to get all 8 of our riders through each day as comfortably as possible. Everyone was doing their turn on the front and we were making great progress.
That was pretty much the pattern for days 1 to 3, each of us having good times and bad, helping others when we were strong, being dragged along in the slip-stream when we were flagging.
The countryside was truly epic, even in this the ‘boring’ bit of France. To us it was all new, all sunny and all exciting. And the road surface was like riding on carpet when compared to anything we experienced in the UK!
We couldn’t believe it, just endless ribbons of freshly prepared tarmac, laid out infront of us like we were off to see the Wizard of Oz only our road was paved with Energy Gels, hydration drink and lunches prepared for us by our sterling ‘soigneur’ Clare. Directions and Motorcycle outriding was taken care of by Mr.Polocini himself, and with the back-up of some of the riders having Garmin computers, navigation was (almost) always as simple as falling off a log.
I will write more during a full report soon, but over those first 3 days the banter grew as we have all become firm friends and together batter our way south through France.
Today was a big one, Day 4, a plethora of climbs including that dreaded Col, which whilst categorised as a 13+ km climb, actually started for us from the word go this morning as we winched our way up over a km of vertical to get to the top
Today was visually a lot more stimulating too (more pictures to follow), with lush green forest to our sides as we climbed, mountain-top views and small villages that past us by in a blur of sweat and energy drink..
A cracking descent took us to the aforementioned lunch-stop and then it was a case of “Pour On Garcon” as we hit the road again with an eye on our destination another 50miles away.
Tomorrow will be a day full of climbs and fast descents again before we tackle the ridiculous slopes of the Mont Ventoux the day after If I am still alive after that I will update you then!
For now, I cannot write anymore so I will say goodnight, it’ll be just a few hours before the alarm goes off and I need to swing a stiff leg over that bike again….oh dear.