The Tour de Force

The Tour de Force

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Highway To Hell! Stage 4: Seraing to Cambrai...Tuesday 30th June 2015

In light of today's shoeing, there's only one possible contendah for 'Choon Of The Day'...

Today's mission was 147 miles forward, 5000' up and to safely get over seven cobbled sectors. Oh, and it will be quite warm too!

Long enough for you?
Odd'n'sods beofre the cobbles make their mark...
We rolled out at 0745hrs and right away I wanted to be towards the actually was a good idea. Me, Andy and one other rider set a decent pace: I actually had my nose in the wind at times, shock-horror!

On the climb up to Citadelle de Namur...
View from said C'delle. It was worth the schlepp up.
Thereafter we formed into a group with the A-grade fast loons and I was able to last their 24mph for a good few miles until I punctured. To be fair, if I hadn't have flatted then I would have pulled the plug because these guys (Le Tracteur among them) were just crazy fast...

First puncture de Le Tour pour moi.

Big thanks to Sam The Man from the TdF team who rolled by in his van about two mins after I flatted: he sorted it about 3x quicker than I could have done- just what you want when you've still got 85 miles to go, hah-hah! Genuinely, I have never cycled as fast for as long...champagne moments indeed.

Post-lunch it was all about getting to first of seven sectors of cobbles and then...blimey!

What on earth?
Wanted a photo of these sideways stats before the cobbles...pleased!
The cobbles were extraordinary: you've never been shaken around like that unless you're an ex-Apollo astronaut who reckoned that a Saturn V launch was akin to “like being a rat in the jaws of a giant terrier.” It didn't help that my saddle bag decided it had had enough and fell-off, which meant trying to survive four sectors riding one-handed at times. Not a barrel of laughs!

It wasn't until I had gotten rid of the bag that I could really give the last pave sector 'full beans' was still excruciating but at least this was a blast at last! I'm struggling to describe just how rough they were...along one of the sectors I stopped to help Malcolm change an inner tube: I'm sure there were quite a few punctures amongst our number. I think I was secretly glad of the respite, hah-hah!

How deep is your pave? Too. Damn. Deep!
An expired Python? Must be G.C.!
Toast you may be, but sensational scenery
From there we 'just' had to keep concentrating and keep safe until we rolled in to the hotel with a maximum 147 done. As we rolled into and through Cambrai in search of our acco, Andy came out with a classic: "Right, let's not do anything stupid now...". You mean the previous 146 miles doesn't qualify? That was a big old day, a bit of damage done but hopefully all good enough to deal with tomorrow. Relentless, this tour...

Back behind the velvet ropes, ladies...

I'm sure you know what cause that I'm trying to help...if you think that the challenge is worth supporting then please do...

I do have a bit of previous...

2014: 1000 miles solo & unsupported out to France, then La Bicinglette...6 x Mont Ventoux in a day!

2013: 1000 miles solo & unsupported out to Austria, then the worst climbs in The Dolomites!

2012: The inaugural Haute Route sportive from Geneva to Nice, followed by the worst Pyrenean climbs!

2011: 3500 miles across North America...coast to coast!

2010: 1600 miles from Gibraltar to Blackpool!

2009: 1000 miles from Land's End to John O'Groats!

2008: 250 miles from Blackpool to London!

2007: 100 miles around Manchester!

2006: 0.5 mile to corner shop!