Stage 10 - 197km
Well, we've been spoilt. Clearly the organisers either felt a bit guilty about the previous night's hotel or about what was to come, but last night we stayed in something rather special. What it does show is that the organisation are clearly treating us well and not just going all out to make as much money as possible.
The hotel loomed up like a fairytale castle. We thought we were turning the coach around in the entrance but no, we stayed there the night.
It was a bit bizarre though to have such a nice hotel, with all the windows having cycling shorts, shammy side out, hanging out of the windows. The french golfers were not too impressed and did complain...!
I was not looking forward to the transfer day, 8 hours on a coach, however we all slept and it seemed to go quicker than I was expecting. Especially when we were sitting around the pool of the hotel - it made us feel like pros, all at our holding camp.
The stage itself though today, being honest, I found to be not as exciting. Until we made it exciting that was! It was a 116-mile route heading north through pretty flat, bit bumpy roads. It was only the Lifers who were left (those of us doing all 21 stages), so it was nice as we are all doing the full distance, except for one poor guy who is heading home with a broken collarbone. The others that crashed are all strapped up and back on their bikes.
We split into groups of 8 and just kept the groups separate by working together, like a chain rotating, hence why they call it "chain gang". We have two lines, one of the lines is pressing on and the other easing off. You change at the front after doing the turn, then drop back slowly. It's the most efficient way of a group of people working together.
The main excitement came at the end - 3 of the groups bunched up and then started an out and out road race. I'm not sure of the debris behind, but I know it became 10 of us, then down to 7, and on each little bump, more dropped out until there was just 3 of us left to sprint for the Saint Malo sign. My gut feel is that I was in a draw for second, but no photo finish means the result may vary subject to who you speak to.
Anyway we are now in Saint Malo, back to reality - 4 of us in a very small bedroom, but it does look out over the sea, and we managed to catch the last half hour of the Tour De France, before chores...:-)
Today's shout-out goes to Silverbean for sponsoring today's stage - thank you!