Stage 12 – 176.5km from Aix-en-Provence to Montpellier (2013, stage 6)
It’s not surprising that after my exploits yesterday, the legs have felt a bit jaded and it’s simply been a case of surviving the stage and getting into Montpellier and recovering.
Last night I stayed at the foot of Mont Ventoux, at the Blueberry hotel in Malaucene. I really enjoyed my meal there particularly the Chicken Provencal main – every evening it is a case of ‘I feel like chicken tonight’ – pun intended!
Naturally I didn’t want a long commute at the end of yesterday’s stage, so it meant an early start and a 100km transfer towards the Mediterranean and the stage start point on the outskirts of Aix-en-Provence. I’m personally not really designed for the UK and thrive in the warm weather, so I’ve lapped up the 25 degree heat and all the Med has to offer – I really could move into the sun permanently!
The stage took me in a westerly direction parallel with the Med, heading just north of Marseille and towards its most northerly point through the towns of Tarascon (in the Bouches-du-Rhone department) and Beaucaire (in the Gard department) which are only dissected by the Rhone. I also passed loads of olive groves, orchards and vineyards and I was constantly riding past the smells of lavender and oregano which are all getting me prepped for an upcoming recovery break to Cyprus – bring on the Keo!
I had my first puncture of the challenge today where workman had stripped off the tarmac layer ready for resurfacing. It ripped a hole in the side wall of the tyre, meaning I had to ride the rest of the stage with part of the inner tube sticking out, so a new tyre has been fitted this evening.
Heading into Montpellier, brought me into the usual hustle and bustle of a big city. Montpellier is France’s 8th largest city, so I could have done without all the stop and starts (and getting lost) – it was a horrendous last 8km and pretty unnerving at times. I try whenever in a city to make use of cycle paths, but I’ve found in many places they just simply stop, leaving you with a kamikaze road crossing to get back on course – I think I’ll ignore them in cities from now on.
I also had the embarrassment of falling off when my bike wheel got caught in a tram line. Hopefully there’s no CCTV footage but loads of people saw me, so it was a case of head down and pretend that nothing happened, I don’t think it worked and I know I would’ve laughed if it was someone else!
Todays stats are in 2 parts, as I stopped the bike computer after the puncture and I forgot to start it again for 5 km’s so I’ve added that to the total distance.
- Distance: 176km
- Time: 6 hours 14 minutes
- Average Moving Speed: 28.21 kmph
- Total Ascent: 905 metres
Tomorrows stage is a time trial around the city,I might head out with my lights really early to avoid all the traffic.