A quick glance at the long-range weather forecast reveals a dismal outlook for the next two weeks: rain, rain and more rain. This will be particularly frustrating for those doing London-Paris who have signed up for either the one or two-week stage based at Stephen Roche’s hotel, just up the road in Villeneuve Loubet. It’s being organised by ex-pro and Eurosport commentator Emma Davies whom I’ll be meeting later this afternoon.
I had volunteered to lend Emma a helping hand but I generally don’t ride in the rain. There’s no need. But if it does rain solidly for two whole weeks, even I will be tempted to brave the elements. I have almost 15 hours of training scheduled in next week’s programme. I really can’t see me doing all that on the home trainer.
While this morning’s downpour has now desisted and there was even a few rays of sunshine around lunchtime, the sky has once more clouded over. Tomorrow the forecast is favourable and I may well go over to St Tropez to see the start of the Tour du Haut Var. No, I won’t ride all the way there. I’ll probably take the train to St Raphael, but may well ride all the way back.
I caught a glimpse of the Volta ao Algave yesterday where the peloton endured 6 hours in the driving rain. Good training maybe for the Belgian Classics but more will be wishing they were enjoying the temperate climes of Oman, the Tour of which finishes with today’s decisive time-trial. Tom Boonen (Quick Step) seems well placed at only 2 seconds back from current race leader, Daniele Bennati (Liquigas).
Edvald Boassen Hagen (Sky) had a wee (no pun intended) bit of a dilemma the other day while wearing the race leader’s jersey which seems to have divided both fans and the peloton. Namely, should other teams have attacked the race leader while he was taking a comfort break? Normally not, but this was within 50km of the finish and hence he was fair game. My advice: Edvald you should have gone earlier.
Postscript: EBH won the ITT in Oman finishing 2nd on GC behind Fabulous Fabian, who was 2nd on the stage. Tommeke dropped to 11th overall. He’s going to have to do much better if he wants to enter Belgium on 4 July in yellow.
I dropped my beloved off at the airport at midday. He was off to the frozen wastes of northern Europe, specifically Tuurku (north of Helsinki) for a few days, complete with extreme cold weather kit. Only then could I go out on my bike.
The weather, like yesterday, was cold but bright, clear and sunny so I decided to circumnavigate Cap d’Antibes five times. I criss-cross a number of the roads and take a couple of different loops to add some variety. I also indulged in some interval training on the way back. Tomorrow, which promises to be warmer, I’m going to St Raphael and back, as I feel a longer ride is in order. My workload is thankfully tailing off, not a moment too soon, which will leave me more time to ride and train for up-coming events.
There was the usual get together at the club this evening. Specifically, I needed to check on the logistics for next week with M Le President who’s proposing serving crepes to everyone who attends the monthly meeting. We’re already a little short of space at these meetings and the promise of crepes is bound to increase numbers. It’ll most definitely be standing room only. On our little two-ringed hot plate we’re unlikely to able to cook sufficient crepes, quickly enough, to supply the ravening hordes. I proposed that we cook them in advance and heat up in situ. He agreed.
I’d just gotten back when my beloved rang. His flight from Nice had been delayed so he’d missed his transfer to Helsinki. He was booked on the subsequent flight but would arrive too late to catch the bus to Tuurku. The good news was that he’d bought some of my favourite coffee just in case he didn’t have time on the way back. I didn’t linger chatting, I had a bowl of soup with my name on it waiting for me.
Tomorrow afternoon I’m going to have to clear the guest room and put the spare bikes on the balcony. I’ll also need to make room in the laundry (aka bike room) for the bikes and kit of my week end guests, who are now arriving Thursday evening.
With only two weeks to go to my departure for Austin, I realised that a few longer rides were in order and on similar terrain to that which I’ll encounter in Texas. Yesterday, like today and pretty much most days recently, was glorious. I left the Domaine around 10:00am, having avoided the early morning traffic. The Domaine is securitised by way of a barrier. To exit the mechanism automatically senses an approaching vehicle and raises the barrier. I am clearly too small (phew!) to be recognized as a vehicle and have to rely on the security guards to raise it as I approach. The service is outsourced and while we have a number of regulars, from time to time, we have newbies who don’t realise that they have to raise the barrier for me. This means it always has to be approached with caution. Obviously, we had a newbie in charge so I had to dismount and duck under the barrier.
I decided on a round trip to St Raphael. I hadn’t cycled along the coast for months; it’s a route to avoid in the summer for obvious reasons. My traffic light karma was in overdrive with all the lights turning green just as I approached – perfect. I breezed past loads of riders on the coast road between Villeneuve Loubet and Antibes; it was clearly going to be a great ride. On the short hill up to Boulevard Kennedy on Cap d’Antibes, I was wheel sucked by four gentlemen who turned out to be Brits from the Wirral down here on their annual boys biking trip. They asked if they could cycle with me and I agreed. I sensed a tinge of envy in their voices when I revealed that I lived down here and was able to cycle most days – cycling nirvana indeed.
As we cycled along, I was happy to explain other cycling routes they might enjoy and places they might visit before their return to Blighty on Saturday. They much admired my beloved bicycle but were not familiar with the BMC brand! We also discussed at length the growing interest in cycling in the UK. I don’t think it’s ever going to approach the deeply entrenched continental European love of cycling but it’s nonetheless very welcome.
Many hours later, I arrived back at the Domaine to discover the same guard was on duty. I rode up the steep hill to the barrier which he opened only as I dismounted. I popped into his office to explain the need to open the barrier as I approached so that I wouldn’t need to slow down and could just sail through in either direction.
My husband is away in London, his gout having subsided sufficiently, so I was able to sink into my spa bath for a reviving soak before heading out again to a meeting over in Antibes.