Now that I’m back in the “real” world, I’ve updated all my posts for the days of the L2P so if you want to know more about what we did, I suggest you go back and re-read from the beginning. At least if I’ve written it all down I have a record/momento of the whole thing. If anyone owes me sponsorship money, or would like to sponsor me, now would be a good time to pay up 🙂
Back in the UK now, at my bro’s, having driven here from Chessington this evening. Not a good decision by any stretch of the imagination! Neither was getting lost in central London. Hubby had to play Tom Tom on speaker phone to talk an over-wrought and in pain me to my destination… Not my finest hour 🙁
Shoulder is – when I’m not driving! – strapped up. I have the contents of a small French pharamacie in my bag, and am about to run out of magic pink pills…but hopefully that which I do have will do the job. It’s more painful that it was as I think the bruising is spreading…but that’s only to be expected. Must learn to stay ON the bike *grin*.
L2P was brill. I plan on adding details to the stage entries in the next couple of days, but in the meantime, I’d like to mention that I met some fab folk – and just for a change I’m going to use names – especially John (who rail roaded me *grin*), Kevin, Ian, Phil, Steve, Lorne (apart from the twitter photo!), and more who I will add when my addled brain can do recall… Enjoyed the ride…and it was a ride 🙂
Now I need to go recuperate for a little while…I understand red wine is medicinal…
Total Time 23:20:08
Total Distance 336.18 miles
Average Speed 14.35 mph
That’s a whole heap of cycling! It was a fantastic trip. Really well organised and run, by the Discover Adventure guys. Lovely people, great scenery, pretty good weather, and some great riding. I probably wouldn’t do it again – I don’t really do repeats – but I’d recommend it to anyone 🙂
Assorted grazes plus a chipped shoulder bone didn’t stop Jennifer reaching the finish (what a trooper!). A short convalescence will follow (involving a sling for 10 days apparently).
Updated by Hubby.
As you know, from Hubby’s entry above, after a trip to the hospital to be checked out, it turns out that I’d actually chipped my right shoulder bone. I now officially have a “chip on my shoulder”. I’ve got exactly the same strapped up contraption that I had when I broke my collar bone in France a couple of years ago. Only 10 days or so of it this time though, so that’s a relief 🙂
The final day was here already. “Only” 50 odd miles lay between us and Paris. Even so, it was another early start so as to get us all to where we were supposed to be on time.
I wasn’t sure how my knee was going to be feeling, even with the aid of “pink pills”, and so set off a little gingerly. It felt ok, and as we left Chartres the roads turned into the same long flat smooth roads that we had arrived on the night before. I was still a little restricted going uphill, but the hills went away… The first water stop was only 20 miles away, and as I cycled along with quite a little group, it occurred to me that doing the speeds that could be done along there, if the roads lasted, that maybe I could get there in an hour… So, I put my best foot down, hurtled past the group, and zoomed off down the road, taking Bill along behind me. It was FABULOUS! I flew… I got to the first stop, about 21 miles in, after a little over an hour, having averaged 18.6mph due to the slower section at the start, feeling extremely pleased with myself *grin*. The rest of the group came in a while later, wondering what I’d had for breakfast to set me off like that!
After that we pretty much stuck together as the roads got busier and less flat. Some fairly serious long hills followed, as the route profile had warned, and I plodded my way up them favouring the knee. We had a lovely coffee stop at a funny alpine style shack in the middle of some hills, complete with lake and ducks. Things were going pretty well until we were in Versailles, getting close to the food stop, about 12 miles out from Paris. We were going through an old military camp style area, and came across some old train tracks in the road. Jon, just ahead of me, yelled about the tracks. I was slowing and turning to go across them at 90 degrees when he went down, I had to swerve left to avoid him thus putting my front tyre straight into them… I skidded along them and went down hard on my right hand side, swearing like a trooper. After my very similar feeling accident two weeks ago I couldn’t believe I was doing it again!!! I was NOT amused! 🙁
So, back on the ground again. I’d gashed my right elbow, nicely removing all the just healed area there, grazed my knee, banged my head, and bashed my shoulder. Nothing too obviously serious though. I did feel very shaky, and in shock, unlike last time which was probably a sign. Jon was likewise bruised and battered but ok. Back on the bike, round the corner under a bridge, and there was the food stop on the LHS just down a hill. I didn’t feel up to downhill, so got off and walked in, dripping blood, in tears, in front of what felt like the entire cycling world. The DA team patched me up, and checked my bike over (back wheel out of true, back brake needs work, scratches, bashed gears again, damaged brand new handlebar tape). The doctors weren’t happy with my shoulder and I knew it hurt more than it ought to…
…but there was no way I was not going to cycle in the last 12 miles. Not after all that way. I cycled the rest of the way in extremely carefully with some other tail enders – having told my mates to go on without me. Plenty of traffic lights meant lots of stop starting, and no need to build up any speed. Cycling into Paris was a bit emotional, down all those familiar streets, and the atmosphere was awesome. I made it to the Trocadero where everyone was gathering without further incident. After everyone was in, the riders from several routes set off together to go down the Champs Elysee to the Eiffel Tower, at which point my chain fell off. I put it back on and got going again, but sadly had to cycle that last bit with people I didn’t know at all, which wasn’t quite the same. However with all the traffic and the cyclists it actually felt more comfortable to be at the back with a bit of space and a reduced likelihood of falling off again! All of us together made quite a spectacle, with bells ringing and horns tooting.
