l’Étape du Tour Daily Blog – Friday
by Barry Doyle
It’s the rest day here in Argeles Gazost. As all of you know this does not an sitting around but getting an easy spin done, some maintenance and preparation for tomorrow. Having given everyone a run down on Mr Bonnies health yesterday here is a sit rep on the other club members.
Dave Keane, Bren,s vocal roommate, is forced to vacate their compact premises for the duration of Brendan’s cryotherapeutic self medication. Dave himself has an irritable knee problem and at times the two lads resemble Waldorf and Stadler, Brendan giving out about dave’s snoring, Dave returning with commentary on ice treatment and the end product of our high carb diets.
Our wise owl, Kevin mcNamee, imparts knowledge from time to time. He is truly deserves his place as a member of the top echelon of the club. A hard man by anyone’s standards Kevin only finished a course of antibiotics last Sunday and whist they impacted on his impeccably high standards last Tuesday he has since risen, like a Phoenix from the flames, to the previous high standards he has set for all of us.
Rob and I feel a bit left out with nothing but the aches and pains, common to all of us, to report. We don’t see much of Rob. St. Tiernans highest points scorer is more often off the front playing with the big boys, breaking records on each climb and impressing the locals with his ability to ascend at speed. Sorry Rob, but we just don’t see enough of you to write about your performances. Slow down!
We took in 30k’s to Lourdes this morning, a town importance to many, that Dave described as a “Religious Vegas”. In fairness to him we were having a coffe surrounding by hawkers. Statues of the Virgin Mary set alongside cheap knock off bags did give an odd sense of priorities. Our time here was limited and we rolled through the town and basically before an easy cycle home.
I’m writing this as we head from Pau and the sign on. We’re all focusing now. Its quieter, the slight droning of the radio playing over the coaches speakers. One or two voices but most of us in our own worlds preparing our thoughts for tomorrow. Some people catching an hours sleep, recovering from the hard training of the last three days. The atmosphere has thickened in anticipation of the real thing. One to day to go till the focus of the last six months starts for real.
The sign in has opened by eyes to how big this event is. A huge arena with branded tends selling all sorts of cycling bikes, gear and kit. Efficiently staffed desks get us through the process quickly and we all have our numbers, road maps and timing chips for the day. This is heavens for anyone with half a “gra” for bike kit and we took pleasure in checking out the top end machines over coffee. Trevor and Dermot hooked up with us here to take the Tiernans numbers to 8. Arrangements must be made to ensure we travel as a group for at least part of this event.
Today is another glorious day. We are all hoping for more of the the same at our 4.30am wake up call in the morning. Breakfast, on to the coach and arrival to Pau for 6 am is on the agenda as we will be departing Pau between 7 and 8am, depending on our event numbers.
The training is done, now for the real thing.