So far so good. So far so good. (As the man said going past each floor as he fell from a twenty-story building.........! I've done only one bicycle tour before this - a 10-day ride in Spain along the Camino de Santiago from Burgos to Santiago de Compostela where the longest day was 70 kms so this is a totally new challenge for me. Bruce is an old (a VERY old) hand at bike tours, but I had some trepidation about doing an average of 100kms most days for a couple of months. However, as I said, so far so good............
We are now in Chaumont, having ridden just over 300 Kms over the last three days heading steadily eastwards towards Germany. The first night we camped at Provins - a lovely, very picturesque, medieval town. Our campsite was at Camping Fontaine Riante. We also camped the second night out at Troyes, another incredibly beautiful picture postcard town, and last night we experienced pure luxury in a suite at the Hotel de France in Chaumont, a beautiful cathedral city. I am so much enjoying everything we see and there is something actually quite special about seeing it from a bicycle. This was the first night that our group split up. We have two sets of participants on the tour. We have the 'Adventure Tour' people - who tend to be amongst the younger lot - who will camp every single night. Then we have the older, wiser, retired and semi-retired bunch who are doing the "Comfort Tour" which means we get to stay in a hotel every few nights. A very welcome feature of the Tour for this particular tired bod, I have to say, when we get to have our own bathroom and some creature comforts at the end of a riding day!
We are with an excellent group of people - all very interesting and, with one (moi) and, possibly, two exceptions ALL very avid and capable cyclists with bags of experience. I say "possibly two" because whereas another woman said she doesn't actually like riding a bicycle she nevertheless looks like she was born on one. Our group ranges in age from around mid to late thirties to mid to late seventies. We have two vans and five crew members with us: the leader, a cook, a trail-blazer/guide/mechanic, and two general helpers who drive the vans and help with cooking, shopping, etc. It's a good bunch of people who are already pulling together and helping each other out. (We'll have to see how far that cooperation extends if we end up vying for the few available seats in the sag wagon when we go through the Vosgues mountains in three days time!:)
For myself I'm happy with progress so far. I've told Bruce he should go play with the Big Boys up front when we do our climbs, because it's not good for him (his knees and shoulder) or his riding style (Downhill Kamikaze) to always be waiting back for me. I'll find some other riders to cruise along with more at my pace and, if all else fails and my day becomes too long, I'm not be too proud to hitch a ride in a van. I really do not want to crank it too fast downhill - just call me scared! - as I fully intend to survive this trip to see my grandsons grow up.
All for now - next section is four days of riding; so will next be writing from Freiburg.