Barca 2 Stage 05

Égletons to Villefranche-de-Rouergue

Stage 05 Line-up
Stage 05 Route
Stage 05 Profile

First Breakfast

Woke up to lovely morning, if not a bit chilly, and bit of a good omen as the giant slugs were not about. I’m sure the guys would have got them in the frying pad as we where scrambling around for food this morning.

Off just before 8am as usual – bit difficult getting out of the complex – but we were soon on the road. Winding through the stunning Dordogne countryside. The scenery is out of this world, winding down the steep descents, then pulling up the long climbs – absolutely brilliant. The team is riding as a complete team and all is well at the moment.

We pushed on till we hit the first break at a lovely spot on the edge of the Dordogne. A stunning spot for a second breakfast.

Then we carried on to the medieval town of Altillac but found it really convoluted getting over the river and through the cobbled streets. Only the Captain gets lost and after 3 laps of the town it felt like a criterion which is what the cafe owner said with a smile. I finally managed to find the rest of the team, so we are back on our way.

Climbing up the otherside of the Dordogne valley, nothing too serious just 5 to 6 mile long steady climbing, though it was nice, with a bit of shade from the forest. Mark Moses, the most considerate rider on tour, suffered a little puncture in his front wheel and being new to tubeless he needed to be sure the sealant had worked! Not good having a blowout at 40mph on long descents. Carl is such a caring son he topped the tyre up then let everyone know in his usual mad way. We would not have him any other way.

Eric had pinned dropped us a location in the town off Figeac, around 20 miles away and the not so young Cathal took responsibility and called a refreshment stop in a quaint village nestled in the forest – good call.

As we were taking on the fluids, the call went up, roughly 18 miles to the end with 2 climbs. Everyone seemed OK with that, even Stubby, who loves the climbs! The big man is riding very strong.

On we pushed for the final section of the day the first climb had no issues, just long, and with less than 3 miles to go the lads relaxed a bit thinking that the final climb can’t be very long. Fair play it was only a mile and half, but very steep and over 20% in some places. Not what you need with 100 miles in your legs!

We finally crawled upto the top, only to find that the hotel had been moved! After a bit of messing around with the Garmin and phones it worked out at around 5 miles extra. Hey ho you just have to get on with it.

The young lads had sorted some beers out for us and were looking for some local restaurants, good lads. Though we finally opted for the local Carrfour supermarket next to the hotel.

It had been another very tough day. They only get tougher from here, says Bingo with a big grin. Sure the new lads on tour loved that, us older ones know the score, but it’s so much better riding in the dry. The last time we were down here 2013 it was raining all the time and bitterly cold.

Second Breakfast

On the Road

Lunch Stop

Back on the Road

Afternoon

Swim Break

Re-Hydrating

Last Leg of the Day

Dinner

Eric thinks someone might steal a slice

Kobi News

The contributions continue. Massive thanks from all the team. We’re all thinking of you Kobi!

You can donate on our JustGiving page here. Or use the QR code:

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Barca 2 Stage 04

Châteauroux to Égletons

Stage 04 – Route
Stage 04 – Profile

Breakfast

Stage 04 Line-up

Would have been my Mum’s and Dad’s 69th wedding anniversary today, thinking of you today Mum, lots of love from us.

Dale, Keith, Linford and Rylan

It was a really heavy night again last night, doing 8% lager with lashing of pizza. We had so much pizza that we had it for the morning stop and lunch stop as well! All good. I just got in before it was time to get up!

It’s a big ride today 120 miles with 8000 feet of climbing – what can possibly go wrong?

We left just after 8am, not much of a breakfast – bit of coffee and croissant but plenty of a stuff in the van, including the pizzas from last night.

Not much climbing in the first section just a few gentle ones, so we made good time to the first stop. Once again a great spread from Eric. It was getting really hot, but some really dark clouds were brewing and sure enough we had the first shower on tour. It did make for some tricky decents though.

Marc Tonks had a heavy fall on a very slippery rail crossing, but he’s one tough lad and he just dusted himself down and got on with it.

The climbs were coming thick and fast now, nothing really steep, just long. The longest just over 6 miles. We also had a few mechanicals – Steve Richards with a stretched chain had a lesson in cycle repairs from Sharky. But I don’t think he took much notice! Then Stubby lost his chain on a massive descent. It only took 10 minutes to fit a new connector link – then back on the road.

Managed to get food in a truck stop, before getting back to the digs which are holiday let chalets. It’s a pretty nice place.

Very tough day on the bike, all the lads dug deep and put a hard shift in. Credit to everyone – well done.

Early night for me.

Pitstop

On The Road

Little Crash on the Railway Crossing

Lunch Stop

Trouble in the Chain Gang

Afternoon Ride

Arrival

Evening

They wash clothes?

Kobi News

The collection rolled through £5000 today. Cracking news. We’re all thinking of you Kobi!

You can donate on our JustGiving page here. Or use the QR code:

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Barca 2 Stage 03

Châteaudun to Châteauroux

Breakfast

It was a heavy night last night for the Captain. I even got a telling off from Bingo: severely reprimanded. It’s not for the first time but when I get older I’m definitely going to calm down.

