Usual morning timings, most people were on the road by 8, its a big day today..not in mile but in climbing but it is my favourite day of the raid. The very civilised col de port and the Pailheres and the amazing descent. Just was hoping the weather would hold off so the guys could appreciate it.
Our luck held for the col de port, and on the road to Ax the sun came out! But that's as far as it went. When we were stopped in Ax the clouds came and there was some rumblings of thunder. Going up the climb it got worse..a bit of rain and some mist to start, then cold winds and stronger rain came. I am writing this at the top sitting in the van with thunder all around. I have a wee herd of horses keeping me company. I figure when they look worried I will worry but until then...hopefully my logic will hold.
It being July 4th we thought we should do something for our American guests so we had a flag and some american cookies. Obviously with the weather flying the flag wasn't going to happen. So as I was standing in the pouring rain wondering how best to get the flag up, inspiration stuck when part of the flag stiuck to the van..a ready made billboard!! So flag was 'hung' on the front of the van by the grill plate..by wet soakingness only. Me also being soaking by this point and cold...half hour or so waiting in the van...then the tandem showed up. went out on the weather to welcome them and to bundle them in the back of the van to get warm and change and eat. And so was the routine for the arrivals. G turned up and so his van became a changing room and then as more arrived the second party van. God it was bitter up there..9degrees without the wind chill. But we had to feed them and/warm them up and send them on their way. It actually turned out that the weather vastly improved just a few hundred metres on the descent but on the top you couldn't see that.
Tandem went down first but called up soon after as their tyre had blown. Hard decisions as we had really cold people here and potentially less so stuck down the mou rain now. subtle techniques employed to move people on and I was free to go down and help the tandem. Them all sorted free to get on and race after the others some who were far ahead now. Others had decided to not descend and were in the other van with G.
Slight worrt when I didn't see some of the riders but they had had a quick 'detour' just when I was going past so I didn't see them. When I went back they were on the right path. So all fine. Tandem had second blown tyre of the day.
Tiredness by this stage was kicking in..too tired even now to write the details of this later stuff. But I got to the hotel about 7ish, sorted dinner, sorted riders bags out then was time for dinner@8. Except some riders decided to hangout at a bar for a couple though they knew when dinner was. Poor guys that were quicker on the mountain and desperate for food had to wait til they were all back before they could eat.
Tomorrow is a bit fiddly so we have worked a new plan.
22.15 finally some time out. writing this and emails etc. Long day