Stage 4 - 25km
After finishing stage 3, we sat in a harbour at Calvi, waiting for the ferry to arrive. It was due in at 7pm, so we had from 3pm to 7pm to wait. No hotel meant we had to improvise. Lots of bare flesh on the quayside, including one guy that decked it on a descent, wrecking his bike. Scraped very heavily, he ventured into the sea, which was our replacement for the cold shower treatment. We all joined in!
We all congregated for the ferry at 7pm to find no ferry. Fortunately a little bar serving home made pizzas was on the quayside - 80 hungry riders wiped the bar out of food and drink within an hour. Just in good time for the ferry arriving in. It was quite a surreal experience, half of us allowed to board and the rest held until the ferry company found our boarding passes, 15 minutes after everyone else.
The ferry had an open air pool, with dance music resonating from the bar - it should have been a cool experience, but it all felt randomly odd.
After typical ferry food we went off to our rooms - 3 to a cabin for an overnight stay which felt more like being in a prison room. The top bunk was quite claustrophobic - it was very hot and no opening windows in the cabin meant it was stifling. I cooled myself slightly by using my drinking bottles with water in, as the opposite effect to a hot water bottle.
Early this morning, we cleverly discovered the control in our room for the air conditioning. It was on warm.
We docked into Nice at 7.30am this morning and very swiftly, all the bikes were lined up for us to then head out along the prom. I had it in my mind that we would ride this short stage like a time trial, which is what's happening in team formation next week in the pro race. However Nice was preparing for the tour next Tuesday and they had made no provisions for a group of amateurs today, so we had to negotiate rush hour traffic not only on the road, but on the cycle path along the prom. Also we couldn't really go on the main road the tour will be using next week, so Phil Deeker planned a much quieter route for us, just to the side of the race route.
It still took us ages, but we really did use this ride just to turn the legs. Now we're in the Holiday Inn at Nice in a seaside bar, with free wifi (cheaper than the hotel that's for sure, but then it's costing us a fortune in food and drink!). Some of our group were thinking of hitting Monte Carlo, others Nice, and a group of us just realised that over the next 5 days our shortest day is 100 miles and some bloody long hard stages until next Monday when we have a long transfer, probably in a coach - so maybe just getting some rest today is for the best.
The tracking has worked well today - better than it did when we were in Corsica. Hopefully it will continue to work for the rest of the stages.
I will aim to post and update as much as possible as the tour progresses. Please keep your comments coming as they really help.
A big shout-out to Andy Gilbert today and the Go Mad Thinking team - thanks for sponsoring today's stage.
Finally for today, a quick video Day 4 review and some photos: