The first three stages of this year’s TdF took place on the stunning island of Corsica. Three Baroudeurs were fortunate enough to be there and witness the thrill of the 100th Tour and it’s Grand Depart!
So when Glenn, one of our overseas brother’s followed this with a trip to England, we simply had to give him a warm London Baroudeurs welcome. With the mercury rising to more pleasurable highs, and family commitments pressing us for time, the call was made for a quick spin out to Surrey.
At the best of times this can be a gnarly route. Being a short ride, it means a rush through some of the more busier lanes. All the same the ride out is still pretty good, taking in Richmond, before the weekend rush; followed by a roll through Hampton Court, Leatherhead and then onto the heart of the County.
Expectations can be a tricky thing. We all know how Alex has gone from being a good cyclist to a brilliant one. The trick is, just how good is Glenn?!
Discussions exchange easily whilst taking moments to take a swig on the water bottles. Boy, do we need the fluids today. It’s the first time in months we’ve had to carry a double. Even Alex points out, “You can tell Glenn’s from Asia; he’s carrying the big bottlestoday.” Before we know it we’re in Leatherhead.
The small towns are awake with church goers and walkers alike. Opposite each worship place seems to be a public house to have a brew, or simply a chance to lie in the sun. You know what they say: location, location…
We arrive at Box-Hill from the back door. Taking a moment before the brisk climb, we challenge each other to make it to the top, but before you can say “Allez!”, we are berated by a fellow cyclist for supposedly blocking the very absent traffic at 0945 this morning. Ok, is there a reason you’re cycling alone?
Still we oblige and soon enough, pass our friend after the first few yards. Someone, I don’t know who, probably DC, kicks in and we follow. I sense Ben, Craig and Jonny breathing down my back, watching the group split. Alex and Glenn keep together.
As we approach the final bend, Ben comes out from the shadows and dances round the corner. There’s enough left in me to thank DC and try to keep up with the Captain. I fail. Ben swoops to clear the bend and enters the sunshine.
One by one we scurry up. No, it’s not a mountain, but a good effort is a good effort. DC seems to have shown his SIDI’s who’s the boss.
Buckle needs putting back, whilst Glenn shows he still has an extra kick in him for another sprint!
We take a mo to finally connect, and a friendly game of hide-and-seek is just too big a temptation to resist. Helmets, bidons, you name it are hidden across the hill. Bow legged Baroudeurs trotting around looking through bushes and tip-toeing to reach branches for our missing kit isn’t cool.
Ready to go home, we take a quick shot of us with the southern view. We perch on the brick work and smile. And why not? It’s been a very good day to meet Baroudeur Glenn J. with more adventures to come!
From left to right: DC, Jonny, Big Chase, Glenn J, Captain, Disco and Craig.