Having the family in town for the rest day certainly burst the tour bubble. Riding long distances day after day with a group becomes a very insular affair. With the benefit of modern technology the outside world is not completely shut out but your focus becomes the ride ahead or your next task, normally eating, sleeping or preparing to ride.
Stepping away from the tour and into holiday and family mode and all of a sudden we had to think for ourselves. Even choosing what to have for lunch was a challenge. We were in a very nice restaurant and were faced with a French menu and a choice. I have been in a routine of eating what is put in front of me or taking one of everything from the buffet, so I almost abdicated responsibility. I approached it like riding a climb, I took my time, surveyed what was in front of me and slowely peddaled through 4 courses and matching wines. Bliss.
The family were there to wave us off in the morning and as we rode away it was strange that part of our trip we had looked forward to for so long was now being left behind. Two weeks down one more to go.
The ride today was a short one, just 165km. Tom an old school friend of mine and the person who introduced me to the whole TDF, has joined the tour for the next 4 stages. He proudly proclaimed at dinner last night that he had never ridden in the rain whilst on tour, and he has done some stages for the last 6 years.
So sure enough after 10 minutes of leaving, the rain started falling and continued for the first hour. By the time we reached the first feed stop the sun had come out and we had started to dry out. What followed was a glourious day of riding as we made our way down some long decents into he Rhone Valley. A quick lunch stop and then we had a final 50km on the flat to the end of the stage. We took turns on the front protecting Robyn from the wind, so she didn’t have to put in any extra effort. This means she is in peak condition for the Alps tomorrow and another big day in the mountains.
How to dry your socks on the road…