Saturday, 18 August 2007


With the last Kiwi having retired from the tour yesterday we've had their mechanic wash our bikes, stolen their swanny (Tess), used their team car for race feed and will be hijacking the latter two to take us through to Paris. Therefore a room swap occurred last night to allow for Tess, and don't bother guessing who made the change. I'm hoping that Kate's climbing form has rubbed off on me overnight because my legs never came good as Broso had indicated. Breakfast was our final chance to stash food for our travels to Paris. Tiff innocently inquired about creamy cheese, the host's reply, in a small French accent, was not what she had expected "There is no more cheese! They eat for 30 people! It's not fair!". Upon returning to the kitchen she delivered the left-over cheese, almost apologetic about her outburst. I DEFINITELY eat for 30 people!

We were feeding from 'Hoffman' team car today as Broso was organising the future of our own vehicle. The sun greeted us as we rode neutral up a 6km burg. It felt like Baw Baw all over again, 50rpm in my 23. At the summit we stopped briefly before official race start, giving the American's a chance to go 'pisso', one of them suffering stage fright before the sheltering car drove off. A 'Chirio' girl was next to surprise when, after a small attack I'd made over a crest, we were forced to stop for a train. She unclipped her foot, widened her stance, pulled her knicks across and relieved her bladder! Eww... The tour take's it's toll on ones mental state. Today, while positioned mid-bunch, a French National rep simply threw her half-full bidon at full throttle through the bunch. It was clearly a mistake and she evidently wasn't thinking, the re-iteration of "crazy girl!" very much warranted.

It was tough and almost stupid to be attempting a break when the peloton was travelling at 40kms/hr, but the final day posed final opportunities. I put myself right up there with Barry and his box today and I'm pretty sure I shouldn't have covered that attack by Boyarskaya on the climb toward the feed! Eventually I gave up, participating in the sprint and running 7th, first young rider. That means I claimed top 10 in every bunch kick at the '2007 Route de France', sprinter style! With a final GC of 24th, 3rd young rider, I'm quite satisfied with how the tour finished... expect the use of communal showers after the final stage. We made our own bottles, raced on stolen brekkie snacks, recovered without protein, reverted to self-massage and have handwashed for 6weeks. Now that's an experience you wouldn't find in Australia!! :) This is the life I want to live...

As the day was coming to an end and we approached the outskirts of Paris, I realised that our journey was almost over. I'd been homesick for the past week since speaking to my Mum and it wasn't a secret that I would happily skip on Paris and catch an early flight home. On early arrival at our accomodation, after I had feasted on steak and OJ, we met with Ath and Bel. I hadn't seen Bel since the accident and she was recovering well. The swelling around her eye and forehead had subsided and stitches had already been removed, her arm supported by a complicated sling. It took me a good 5 minutes before I was able to get a word out and when I did they were joined by tears. Soon enough we were both crying and hugging despite her broken bones... I was glad to have her back :)

Results: La Route De France Feminine, Stage 7, La Bresse - Vittel, 113.1 kms