Stage 6 - 176.5km
In our briefing for stage 6, Phil Deeker summarised stage 6 as a transfer stage - one to be treated as a recovery ride.
Imagine that if you will, when you get up tomorrow and shout out "Honey, I'm just off for a 104 mile recovery ride." Urmmm, it didn't sit well with us either, however the stage profile is one in which it was mainly flat. in fact more downhill than up so that's a win.
Before we could start the stage, we had to take a coach for an hour to get to the start. It's OK for the pros, they have a mobile recovery centre hidden in their coaches. For us, we have to transfer in the mornings as there's a wide range in finish times every day. You can imagine though, that 60 odd riders will need some sort of facility after a healthy breakfast -let's just say that improvisation is required, subject to the surroundings.
In reality, today's stage was no recovery. The wind picked up and this really was the focal point of the day. In case you're not aware with cycling, the wind, in the main, is our enemy. If it's in your face you really know it, from the side can be dangerous, however if it's on your back, it's like the hand of god pushing you.
Today's stage had strong wind, strangely from all directions it seemed. We naturally split up, and it was interesting how from the riders, consistent groups have developed, each with their own character - our group for the day consisted of 20 riders and we worked well in pairs at the front, taking good turns. It felt OK to be sat behind, but once on the front it was like hitting a brick wall. So when it changed to the side, this you may think would be better. However, riders are being blasted and therefore sent off their line on regular occasions, which can be dangerous.
The delight came though when we picked the hand of god up to start hurtling us into Montpellier at a constant 30mph. Cruising in the bunch, this for a cyclist is when the sound is amazing. The sound of chains, wheels, and a steady whirring - it's one of the best sounds to be heard. Especially when cruising effortlessly through wonderful tree-lined roads through France.
Here's the data from today's ride - over 103 miles!
Today's shout-out goes to Stuffster who have sponsored stage 6 - thanks guys, your support means a lot to me.
Here's a video from stage 6 - Day 6 review and a few photos from the day, including drying out my washing!