Weekending 26 July 09

Monday:L’Etape du Tour. I can see why it has a cult status. The whole sportif scene has largely passed me by until now but to a whole class of people this is a lifestyle and they take it seriously. Very seriously. Felt like a black sheep for wanting a beer after being up for 20 hrs on the way down and nstill not getting one. Saving all the Etape stuff for the write up which may take some time.
Tuesday:Etape rest day. 20 km ride out to a village and back then teamed up with the  group to watch the Tour on Eurosport in  a bar. Don’t feel too bad, others are hurting but it does seem all or nothing for them. The results are now posted so it is time to generate a results list for the 30 of us based on age categories. Flicker pictures to upload and started on the ride write up. Pictures are going to get tagged with rider numbers and I didn’t see anyone else doing what I was doing, certainly not on the moonscape.
Wednesday:  Ardeche gorge. 97 km , 1200 mtrs of climbing and some great sights to see. Better on a bike as it is more rewarding. Got baulked by a Johnsons coach on the way down. Decent lunch stop icluding a humongous pizza that wasn’t finished. I do have a picture. Group split on ability and water.
I stopped at a village fountain on the way back as I was nearly out and it is very hot.
Bar in town for the stage finish, hotel and shower for dinner.
Thursday: A ride to Orange, a bit more laid back today, 63 km loop with a stop at the ampitheartre.
More good food with more pictures. It is dear if your going from £ to Euro but is generally worth it. Food is great at the hotel too. Very hot on the way back with me going thru water at a great rate of knotts.
We had great fun getting some Graham Watson ” Sunflower” shots. Harder than you would imagine, you can’t go into the sun, if the sun is at the wrong angle the sunflowers point the wrong way and it goes on.
Graig dived into a field of them but it didn’t work.
Plans are forming for the next 2 days. It isn’t straight forward, it may sound great to ride to a stage but the reality can be a bit different. The Ventoux is the worst possible case. Too many people, a narrow road. a bike is going to get swamped. Above Chalet Reynard, dream on.
Friday: Coach trip to Aubenas to watch stage.  Site has been down a while, plenty of time to catch up.
Cav does the business and I was there@ 350 m mark.

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