Monday, 23 September 2013

Day three Bike Ride report: That Story of the Tortoise and the Hare

By the time you're reading this, our intrepid cyclists will be well on their way back to Rowan House. Before we welcome them home to Swindon, let's catch up with Mark Charlton and the rest of the team for our last taste of cycling the French way. It seems he also wants to remind us of an old fable and its salutary lesson...

Do you remember that story about the tortoise and the hare?

As the sun broke the horizon our steadier riders were on their way to Le Havre. It was 7.30 French time (6.30 UK) and Michael Williams was heard to  mention that it must be longest ever bike to work!

Following the river Seine to Rouen we made good progress, passing the cathedral after an hour or so. At which time the faster riders had finally decided to start...

The groups came together at thirty miles, but the steady group pushed on and the faster riders decided to have a longer stop - not surprising given they'd been riding at an average of 18 mph.

After a long... long ... long hill, the road gradually came back to the river, and the cool weather helped keep the riders moving. At fifty-five miles the groups came together again...

And once again the steady group kept rolling, while the fast boys, confident of their eventual success, stopped for some rest. Evidently, for some, the 'rest' involved Calvados and Pernod; rumours that Nick Gresham (Group CFO) was soon asleep on the job are entirely correct.

The hill at Tanqueray (no gin involved) was even longer... and longer... than the morning's challenge. But by now the steady group was moving smoothly:  Gillian Bonthron showing her climbing legs to win queen of the mountains.

A few miles over the plateaux and a steep descent to Le Havre approach road, and it looked as if the hares had miscalculated.  Speeds of 43 miles an hour were recorded as they fought to catch up.

Entering the town the two groups were edging closer - no stopping for punctures now.. every man (and woman) for themselves.. through the docks... past the industrial zone... into the town centre... left over the bridge to the ferry port...

And believe it or not, on that final bridge the two groups came together to ride the final yards as one.

An appropriate end to fabulous day!

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