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Saturday 2 July 2011

Day 54.....and the Tour Begins.....

....not Brian's Tour, but THE Tour......and he has allowed me to blog about it!  The question is, which is most impressive?  3,500 miles on a solo ride in the searing heat over 70 days at 10 miles an hour or 3 weeks around France at an average of 25 miles an hour up some of the most brutal hill climbs in the world, but with a whole bunch of guys to compete with and draft from?  It is a tough call, and the subject of this blog.

I've learnt a lot about cycling this week, from watching Tim Palmer's early attempts to get to grips with the Crit* (*Criterion race) – 20 mins round a circular track of about a mile with a full peleton to watching how Jim and John G took on the 40 minute race and all of the tightness, communication and strategy involved in staying at the front of the pack when you are going at full speed.  This has large elements of the Tour about it.  You need absolute concentration, commitment and enormous cojones!   I am penning this from Jim G's TdF Party where we are watching the start of the Tour.  It has really been quite thrilling.  The cyclists are stacked and frankly, gorgeous enough to keep even the most stalwart of non-cycling females interested... the spills were impressive, one guy took out almost the entire peleton just 6 miles out from the finish, John G's scabs and scars from the Crit a week ago are testament to the fact that he knows how stacking at speed feels.  So for me it is all quite exciting....however;

I've also sat on a tandem for 6 hours in 100 degree heat as we saw Brian in from Petit Jean to Little Rock.  From that single experience I got to see the real Arkansas – beautiful countryside, fabulous lakes and fantastically smooth roads – and to meet the real Arkansas with John, Diana and Casey who are some of the warmest and most encouraging people anyone could hope to cycle with....despite Casey pointing out the rather large air conditioning vent I had managed to tear into my cycling shorts....pretty embarrassing really......Anyway, I digress, what I am trying to say is that all of this combined has certainly conspired to make me think again about my rather stereotyped views of Americana.  Not even my first night in a tent for over a decade could take the edge of such a glorious fact, between you and me, I quite enjoyed it.  (Don't tell Tim).  The stars were fantastic and waking up as the sun was rising over the lake was nothing short of spectacular.


I've gone from thinking that Brian was totally, completely and utterly mental for doing this in the first place to fully understanding why you would want to.  It's hot, humid and relentless, but utterly satisfying.


For me, Brian wins for having the mental strength to go it alone – what I am really hoping for is for Brian to take the steel beast to the Crit on Monday and take on the Gillum Brothers and Tim in a head to head – I think he'll win!

(by Sarah Wright)

1 comment:

  1. It's funny, but from the first paragraph I could tell that it wasn't Tim or Bri writing. Very impressed at Sarah's bravery - taking on Palmer is one thing, but putting him together with Brian is potentially combustible. Hope you keep having fun!