Stage 6 – 173km from Tours to Saint-Amand-Montrond (2013, stage 13)
After 5 days Andy and I have honed the routine, it’s normally a 6:30am alarm call, a quick hotel breakfast for me before heading out for an 8am start – if it’s a long or difficult stage, the wake-up and departure time would be a bit earlier.
We tend to meet up 3 times on a ride typically every 50km where I replenish my drink bottles and stick some more food in my jersey pockets I might also have a brew. I typically have a light carb based meal at the 3rd stop. Once the ride is finished, I’ll have a protein shake and then keep eating a carb based snack every hour and ensure I’m well hydrated whilst resting, writing my blog, skyping the missus and charging phones, computers etc. Some evenings we eat out at local restaurant others it’s a case of raiding the local Carrefour supermarket; whichever the case it’s a well balanced meal, before heading back to the hotel for another protein shake and then bed.
Saying that, today has been completely different as the hired van has been declared unfit to drive and we’re now in a monster of a van – all that has meant that I rode the route by myself today, carrying all my drink and food.
Luckily the stage has been flat, with the weather being kind again not too hot with only a light wind. When this stage took place in the Tour de France last year the crosswinds played havoc, ending the yellow jersey challenge of Alejando Vallverde – although another Alessandro has actually had a ‘bear’ing on the Tour Challenge. I ran a name the bear competition to raise funds for Julia’s House – the Dorset Children’s Hospice, with each name in the draw being a cyclists name and Alessandro Petacchi’s name was drawn out the hat – I’m sure he’ll be chuffed!
I really enjoyed the scenery throughout the Loire Valley and the vast majority has been on quiet agricultural roads with only the odd large lorry either pulling me a along in its slipstream or if its coming the opposite way knocking about 5km an hour of my speed – slightly unnerving!
The roads were lined with telegraph poles, particularly on the D8 to Issoudun (a town I’ll be heading back to in stage 19) and with it being so quiet I couldn’t get Glenn Campbell’s Wichita Lineman song out my head, which is quite appropriate given the connotations of the song and me missing home and my beautiful wife and daughter.
I also went through the village of Farges-Allichamps which, along with 5 other villages, claims to be the centre point in France. although to be honest I didn’t get a chance to take much of a look.
- Distance: 176 km
- Time: 6 hours 37 minutes
- Average Moving Speed: 28.9 kmph
- Total Ascent: 1,228 metres
The next 5 stages will be tough with 3 high mountain stages and 2 medium mountain stages. To get an early start I decided to transfer to tomorrows start town after todays stage. So after the 173km ride we’ve had a 100km drive down to Saint-Pourcain-Sur-Siole, it was a bit of a pain
as I could really have done with a hot shower but at least it’s an easy start this morning.
Don’t forget that I’m riding the Tour Challenge for Julia’s House – so please make a donation - all monies will go directly to the charity.
Anyhow, time to get ready for the mountains.