06.15 alarm. Pre-coffee coffee
06.45 van flaffing, cereals out for breakie. More coffee. A few of the group are up early and already at breakie. Little bit of nervousness and anticipation in the air.
Group slowly gets stuff together and last few adjustments on bikes.
08.15 heading out in a convoy down to the beach for dipping of toes in the sea and the official off. First glimps of how the group actually are as cyclists. Lots if photos and then @ 9 they set off on the raid. Bit of loitering and van flaffing and we follow in the vans with 10 mins staggers.
Beautiful morning, slightly hazy but mostly sunny. Though a sprinkling of rain saw them out of Hendaye.
Beach is getting more populated in the last week, getting ready for the peak season of school break up later this week. It will be all change in July.
Morning spent leapfrogging the clients with the van until word comes that one guy came off the bike and then 5 mins later got a puncture. Went back checked the wounds and changed the wheel as apparently an issue with the tyre itself too. Off again toward Espalette. Met G there, numbers are not adding up and it seems one guy has gone AWOL. G goes on to catch and support the speedy guys (surprisingly the tandem is the leader), I head back to find the missing guy and nearly get lot myself. Half hour or so later we are all back on track.
13.00 lunch stop @ St Jean Pied de Port. 5 mins of catching up with G before his speedies left. Punctured wheel has a ripped tyre rim not really sure how, these are really new bikes and kit. My guys just starting eating or only just arriving. I am bike sitting and lunch is bits from the van. Healthy. Just went to check on how they were doing..saw the most enormous omelette come out on a plate..had a quick vision of someone eating all that then getting half way up the next col and either we would see the omelette again or he would be slowly slipping back down the hill due to the weight of the food! Luckily the omelette was for four of them so a big sigh of relief.
Clouds and bits of rain while I wait.
14.00 and we are all on the road. Unfortunately it seems that the arvo will be a race against a storm which has hit. I think the worst in behind but there is spouts of rain, wind and thunder rolls.
The last col was marred by rain and then thick mist.
Other incidences..man with bloody nipple..this seems quite a common ailment tho I have never come across it before the raids..for running yes, cycling no.
Lost carnet. Part of the raid is to get your carnet stamped at set points to make your journey across. One client has lost his carnet already.
Snapped gear cable 20km from the hotel. Had to stalk them back to make sure their temp fix of turning his nice Dogma into a single speed held out.
200m from the hotel all hell broke lose with the weather..torrential rain, lightning, thunder and hail the size of a kiwi.
Annoyingly G has had a pretty quiet day with the fast three even missing most of the bad weather.
18.45 little bit of free time to check tomorrows weather and charge the hire bike lights. Only to see storms again tomorrow
19.30 dins and tomorrows briefing
Garmin homework and bits and bobs means 22.00 is escaping to my room time