It’s Sunday in France so no breakfast! This team is brilliant as they dived straight into the van and raided our supplies. Great help from East Kent Foods and Billy & Tina. Thanks for all your support, the lads love it, you have been brilliant supporting our little adventures.

We leave just after 8 with clear blue skies and a slight breeze. What could go wrong.

Soon we were out of the town, then onto the first road of the day. We only had two! Not sure what’s in the flap-jack Billy or the home-made one from Cathal’s Mum Caroline but it made the lads crank the speed up, 25mph, then 28mph rising to 31mph on the flat straight roads.

Young Ronnie (showing his class [Young Ronnie = Rylan: Ed]) and training from his cousin.

To be honest it wrecked me. I spent a couple of hours on the back, thinking what am I doing, getting in at 3am in the morning and then riding with these young fit guys. They are great company and it’s brilliant riding.

I have to apologise to Glen after a little swear word when he offered me his wheel. I’m just not feeling it at that moment. Obviously it’s nothing to do with the fact he is from Canterbury!

When the the Moses clan offered me their wheel I took it with an open heart, even putting up with Carl’s insane banter was a blessing. Mark and Carl towed me back to Glen and Marc Tonks and I made my apologies with a wry smile.

I was back in the the chain gang and then guess what? We have a stop. I feel so much better after a little beer!

We met Eric for a little stop whilst a professional cycle race was going on. They were a bit surprised as we rolled by.

Then I got on the wheel of our own professionals Glen and Dave. They pulled Bingo and I through a stunning 30 odd mile run in. Typically Bingo took the lead as we entered Châteauroux then led me in for the stage win. The four oldest guys first home. It may be a bit different tomorrow.

Now we are sitting in the pub garden waxing lyrical about the ride. A truly great team.

Note that the following photos may not be in the right place or refer to the right time of day. It’s often hard to see what’s what! No worries it’s not that important. I was given no information on why they were dancing in a fountain or whether they got arrested and Dale stole the Policeman’s helmet or indeed why they were arrested by a British Policeman. I guess some things stay on tour.

Ed

On the Road

Pitstop

Lunch Stop

Afternoon Ride

Route Stage 03
Profile Stage 03

Evening

Kobi News

We are still thinking about Kobi and all his incredible family. Keep going and we are sending you all our love.

Remarkably the donations are very close to £5000. Top effort all around and many thanks to all our contributors.

You can donate on our JustGiving page here. Or use the QR code:

QR for Kobi/SlideAway JustGiving Page

Barca 2 Stage 02

Puiseux-Pontoise to Châteaudun

Breakfast

After eating all we could last night I was surprised to see the full complement at the breakfast bar in morning. Fair play to the lads they are a team – all pulling together.

Little side note, nothing much was doing on the breakfast table this morning. Sunday in France is great! “We will sort it as Stubby” says “there is always a McDonalds”! “Not on my watch” I reply.

We left just after 8am through the urban outskirts of Paris. The team did well keeping to the traffic management, all that is, except Carl who likes to go the wrong way around roundabouts. Living dangerously and keeping us all entertained – absolutely brilliant.

Getting Going

Finally got out of the city and the lads are putting in some miles but at the same time holding back for us old ones. We were eating up the miles.

Eric pulling us towards the 35 mile refreshment break, and received some ice creams. Naturall the more riders had a beer – not keen on ice cream!

Pitstop

With two beers in my legs off we went. May be it’s not great for a team but once again, they pulled us through. Steve Richards is riding like a diamond. Cathal is marshalling the younger contingent to keep the pace.

We keep the pace up as we got into the arable farm land south west of Paris. Not much around – just the odd farm hamlet. Eric tried to find a refreshment stop to no avail but the young scout’s up their game and found the only cafe in the area. Pity they only had two pint glasses, obviously Bingo and I took control of them.

Lunch Stop

Arrival

After getting suitable refreshed we rolled on to Châteaudun around 10 miles away.

We all re-convened in the vibrant town square where some kind of medieval fete was going on.

The lovely Loir river – a tricky weir to get past when paddling!

Evening

After finally being allowed to check-in – the hotel had beren closed all afternoon – we sorted ourselves out and came out for the evening. Fortunately there was plenty of choice from food-stalls are aroiund the square and we were soon tucking in. Naturally a few more beers were required. It’s been a hot day.

it has been a privilege to ride with such a great, strong bunch of blokes all pulling together and riding as a great team.

Stage 02 Route
Stage 02 Profile

Kobi News

Once again thanks for all your great support and are thoughts are always with Kobi and his amazingly supportive family and friends.

As you can see we have reached 120% of our target on the charity collection. Massive effort from everyone. Big thanks all round.

You can donate on our JustGiving page here. Or use the QR code:

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Barca 2 Stage 01

Montreuil-Sur-Mer to Puiseux-Pontoise

Up and Ready

What a great night and meal in the town we was in last night. The hospitality they showed and the love of our tour was something to be proud of.

Woke in the morning to the lads pulling together to make the best breakfast feast they could; porridge, cereal, toast and lashing of sweet coffee. Keith is trying to restrict my coffee but as usual I am rebelling a bit.