Prevailing through the rain (stage 16)

Sunday 17 July – Saint Paul les 3 Chateaux to Gap

Tour says “medium mountains”, we say – heading to the hills

Miles cycled: 102, Average speed (mph): 15.6, Max speed (mph): 31.7, Time pedalling: 6 hr 28

It’s never the best omen hearing thunder while you’re eating your pre-cycle croissant, but it was a signal of what was to come- some of the worst weather we’ve ever cycled in. It was windy which made it hard-going & very showery developing into torrential rain. And when we say torrential, it’s not that we’re having a bit of a whinge about getting wet, we’re talking hard to see / be seen, brakes working less well, getting very cold descending, everything getting covered in road dirt and eating/drinking a fair amount of it too. It comes up at you from the road, back at you from the wheel in front of you, down on you from above!

Photo: head down into the wind & rain and point towards the mountains

The redeeming feature of the morning though was the spectacular Gorge de St May, which we wound through with the dramatic rocks stretching up either side of us.

Photo: the road had a great section through a gorge

A very kind bar lady let us eat our baguettes and drip onto her floor for lunch. Sarah was able to use her favourite school French essay phrase: ‘nous nous sommes trompes jusqu’aux os’ (we’re soaked to the bone) – {insert 2 ticks from Mme Grayson here} We kept ordering espressos in the hope the rain would relent but it somehow managed to increase to maximum setting.

Then came a tough mental test- go into Gap where our hotel was or turn left just before it and go up a gratuitous category 2 climb to circumnavigate Gap and come back in from the far side – obviously we took the latter option

We also managed to resist going into our hotel before the finish line.

A strangely enjoyable day in the end, a great cycle route, with a dash of satisfying defiance of the elements!

See our route & terrain profile from today here

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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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One Response to Prevailing through the rain (stage 16)

  1. Louisa says:

    Gold star from me for the French essay phrase! My favourite school German phrase translated as ‘I’m slowly developing an inferiority complex’ – thankfully I’ve never had cause to use it yet!

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