Tuesday 9 July 2019

Rest Day! (Tuesday)

There were moments over the past 10 days that I wasn’t sure if I would make it. This year’s Tour de France is said to be brutal compared to past years. Some say it is because it makes for better TV, while others say it’s to blow up the American team that has been dominating for years. There are a number of past Grand Loopers (the term used to describe the riders that are doing all 21 Stages) who are blown away at the volume of climbs in the first half of this event, and claim that this year is far harder than the year they did it. I have nothing to compare it to. All I can say is I am very glad the first ten days are over.

I had hoped to sleep a lot, or at least rest on rest day, but there’s so much to do. The Pro’s have people to clean their bikes and wash their cycling gear. Not so with us. I’m the chief in charge of my riding, climbing, sprinting, picture-taking, singing, bonking, walking, whining, chronicling, cheering, washing, fixing, cleaning, and shopping. On that last note, I needed to visit a bike shop for supplies. I’m in need of better gloves (my hands are sore and calloused) as well as new cleats for both of my cycling shoes. I also treated myself to a new cycling jacket as a gift for a job well done (or a least that is how I justified paying 120 euros for it).

I had lunch with my Canadian teammates, Deirdre, Roger, Lynn and Ian. There are five of us from our cycling club, Mindset, who are attempting the “Grand Loop”. Some of their family and friends have traveled to meet them on our rest day. It was nice to sit down at a restaurant far away from the bubble I’ve been living in for the last 10 days.

I spent the rest of the afternoon emptying my suitcase and repacking ever so efficiently. The Le Loop organization has offered us an “amnesty” bag. What that means is we can dump whatever we think we don’t need for the rest of the tour into the amnesty bag and they’ll give it back to us on the last day. I completely overpacked (surprise!) and my suitcase is far too heavy to lug up and down stairs. We move hotels just about every day, so lighter is better. I now have only three outfits for evenings and far fewer “luxuries”: no makeup, no flatiron, and barely a brush to run through my hair now. Nobody cares. We’re all too tired to look at each other anyway.

Lighter and leaner, I head into the next phase of this incredible journey. I feel more confident than I did a week ago. I’m blessed that my body is doing what I'm asking it to do and honored to be amongst such an amazing group of men and women. Next up: the Pyrenees and then the big mountains!

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