In the aftermath of the might challenge of Mont Ventoux – the ‘Bald Mountain’ – there have been some very moving blogs posted that describe the blood, sweat and tears produced by our riders and so rather than try and tell you each story, please do check out the riders’ blogs pages of our website and read for yourself (we’ve also posted loads more photos to our gallery for Stage 12). Top blog of the day has to go to Andrew Steel who reduced us to tears. This has happened before on Ventoux in 2013 when a similarly moving piece was written by Neill Kemp who surely retains the yellow jersey for the most tear-inducing blog entry in the history of the Tour de Force. Just remembering it makes me well-up!
I’ve been waiting all tour for a rider to blog on the food he/she has consumed in one day. At last, Piers Wates has obliged:
Breakfast: 2 pan au chocolat, 2 croissant, 2 bowls of musli
Feed 1: 1 banana, handful of peanuts, handful of raisins, 1 slice of fruit tart
Feed 2: 2 peanut butter-jelly sandwiches, 1 ham and cheese sandwich, 1 plum
Lunch: plate of spicy noodles and tuna pasta, prawn crackers, 2 slices of watermelon, 1 custard rice pudding.
Feed 4: 3 brownies, 1 banana, 1 ham and cheese brioche
On Mont Ventoux: 1 banana, 1 ham and cheese brioche
Dinner: 2 chicken thighs, Cous-cous, salad, 2 slices of baguette and cheese, 1 ham and cheese brioche, 1 slice of apple tart.
You can’t go wrong with a ham and cheese brioche eh Piers? Again, I’m reminded of Neil Kemp’s immortal blog back in 2013 listing the food he consumed on stage 5. I hope he never deletes that blog – I never tire of re-reading it.
And so after the late night transfer to Montelimar that saw us dodging drunken and deliriously happy French football supporters, we all enjoyed a lie in before heading off to ride the time trial. Beautiful scenery combined with plenty of rest time has made today a perfect recovery day after the trials of Stage 12.
Rejuvenated, we look now to stage 14 as we start to head towards the Alps for the next meaty chunk of the tour. Those hills aren’t too big, but they’re leg-sappingly tiring in their constantly rolling fashion. If the wind is against us and the heat is still on, we’ll suffer tomorrow. Lessons were learned on Mont Ventoux and so we should all be better hydrated from now on.
We’ve been abandoned by the huge group of riders who joined us for the Pyrenees and for the next few days we will be just the Lifers and half-Lifers for the 2nd half of the tour. Our next batch of riders doesn’t arrive until Stage 17, arriving on the evening of our next rest day on Tuesday. We’ve loved being part of a bigger group, but we’ll also enjoy being a tight-knit group for the coming stages. Our riders are well and truly ‘in the bubble’ and for those daring (prematurely!) to think about Paris, they will already be realising how hard it will be to come out of this bubble and re-enter normal life. But like I said – such ideas are premature – we’ve got a hell of a long way to go yet and just a few mountains in our way. One step at a time my friends … one step at a time.