Head downstairs get some much needed coffee. Out to the vans with G (co-leader) to take hire bikes out of Shadowfax and onto the back of Frodo.
Vans all have names and colour coding: Frodo, big white van - blue; Shadowfax, smaller grey van- green; Sauron, big black van - yellow; Gandalf, smaller grey van - red; Lilly, mid white van - green and yellow striped; etc etc. To add to the namings, when you are with clients you tend to talk white/grey or front/back van only. With the colour coding, everything inside the van will have a sticker or be the colour of said van, seems a little odd but it stops thinks from migrating. I have worked mostly with Frodo and Shadowfax and I have a soft spot for Frodo. Shadowfax is the more powerful of the two but Frodo gets there and is a tad more reliable. It was Shadowfax that broke down the other week, Lilly too.
07.15 Bikes attached G heads off to do the Toulouse transfer.
I head back to the gite for more coffee and to check directions, shopping list, to tidy up and make sure I have everything.
Normally we would both be heading off early but this week most clients are making their own way to the start. G has two pax from TLS, I have 3 from Biarritz (poss 4). 6 independents. Very nicely allowing me a bit of a breather this morning and also time to enjoy some Ninjago.
09.15 leave Pech for St Giron's for petrol and shopping, and breakie. Low transfers means there is a bit of time to play with today.
Stop in St Giron for petrol and shopping. Gotta love shopping with other people money and buying absolutely loads of cake, sweeties, nuts, crisps, chocolate..and to at least try and look a little healthy buying the shop out of bananas and oranges.
15.00 transfers arrive at the airport. Pack them up and head/to Hendaye and the rest of the group. My notes from HQ said 3 pax and 3 pax..what was actually there was 4 pax and 2 bikes..close enough! Very little/luggage though which I am very happy about- part of the service is to put people luggage in their rooms each day, which is fair enough until you see the size of some of their bags.
Back in Hendaye - room keys allocated, hire bikes put back together and handed to clients, food sorting and bike box wedging. Little hicup in this afternoon being one guy came on the trip with a broken spoke. In theory he should have sorted it before getting to us but anyhoo...our spare wheels don't fit as its a 10 speed ours an 11. I took the guy over to Spain to a bike shop but Spain being Spain was having a fiesta of some sort. Everybody..literally everybody ..was in white and red clothes, some carrying rifles. God knows what they were up to, but most of the roads were shut and people were parked/all over the place so it was really unlikely that the shop was open.
Just googled it..it is the Alarde Irun..when the Spanish celebrate their many victories over their French neighbours. The people are split into groups with an allocated barmaid and a General. One gets the drinks and when the other shouts a command they all stampede out and shoot their guns. Gotta love the Spanish.
17.45 finally get some down time. Spending that writing this and preparing for the welcome briefing. Realised had kinda missed breakie and lunch. Though have snacked on some raisins, nuts and fruits from the van. There will be a huge dinner tonight so not really an issue.
18.30 welcome briefing and drinks. G and I introduce ourselves and talk through the week with the clients.
19.30 dinner with the group. A huge amount of food for the cyclists to start with the carb loading. Far too many tempting assortments of puddings to be able to exercise any kind of willpower. Dinner is a good time to try and guess how people will be on the trip and how they will fare. We have quite a mixed bunch so I think it will be an 'interesting' trip whatever happens.
After dinner sorting the last two hire bikes out for a couple who are doing this for their honeymoon. It wouldn't be my first choice of honeymoon destinations but each to their own.
22.00 all done and time to crash out. Thankfully no garmin homework on this trip.