So, that was that. We all gathered together under the Eiffel Tower for medals, group photos, and the like. I was kinda sheet white by this point, but really happy to have made it. Day 4, and the L2P was done. And I was done for 🙂
Average Speed 14.9
(Odd to see that my average speed actually went up each day, as you’d sort have expected the opposite!)
Average Speed 14.7
In the Novotel on the outskirts Chartres after a long day; My left knee went before lunch, many many hours ago, and I didn’t get my hands on decent drugs until the last water stop 16 miles out. Cycling with one leg is not easy – downhill and flat is ok, but uphill is a disaster when you can’t put any weight on it 🙁 But the last 16 miles? I caned it *grin*. Got up to 30mph for a bit, was mostly at 25ish on flat smooth roads, wind beneath my wings, just flying. I’m quite fast sometimes you know! 😉 I even towed people with me! Can’t believe I can do a day like this 3 days in – it’s pretty much like the Dragon – but without all the pasta and rest days! How cool is that? But I’m REALLY going to hurt tomorrow. Thank goodness it’s “only” 50 odd miles…and I’m looking forward to rolling into Paris, drugged up to the eyeballs, and ready for my champagne 🙂
(taken over from Hubby…)
After a couple of beers in the bar the evening before, and the bad night’s sleep at the Holiday Inn, on top of a day’s cycling, I was tired enough to sleep like a baby on the ferry. I find ferry cabins kinda womb like anyway – warm, constant noise, rocking… We were up at 6am, kitted up, and off to the buffet for continental breakfast plus extra cereal. The way back to the cabins was a rabbit warren, and we managed to get lost several times on the way back to them and also back to our bikes…traipsing around getting funny looks from all the “normal” people.
There was a long wait once off the ferry at St Malo to get underway which was a tad tedious, but we finally set off a bit after 9am. We cycled as a 5 with Jon, and Richard/John/Yank (long story) and others, and we made a pretty good team. It was fairly flat up until the 1st stop, and it was infinitely nicer cycling in France than it had been the day before. All those lovely road surfaces & polite drivers who leave you loads of space – very nice thankyou. There were longer hills up and down later but nothing too mad – just long drags. Kevin and Ian were busy “not racing”… We instigated the “coffee stop”, a tool to break up the journey, go to the loo (no such things at water/food stops on the French legs), to drink coffee and orangina. At the last stop we were lingering in the sun, having seriously augmented the takings of the sleepy little cafe we’d found, but we could see some properly hideous weather looming behind us, and decided to head off and race the rain in.
We reached Mayenne and split up, off to the four various hotels being used. Mine was another 4 miles out…with a couple of the biggest hills of the day on main roads to get there…but boy was it ever worth it! It turned out to be a recently renovated and converted chateau and outbuildings. The room was modern and stylish, with a fab walk in shower which I made much use of before going and sitting on the terrace for a couple of beers. By now the rain had arrived, and a steady stream of very wet and cold cyclists who’d been stuck in it for hours were coming in, making me feel quite guilty…kinda *grin*.
Dinner was fab – three courses, veg terrine, magret de canard, sorbet – all very civilised. The Star Inn crowd welcomed me onto their table, which was very nice of them as I’d have been kinda on my own otherwise without my little peleton.
