|Can't speak highly enough of this bunch. (Will that do, guys...can I have my bike back now please?) Photo by Paul Davy.|
Today's ditty is for the TdF support staff: they're immense!
Sometimes only Chairman Lem & Co. will do...
|Coach transfer before & after the stage. Oh good!|
|Lumps & bumps. Well it is The Alps!|
|Saw quite a few 'Route Napoleon' signs along the way. He got around a bit.|
|There's always one...Chris appearing to find it a bit easier than Le Tracteur, hah-hah!|
|Sylvain applying medium beans for a downhill stretch. Immaculate as ever.|
|The landscape lends itself to hydro-electric activity...dams and lakes ahoy!|
|Bad enough looking at a photo, let alone the real thing!|
|Whilst I descend in a rather sedate fashion, others push on...just stay on the right side of the road please. Oh, you are.|
|Quiet as. Except for the wheezing, natch.|
|And back up we go, this time to the highest point on Le Tour...|
|Strangely, I didn't find this climb too bad. Apart from the wee bast*rd flies, hah-hah!|
|'Paramount Studios' mountains, the smell of pine...blimey.|
|As seen on the run into Pra Loup...Phil keep me company on the way up.|
After dinner I asked one of the Docs to give me some medical alcohol to rub on my now very painful posterior: saddle sores are a nightmare to be blunt. I reckon you may have heard my yell back in Blighty: this stuff is napalm, but it is supposed to toughen-up the vital areas...
|Things are getting desperate!|
This leads to the first of the three daily awards for individual riders: Phil will award a laminated route map of that day's stage to the rider that he thinks really pulled-out all the stops. Quite a few riders will have to put in very long days, which then impacts on recovery time for the following day. I have nothing but the greatest respect and admiration for these guys because almost certainly every day when they wake they know that it's going to be another tough one. Takes some doing...
The second and third awards are decided by the current holders of them: the first one is the Pink Horn which is won for dubious fashions, faux pas on the bike or generally daft behaviour. The recipient has to attach the hooter to his handlebars for the duration of the following day's ride. The disgrace, hah-hah!
The final award is 'The Chapeau' award which is given to a rider who has done something to help his colleagues in some way, shape or form. Well lo and behold, guess who was awarded it tonight? Jolyon was the current holder and nominated myself and Andy (we now also go under various other monikers like Ant & Dec, Laurel & Hardy and most worryingly, The Chuckle Brothers!) because we have been known to take the odd turn at the front of groups (well, Andy more than me, obvs) and are usually in good spirits...anyway we retired a nearby pizza joint for a top-up meal and to model the beret, attracting some looks from the locals, hah-hah!
|Giving it Le Fred Scuttle dans le chapeau. Le clown!|