Stage 2 - 154km
We had our briefing late last night - we always eat at 8pm and as you can imagine getting 80 hungry cyclists into a restaurant and all fed is a challenge. It's always a set meal though, to make life easier.
So the briefing was not held until just gone 10pm. We discovered that the town we were in, Bastia, only has 300 hotel bedrooms. We had 84 of them...!
What's also interesting is that it's a town where the tour will finish, as we're following the exact route. So with 120 riders and on average 5 people per rider in support, plus all the press and fans, it's going to be a bit packed. So what are they going to do? Easy - bring into the harbour 3 massive cruise liners to set up floating hotels for the tour.
Anyway back to day 2 of the tour - the first mountain stage as such, and for me, not being a climber, it doesn't bode well for what's to come.
We all rode out together but as the hill went up, so did the temperature and more and more riders dropped backwards. You tend to find that you have to ride the hills at your own pace; if someone around you is similar then it works ideally to stick with them, especially with the headwind we had.
After half way it was whittled down to 3 of us working together (not the very front runners I hasten to add) and we managed to take short turns on the front to enable the others to recoup behind. We did this all the way back to the hotel - what was weird was in the briefing we heard about a little 1km climb near the finish, which we really didn't notice. Not to worry, must be feeling better than I thought.
We parked the bikes, booked the massage and started to get bags, only to be informed there was a 12km loop we needed to do, with the 1km climb in it.
Getting back on the bike when you are knackered, hot, sweaty, and even more so, psychologically ready for the shower, was a big challenge.
We did it though - we headed into Ajaccio and then hit the climb out. Beautiful it may be, but at half past 3 in the afternoon it was mega hot, and much longer than 1km. It was also very steep. Watch out for this on next Sunday's tour as it's going to cause problems in the race, especially with the final descent back into the town.
Oh well, we're now back in the hotel - massage done, bike checked and serviced ready for tomorrow. Had a cold shower to get the muscles cooled down and then the 8.00pm food and briefing for day 3.
Sorry the tracking didn't pick up on day 1. I tried everything to sort it, so did the old faithful reboot and managed to get it working for today.
If you're interested in data from today's stage, here's my Strava information - enjoy!
Here's a video from today's stage - Day 2 review
And a few photos from the day: