There’s one quote I live my life by:
“If at first you don’t succeed… make sure no-one else finds out!”
Unfortunately I told lots of people about (failing to) ride a stage of the Tour de France. https://norseman2016.wordpress.com/2016/10/24/a-short-history-of-my-bikes-part-4-iain/
That didn’t put me off attempting it again the next year. This time, I didn’t tell anyone!
Andrew wanted to ride his own bike but I decided to hire one so like a pauper at a whorehouse I paid for one ride only. This was bike 6. This was the first and only time I rode it.
The stage was a loop starting and ending in the Beautiful french town of Annecy. It had never been used as a Tour de France stage before so there was no information other than this map.
On the way to the start – Andrew got a puncture! Was this a sign of drama come ? Unfortunately – yes! It wouldn’t be the last time that day I’d be stuck by the side of a road repairing Andrew’s bike.
The initial section was flat and easy as it winds it way along Lake Annecy. The weather was nice and sunny so we made good progress. The first climb was a steady incline but we felt good as we reached the summit of Col de Leschaux.
After this point the road widened so we rode side by side. Occasionally Andrew would drop behind me. I didn’t worry about it as he would appear again a few minutes later but just before the next climb Andrew dropped back and then didn’t reappear!
I stopped and waited. Hundreds of riders passed me but there was no sign of Andrew.
Eventually he turned up. His gears were broken. The chain was consistently slipping off. I tried to fix it but the problem persisted. Someone else stopped to help but they couldn’t fix it either.
Andrew decided to wait for a motorbike mechanic. I decided to head on.
The rest of the race was hard. The two climbs were long and there was barely any shade from the hot sun. On one climb I was going as fast as I could but I still got passed by a Frenchman wearing sandals on a bike with a basket full of his shopping! Lance Armstrong was right when he said – its not about the bike!
I completed the stage and received my medal. It felt good but it would have been better to finish with Andrew.
Andrew was waiting for me when I got back to the Hotel. His race had been ended by the mechanical problem. The mechanic had been unable to resolve it.
If every cloud has a silver lining then Andrews would be geting back in enough time to see Andy Murray play the Wimbledon final. The one he won!
Unfortunately his cloud had no silver lining. It was thunderbolts and lightning. The hotel wasn’t showing the tennis so he had to sit bored out of his mind waiting for me instead!