Friday, 12 August 2011

Day 1: London to Paris

My role: Action Medical Research staff support rider.

My job on day 1: dash to the first drinks stop and set up the field canteen, to help, assist and encourage. worst bit... the 'music' in the van on the way out, not cycling. Best bit... free access to about 30 kg of peanuts and jelly babies!

Link to route (with slight, ahem, accidental, detour!):

All the Route 1 and 2 riders started their day at the O2 arena (nee, millennium dome) at 7 am. Only one... ANDY... forgot his passport :) He owes his wife several trips to the Trafford centre!

107 km for me and about 140 km for the R1 riders.

I managed to ride from the drinks stop to the hotel with only about a dozen stops to assist mechanically and repair punctures. The weather was fine, the roads, well, as good as roads can be in the SE, and the company on the road wonderful. After a now traditional, superb and huge AMR/DA luncheon (which left me barely able to turn a pedal) off to Calais we rode. I left lunch as the last man on the road and gently made my way through the stung out peloton, assisting and encouraging where needed. After warning several about dark descents with forks... I took the wrong one and had a wonderful 4 km cycle up hill to get back onto the route.  Gemma did call me to let me know I'd got lost!

All but two of a group approaching 170 riders arrived in good time for the channel crossing - they were in a pub! Onto the ferry we rolled - always a great feeling. A mad dash to the self-service canteen saw the intrepid AMR route 1 trio of Gemma, Alex and myself, with Route 2's Matt tagging along to be with the cool route, at the front of the queue. Fish, chips, mushy peas and Rose were quaffed in no time and then the lecture on the nature of physics began. The table seemed to empty? Go figure?

A very exciting ride through Calais, with only one rider refusing to follow even the simplest of instruction (he soon had no idea where to go), saw us reach our respective hotels. A very nice place too: Holiday Inn Coquelles, Calais. I even had my own room! A quick shower, kit selection for Day 2 and a late arrival at the briefing (somewhat a theme for me I'm afraid!) led me to the bar and the guys from the Star Inn. Then to bed, Le Tour highlights and an early wake up call.


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