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It would be fair to say that the rest day for the Tour was anything but that for us. Conditions were warm, with temperatures in excess of 30 degrees by 10am. We left Seyne les Alpes en route to Lac de Serre-Poncon, a phenomenal man-made lake and one of the largest in Europe. After a fast and flowing 12km descent down to the water level, we faced the inevitable. A 7km climb at 7%. Thankfully our tour-leader Thierry parked himself at several sections of the climb and would run beside us offering such treats as Peanut M&M’s, liquorice and peaches. Strange choice of snacks? Yes. Did I accept them? Of course.
By now, temperatures had risen to the mid 30’s and my choice of a long sleeve jersey (for sun protection) was starting to become a regret.
A couple of climbs later and the day reached its peak, both in ascent and temperature. Like all good villages, we were rewarded with a water fountain for filling up bidons and pouring on our heads. In the beating sun the temperature was clocked at 41 degrees, and when Thierry met us and offered more chocolates and liquorice, I had to politely decline.
Another traditional lunch of baguettes and frites (and several Cokes) and we were on the home stretch. The one thing the day had been missing was torrential rain and high winds, so it was only fitting that we encountered those on a long descent full of switchbacks. A couple of us decided to add even more adventure by not following instructions and were soon lost… in the French Alps… in the rain. It wasn’t all bad though, a local orchard was quickly pillaged for nectarines.
It wasn’t long before Thierry came to the rescue and set everyone back on the right path. Surprisingly, we had consumed all of the ‘sweeties’ as the French liked to call them.
It’s a strange feeling, getting back to your hotel sunburnt, dehydrated, and drenched from a storm. If I wasn’t so exhausted I would have a smile from ear to ear. Can’t wait for tomorrow.
View the Strava file for the day.