So after all the excitement reaching HQ in Pech was like finding an oasis. Though the journey still hadn't finished as I still had to drive the remaining 15k to Ax where I was booked into a chalet. A cuppa and a chat later and I crawled the last k's to my home for the week. I was feeling today's driving and it was a struggle to get there. Though at least still having the van meant I could stop of at the supermarket and stock up before collapsing at the other end..
I was a bit unsure what the place would be like but at that point I would take anything and a big plus point is that it was only a couple of mins walk into town and the shops. It was actually a really nice place..the studio rooms were clean and modern and actually pretty large considering. They also had a balcony overlooking the mountains, a swimming pool and a laundry. So actually it was a pretty good find and a great place to relax and recover.
I managed to do nothing but watch the tour de France that first day..after that it quickly became apparent that I am crap at doing nothing. Everyday I was out on the bike up the mountains, and even at HQ helping with any bits that needed doing. The first few days I think this was more out of the need for distraction and to avoiding thinking about what had happened.
On the third day I went to see a massage therapist to relax my back and shoulders..they felt like they had knots on knots on knots and that couldn't be helping. It turns out it was much needed, after she worked on my back my shoulders dropped about 3inches back down to where they should be. And when she worked on the front of my neck she discovered that my first rib on my right side was out of place. It's relatively common thing and it was possible that this was the cause of my weird head as a sometimes effect of this displacement is that the bone squashes the nerves going into your head. It fitted in also with what I had felt that my touching my neck had set it off. It was a really good session and at the end I felt as light as a feather and slightly detached from it all...like after a good yoga session or something. It also gave me some relief by giving a possible cause for the episode..having it unknown meant the worry of it occurring again. Now with a possible trigger I was aware of what caused it and could work on stretches etc that could limit it happening again.
So obviously back on the bike time I know it is not resting but it truely is the best way to relax for me. So a week was spent up the mountains. The first ride I did ..I did try and be good and have a relatively easy route..along the valley and then up what I thought was a small civilised col..the col de Port. It actually turned out to be not so civilised after all but I persevered thinking it was just that side or the col, the other side, which is in the raid, I remembered to be better. Again it wasn't! It made me realise that memory is a selective thing. For each raid I have led I have raved about day 4 (col de Port, Pailheres, Moulis, Garavel and the Jau) saying it is the best day, Port is a great way to start the day, very civilised, and then Pailheres is awesome and one of my faves...but I realised that morning that actually I hated col de Port when I cycled it in the raid..I had a really bad cold that day and struggled to breathe properly so it was tough, and that on the top of Pailheres I was swearing away at G when he tried to take a photo of me. But I had blanked all that from my memory and replaced it with it being a great day. It was quite a revelation as I had had no idea that I had done that!
Port is actually a nice climb though and Pailheres is actually one of my favourites now. Both I tackled on my recovery week, as well as the Plateau de Beille. So the week was spent cycling, eating , sleeping and watching the tour (homework for the next trip). I got called up too for work on the last day..a morning of van flaffing on Sauron then Frodo. It turned into a whole day of flaffing and I loved it. It is so worrying how much I enjoying sorting out the vans. And worrying too that the boss now knows it! But its stuff that needs to be done and if there is time then labels and cleaning the various boxes is a big thing to do. Very relaxing too.
I had a couple of other little incidents in the week..I lost a filling, and also got stung by a wasp twice when it went into my cycling jersey while I was speeding along..cue swollen shoulder and back where it got me. Little bastard.
The next morning I was called in again before the tour de France trip started later on. More flaffing and reorganising and organising and then back in the van and on the road to the airport once more....