Day 5 proved to be challenging on many levels as Team Leader Jonathan Thomson reported:
“There was a very loud bang this morning at 08.25 as one of our tyres exploded just as we were preparing to move out on today’s ride, but the delay was minimal. As we steered towards the hills the mist came in, turning to a light rain that soaked us pretty thoroughly so when we made it to the first Col we were wet and cold even though we were only at 4,097ft, but the area was open and looked and felt like Dartmoor on a bad day.
A fast descent only made us colder and we would have been a bit hypothermic by the time we hit the minimal flat bit at the foot of the climb. Unusually we looked for the next ascent to warm up on and that came quickly as we addressed the 18km route up to the Col d’Agnes, which at 5,150ft was wreathed in clouds through which we then descended, but the weather was improving and we arrived at our hotel in sunshine.
It had nevertheless been a bit of a challenging day.
Riding these long ascents gives ample time for thought and introspection. When the pain is at its most intense, asking why we are there is a fruitless exercise but is nevertheless a question often asked. The country is stunning, which helps, and today was no exception. Spectators are few, and are always outnumbered by the cattle who look at us in dumb incomprehension as they move on and off the road, completely oblivious of the titanic efforts we are making just to be with them. Their cares are few.”