Stage 4 – Water

Tonight we are staying just outside Vittel. Famous for the water that is supplied around the world.


I know this because people have told me. Normally I like to plan, to understand what is ahead of me and to control as much as I can. On tour I have decided to just play what is in front of me. I know I am in France, not sure exactly where at any given time, and all I focus on is the days riding ahead of me. This gives me a certain sense of freedom and permission to ignore what the remaining weeks have in store.

We have covered 630km in the last 3 days. Plenty of time riding and lots of time to think as we battle the elements. Yesterday was hot, today we encountered our first real rain. A cloudburst that has the socks and shoes wet in an instantt. Any cyclist will tell you that once the socks give way and become soaking wet  it is not actually that bad. As long as you are relatively warm then everything just keeps going.

Wheat field in France

The rain hit us as we were on a long straight road with wheat fields either side. I had a flashback to the last time I was in a similar situation when we were touring around Europe in a VW van some 25 years ago.

That time we had been stopped by the local police, in the middle of nowhere, who wanted to check us out. As one of them took the van apart, the other stood outside smoking a cigarette. When the rain really started to come down and we tried to shelter against the side of the van, they finally gave up when the policemans cigarette was so wet it broke in half.

We thought this was the funniest thing we had seen and laughed about it for the rest of the holiday. Riding along in the pouring rain, and thinking about this I found myself laughing outloud again.

I’m not sure if it was the fatigue, the long forgotten memory or just the plain silliness of what we are doing but it really made my day.

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