During the hours it took us to extricate ourselves from grey, I mean gay, Paris, we longed to reach the open roads of the countryside. Then we hit the open roads of the countryside and changed our minds as agoraphobia set in. Our lunch stop, another French village with no sign of life, was pretty enough and provided distraction in the form of a kid's roundabout. There was a momentary outbreak of morale sometime after lunch for no apparent reason and again later when the sun made a brief appearance.
Much testosterone was flying about today - of the 21 riders there are 4 girls - and some very speedy sections were accomplished by the lead pack. I must keep my testosterone in check tomorrow because it transpires I can only keep up with the lead pack until mid afternoon, at which point my thighs magically become lead weights and the energy tanks bleed dry, making for some very horrible lonely miles. Whilst cycling in no man's land between packs, I tried to motivate myself with the thought that I like time alone with my thoughts. But my thoughts were largely shit and refused to go anywhere beyond rotting cabbages and back pain.
But enough of this maudlin rhetoric, let's discuss the really fun things we loved today ... really, I can't remember the last time I had such fun:
- watching many Lycra clad men line up at the edge of a field to synchronise pee
- listening to Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet and other such peppy 80s tunes through a very powerful speaker. Oh yes, my own personal nirvana. Though Greg was very obliging when yelled at to 'turn that shit off' (sorry Greg, you found my limit)
- saddle sore; my vagina is no longer talking to me. OK so my vagina has never spoken to me but if it had, it's not now
- riding someone's slipstream as they speed through a puddle
- riding someone's slipstream and getting a small quarry's worth of grit sprayed in your face
Now, as we enjoy the salubrious delights of Hotel F1 - no really, you should try it - Joan, the masseur, is being relentlessly overworked and the ibuprofen are being abused. And that was the easy day. Unfortunately I think I'll survive the night, ready to do it all again tomorrow. I'm thrilled.