Thursday 18th Feb Nice-Pertuis.170km.Done: 843km.To go: 2045km. - Andrew Croker
France. 24 new boys and girls arrived. The leavers partied all night at a colossal villa hosted by sponsors Causeway. Top guys.
Along the coast to Frejus, and then up inland towards Aix en Provence. Just beautiful roads, and no traffic. I just want to know which bright spark came up with the idea of including Italy in the six nations.
All teething problems sorted, and strong bunch of riders. The route is now marked by French Fred aka 'Montgolfier' with balloons, which work really well. Except at one point Jonny saw a girl walking her dog with a balloon and the tell-tale tape attached to its collar.
Garmins sorted. Just follow the purple road. Simple.
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What a difference a day makes.
As reports of a number of the lads taking money off the hotel casino blackjack table filter through the ranks, there are some bleary-eyed Stage 1 faces at breakfast. They pack up for Nice airport, while the Stage 2 team set off down the Cote d’Azur for a few km before heading inland and north for a climb off the coast and some breathtaking scenery. I’m in team Gandalf, riding with Les Causton, the oldest man on tour and a dead ringer for the grey wizard of Middle Earth fame (see photo).
Our new recruit Terry is very soon the first incident victim when he suffers from not one, but two unsecure pedals and has to return to the hotel for mechanical help. We’re making good speed but it becomes clear that he’s done this sort of thing before when he catches us up shortly after, only to fall prey to a puncture.
His third problem occurs when his chain decides it doesn’t like the idea of selecting his top gear and he has to battle up hill in a low one – feel the burn, Terry! He STILL manages to catch us up at lunch at which point the sun - yes you read that correctly: sun - is now peering through patches of cloud over a stunning vineyard in Carces.
We climb for 12km after lunch and, with the sun on our backs, meander through more vineyards one of which, in stereotypically French fashion, is selling nougat by the side of the road! (see pic)
Dinner is steak frites - what else?!
Today we're visiting nougat country - Montelimar!
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