Ooh la la – Grand depart (stage 1)

Thursday 30 June

Passage du Gois La Barre-de-Monts to Mont des Alouettes Les Herbiers

Tour says “flat”, we say yes to 100 miles then bit hilly

Miles cycled: 124, Average speed (mph): 15.6, Max speed (mph): 31.6, Time pedalling: 7hr 55

Very dramatic start, waited for the tide to go out enough for us to cross the passage du gois…then shock horror, 250 metres into a 3,500km bike ride and Max had a huge blow out, causing a 3 inch tear in his front tyre. After regrouping (and being leant a wheel), had amazing crossing of this “route submersible” with “risk of drowning”. It was pretty slippy & there were jelly fish & seaweed on the road & even some cobble sections – fun but not easy & we, our bikes (& our poor marmotte) got completely covered in muck & had to wash our bikes down the other side. It’s going to be great tv but can’t imagine the pros are going to like riding on it. The passage du gois this morning:

The first 100 miles were pretty flat & we went at a good speed as loads of the roads have been swept and/or resurfaced for the tour so were in great condition. It got increasingly pretty (villages, corn fields, sunflowers & vines) & everywhere we went were signs of the tour – road closure warnings, bike rider-shaped hedges in roundabouts. In fact, if a roundabout didn’t have a bike sculpture or a village didn’t have painted bikes with dummy riders on every wall & bunting, then we began to wonder if we were going the right way.
Some TdF jersey bunting:

Got a bit hilly from 100-124 miles. We did make it to the finish line which was very scenic & exciting, but sadly the French police insisted we push our bikes on the final few hundred metres (& no we weren’t allowed to hear why) – obviously we nipped on them over the finish line once we were out of sight (no picture here as we were being quick due to fear of arrest!)

Wow what a day – our prep the night before of 4 course meal of oysters, langoustines, guinea fowl (“pintade” – new vocab), cheese & petits fours followed by a sleepless night from the above combined with excitement, seems to have worked. Fantastic to have completed the first stage & totally exhausting but satisfying.
See our route & terrain profile from today here


About Sarah & Max

Sarah & Max enjoy endurance challenges in the outdoors. Over the past 12 years they have both run over 10 marathons and cycled over 10,000 miles. Now they are attempting to cycle the entire Tour de France, exactly as the pros do, 2 days ahead of the pro Tour. Daunted - yes? Ready - maybe?...
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3 Responses to Ooh la la – Grand depart (stage 1)

  1. Excellent, you are on your way and better to have a tyre blow today than at 80kph on a descent. Hope you sleep and recover well, no stopping now!

  2. Jennie says:

    I think the blow out is a good omen for a puncture-free trip, John O’Groats-esque!!

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