Mon 13 Mar 2017
Alarm rings at 4.45 - breakfast at 5am with all of us vacating hotel and on our bikes by 5.45am for a 6am start - this is not a holiday camp!
The first ride from Calais was particularly cold in the dark, as 75 or so set off with lights blazing in the peloton. However as we left the town it got even colder and afte 40 miles everyone was particularly cold. The day comprised 6 stages of between 35 miles to 50 miles, culminating in 307 km (approximately 200 miles). We had started in the dark and finished in the dark, some 15 hours later at about 9 pm. Dinner was at 10 and in bed straight after- probably the most gruelling day of my life!
Many others completed all the stages, including Bill Hughes from L&G and Mike Axon and Anthony Tugwell from Vectos, to name a few.
One aspect that is clear, the timetable and programme is soul destroying! Whilst we completed 85 miles in the morning, we had another 111 miles to do in the afternoon! Also as the ride was late - principally due to a poor stage 4, we only had 2 five minute breaks during the 111 miles.
The bonding amongst riders in the face of adversity is clear to see!