Average Speed 14.3
I didn’t feel as bad as I thought I would after two days in the saddle. I did have a few issues – namely my left shoulder and knee, and ibuprofen had ceased to be a luxury and become a necessity! The route was much easier than Day 1 though, and much more sociable. Day 2 was done. Day 3 – the longest of the lot – loomed…
(taken over from Hubby)
So the day came, after a distinctly average night’s sleep, or lack of one. I got all my stuff ready, feeling rather apprehensive, and a bit lonesome. Everyone gathered in the car park, and I didn’t know anyone. Bill introduced himself to me as we were waiting, and I found the PHUK.dis mob who I’d “met” online, which helped a bit. After the briefing we finally set off, following the orange arrows that were to guide us all the way to Paris.
It wasn’t the best ride. Lots of gusty headwind, grey gloomy English roads, and a whole heap of hills. The stops were good – all at or near pubs so with toilet facilities. We lunched in a nice park near Jane Austen’s house, on the inevitable pasta and carbs. I managed to get a tad lost near Farnham and had to retrace my steps, but apart from that the route went fine. My cycle computer stopped working for a bit as I discovered the magnet was a tad knackered, so the mechanic crew taped it on to the spoke with black tape. Not attractive, but it did the job. You know how I like to have my figures!
Average Speed 13.5
I think the average speed was pretty much down to the hills. To have the South “Downs” you have to have the South “Ups” and there were some corkers. In fact there wasn’t much decent flat to get going on at all. Somewhere along the way I met Jon and we cycled together on and off for a while. The last huge climb up Portland Hill before Portsmouth was a corker…but I made it up without getting off and even spent some time at the top admiring the views over the harbour. Luckily as I know the scenery there vaguely, I knew where the top was, so I just plodded my way up. I’d left Jon behind so headed down into a busy Portsmouth on my own where I met Kevin and Ian for the first time and we headed off to the “holding” stop together.
Gradually it felt like the L2P was getting started. Our little group grew, as Lorne (in impressively psychedelic kit) joined us, and Bill too, and we had quite a laugh killing time before we were allowed to head off to the ferry. By the time we were on the ferry I had people to go spend time with in the bar, had found Sophie who was to be my roomy for the trip, and was feeling much better about it all. Day 1 was done 🙂
(taken over from Hubby)
Yes. Tomorrow. (*insert panicky noise here*). When it is highly unlikely that the sun will come out. Did I mention that I can actually make it rain?
So. Haircut completed. Bags packed. Final PT drops done. Legs denuded. Nails painted (which will clearly make me go much faster). Routes to and from Chessington printed out. Instructions for hubby done.
Still to do: Find car keys. (I know I put them down SOMEWHERE!). Have bath, in attempt to relax. Ponder on why there is a banana on the landing. (Really – there is). Choose CDs for the journey. Panic. Locate can of Red Bull just in case. Worry. Put bike in car. Panic. Load up car with bags etc. Worry. Eat pasta. LEAVE!!!
At which point I’ll be done. Ready as I can be. En route.
A bientôt! 🙂
Two days to go, and I’m not panicking. Much! Do you have any idea how much stuff I have to take with me?
- Various paperwork – details, insurance, hotel reservation
- Helmet, shoes, gloves, 2 * socks, 2 * jerseys, 2 * shorts, 2 * jackets, 2 * sports bras. Waterproof. Torq bars & gels. Small decanted tubs of Torq Recovery and Torq Energy. 2 bottles, 1 recovery mixer bottle. Spare inner tubes. Multi-tool. High visibility jacket (legally required by the French powers that be). Mp3 player, trip computer. Spare batteries for both. Sunglasses & lenses.
- Toiletries. Clothes for 4 evenings and the final day. Sandals. Suntan creams. Tiny bit of makeup and jewellery. Remedial bits and bobs – painkillers, vaseline, sudocrem, ibuprofen gel, vitamins. Tampax (yes – that’s due – my biological timing is great!)
- AMR t-shirt for the final hurrah.
All this has to go into one bag or on me or the bike. Except it’s two bags because we need a small subsection bag for the first night on the ferry. Which then has to go back in the big bag. As does all my cycling kit, helmet included, during your final day in Paris.
Oh yes and :
- Birthday gift for my niece who I’m seeing when I get back.
In case you were wondering, there is a distinct possibility that my bag is not big enough. I really am packing the bare minimum. Only two sets of gear, interchangeable clothes, etc etc. Hey – I’ve only packed one pair of shoes (well, sandals), and that’s proper restrained for a girl *grin*