From the outset this was already going to become a herculean effort; what with several people descending onto one obscure location, followed by a quick getaway to Dover and onwards by road to the Pyrenees. This was going to be tight.
…she finds hilarious as we’re travelling in such a way.
Fortunately, I had been given the previous day off, so all I had to do was make my way to the B-Boys. Spinning up the North Circ, who was on my tail, but DC himself. Driving said van, and keeping me protected; I felt like a TT racer with my very own support car. My hopes of a lift were soon dashed, as he exited to pick up supplies, but with the friendly honk of the horn was encouragement enough to get me going onto North London. From here it was a waiting game, to see how quickly we could get organised after the usual fair-well and appreciation speeches. Gates opened, smiles beamed, and hugs shared – we were off!
It’s Friday, the end of term and south London is choc-a. I’m texting, no team radios here, my directeur sportif as to our progression which she finds hilarious as we’re travelling in such a way: 2 vans, 9 bikes, and 6 very odd gents. With only minutes to spare we arrive to a sun drenched coast and sign onto a ferry with a deep sigh of relief.
Sailing by night is absolutely draining, and even more so is driving a van straight after. I can now sympathise with long-haul drivers and horse racing chauffeurs. It is nothing short of a mission. Not failing to notice that service stations turn into makeshift outdoor B&B’s by night, we make like a grizzly and pull in for the night.
Five hundred miles later and God only knows how many hours, we approach Chalet Tourmalet. Unlike the heavey heat we’ve experienced on the Alps, an instant freshness is in the air, with the scenery lush and fertile. Our accommodation sits on the doorstep of the mountains and outside my room window is Tourmalet herself. Well, that’s what they tell me.