Monday 8 July 2019

Stage 10 (Monday): A Toast to Ten

Today was a much, much better day.
I seemed to have lost about a thousand pounds of water (a lot of late night loo visits) and towards the end of the day Cari, one of my teammates, told me (hesitantly) that I looked way skinnier in the afternoon than I had in the morning. Hard not to like that idea.
Ah! The wonders of salt.
Today’s stage, number 10, is 218km with over 3300 meters of climbing and four category climbs. In the morning I was still pretty puffy from the prior day’s adventures in chemistry, and pretty tired from lack of sleep due to going to the bathroom so much in the night. But I definitely felt better and was very happy overall to be at Stage 10 with a rest day tomorrow (!!).
The ride was amazing with views so spectacular that it made me want to move here. Each town I rode through was unique. Some were older than others, some more prosperous. I loved looking at the centuries-old buildings, wanting to stop at each of them and learn their stories, if they would share.
I rode with two guys again and we worked hard together to keep a good pace line going, each pulling our own share. I am extremely happy that my legs and power are back, just like the doc said. :)
The day was much like many others I’ve completed: lots of climbing, lots of hot, hot sun, and endless hours of looking at the wheel of the rider in front of me. I am loving this! Is that weird?
My ride ended after 8pm and as I rode up to the beautiful hotel in Albi, I was informed that I had no roommate tonight. What a gift to end the first half of this grueling 21-day event with!
I showered and headed for the restaurant where most of the other riders were eating. Some were still out riding, some bailed early in the day wanting to take in the sights.
I heading to bar and bought a bottle of champagne. I grabbed four glasses and returned to my table where I popped the cork and toasted, with my riding buddies, to the success of making it through this ridiculous adventure we’re all on (so far). 
Cari grabbed the cork, cut a slit into it, and asked me for a euro. He slid the coin into the space and handed cork and coin back to me saying: "This is a tradition… it's for luck. Keep it with you and you'll make it all the way to Paris.” 

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