We’re all very excited to be having a much-needed rest day (not just for us – same as the pros!) We did a very short & easy 30min pedal on our bikes in an attempt to keep some leg stiffness at bay, cleaned our bikes, got laundry in & did lots of stretching.
Photo: much-needed rest day
We thought it would be a good moment to reflect on our typical day on our Tour:
5.40am alarm, suncream on, pack main bags and day bags
6am take bags downstairs & hit the breakfast buffet hard. We’ve realised the trick is to talk less to allow time to eat more
Photo: the serious prep starts here
6.30am load vans and leave asap
Photo: vital morning bike prep – drinks on, speed on, marmotte on, pain au choc to go.
7-8 am depending on whether a transfer is required (during which sleep/ catch up on email in the van, try to put on cycle shoes without elbowing your neighbour too much), arrive at Tour start line,
fill up bottles with energy drink, put wheels, speedos, Garmin GPS devices on bikes, load pockets with couple of gels, jelly babies, extra croissant from breakfast etc.
Photo: Preparing to start.
Final brief on the day from leader Steve, final check, point bike in the right direction & go!
Photo: David O, Bart & Steve planning the support stops
All day: pedal! Keep eating & drinking on the bike (energy bars, gels & sweets). Chat, tell stories, take photos, enjoy the landscape, don’t forget to keep pedalling. Comment on how great it is to cycle on immaculate fresh tarmac – “Tourmac” as we all like to call it – and roads freshly swept for the Tour. Complain when above not applicable. Enjoy France’s superior weather. Complain when previous comment proves not to be true: too windy/ cold/ hot/ wet (delete as applicable). Pedal. Shift around on saddle to try and get comfortable, shuffle again as this never works. Wish for new pair of legs. Comment that Alberto (Contador) has it easy because he just drafts and has everything done for him. Repeat.
Photo: refuelling at a stop
Every approx 25-35 miles or at the top of a major climb: meet the vans driven by David & Bart to top up drinks & decide what flavour power bar to eat (preferred flavour order is chocolate, followed by caffeinated coconut which sounds awful but tastes good, and last is cranberry twist which tastes like Wham bars and isn’t so good now that we’re no longer 10 years old). Once sick of power bars (about 11.30am most days), start eating baguettes bought for us by drivers, or anything that we have smuggled out of breakfast: squashed pain au chocolat, good; sweaty cheese sarnie, great; crumbling Breton biscuit, perfect!
4-6pm: reach the finish ecstatic & slightly dazed after a long hard day. Get clapped in by Steve, Bart & David, feeling like Tour heroes, bikes magically get put in the van while we eat and drink Power Bar recovery stuff (including a very yummy Lion Bar recovery shake!)
6-8pm depending on transfer time, arrive at hotel. In any time before supper, priority order is: get the TdF on the tv, shower (& laugh at how bad our cycling tans are), stretch & ice muscles, attend to body parts worst hit by cycling (yes, you know what we mean!), post our blog & maybe check a couple of emails
8pm supper: 3 or 4 courses, 5 or 6 pieces of bread, elicit look of surprise by asking for butter, 7 or 8 glasses of water, and some wine. Any food tastes great after cycling, but being in France, the food has been amazing. Speed is as important as gastronomic flair: we’re all way too hungry at the start & way too tired by the end for any fuss / delay. Reflect on the day, laugh at the inevitable dramas, plan the next, talk about how the real Tour is doing.
10pm: get kit ready for the next day, any final email/blog admin, final French tv news check of Tour highlights. Touch head to pillow, sleep in <5 seconds.