Stage 20 – Saint-Pée-Sur-Nivelle > Espelette

A quick spin around the time trial course in the rain and then we traveled to Paris ready to ride in tomorrow.

The time has flown by and it’s hard to believe that it has also been a year since I last rode around Paris. I am feeling a little more together and coherent this time,  so I may actually remember something of the day.


Stage 19 – Lourdes > Laruns

Another big day in the mountains. Rain and mist made for an interesting final climb.

Nothing could dampen our spirits knowing that after we completed today there is a short time trial tomorrow and a ride around Paris on Sunday to celebrate.


Stage 18 – Trie-Sur-Baïse > Pau

Afiter 9 days of hard riding, 170 km of relatively flat countryside becomes a bit of a recovery ride.

I spoke to Gary one of the physio’s today. If the mechanics fix the bikes, it’s the physio’s that fix the bodies and keep us all on the road.

Rest Day – A Terrible Cycling Dilemma

Noun. dilemma. circumstance in which a choice must be made between two alternatives.

I have spent the rest day in Carcassonne. A sleep in, a massage and a bit of bike faff was followed by a nice long lunch and a walk around the old city.

When you have a bunch of cyclists together the conversation is always going to be about past and future bike exploits. Many people on tour are repeat offenders. Some you have met in earlier Vlogs are riding the whole thing for the second or third time, others have ridden a few stages and come back for more.

Tim who I had lunch with today described his Le Loop addiction as his “Terrible Cycling Dilemma”, which I think describes the situation most of us find ourselves in.

It always says something about an organisation when you get so much repeat business. And the challenge is once you have experienced everything Le Loop has to offer then its hard to find anything similar that is going’s to match it.

So I am faced with an interesting decision, the places for next years Grand Le Loop open at the end of July. They will sell out immediately so if I want to ride again next year, and do the whole thing, I need to make a call in the next week or so. I would love to do it, the challenge is the impact it has on other areas of my life, the time needed for training, the challenges it can create taking the time off from work and of course the impact on my family. Fortunately Robyn is always supportive and from our calls this week they seem to be managing quite well without me.

I need to ride my bike for my own well-being and for those around me, if it’s not the tour what else? Would anything else come close to the physical and mental challenge riding through France gives me?

So what to do? I will decide over the next week as I aim to complete this weeks tour. A welcome dilemma to ponder as we set off on more long days and climbs in the Pyrenees.

This week I rode 1056.58 km over the course of 49h:06m.


Stage 15 – Millau > Carcassonne

Six days of riding completed. Today was another spectacular day through some wonderful scenery in the heat. A climb towards the end to keep us on our toes and a World Cup win for France made for an interesting ride in to the hotel.

I caught up with a couple of the hard men on tour, not those at the front, but the guys towards the back who put in the longest days.

It’s a rest day tomorrow so a chance to rest the legs before the final 6 stages.


Stage 14 – Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux > Mende

In the tour guide today’s stage is described as “hilly”. May be a bit of an understatement, scenery was stunning and another testing stage is in the bag.

Lots of tired riders who are kept on the road by the superb medical team on tour. Today I had a chat with Dr.Fiona. Another tour superstar.


Stage 13 – Bourg D’oisans >Valence

There were times in the last 3 days when I wondered what I was doing. All of that gets forgotten about when you have days like today. A flat stage through beautiful scenery and a great meal al fresco to complete the day.

Today I had a chat with arguably the most important man on tour Sam who puts up the arrows to show us the way. We would actually be lost without him!


Stage 10 – Annecy > Le Grand Bornand

Stage 10 and my first day of this years tour .

Straight into the mountains and hard work. It doesn’t matter how many KM you have ridden or how many mountains you have climbed, you still have to get up and over what is put in front of you.

For today’s production I had a chat with a couple of returned  “lifers” Deano and Michael.