39km Montpellier Time Trial (2009, Stage 4)
Todays stage consisted of a time trial entirely around Montpellier. The start point for todays stage was at the centre of the city at its main focal point the Place de la Comedie. After yesterdays experience around the city, particularly with the volumes of traffic, one way systems etc. I decided to set off really early. So my alarm went off at 6:15am and I was out on the road by 6:45am. I planned my route to the start of the stage on my bike computer and I got sent all over the shop – I had to head up one way streets in the wrong direction not to mention having to be wary of road furniture – man hole covers, raised curbs etc. I eventually arrived at the centre but had to be really careful as the road cleaners were out and they’d drenched the street, which created a very slippery area, so all in all it was a tentative start.
I eventually started and reckon I got stopped at 15 sets of traffic lights with absolutely no traffic on the roads – I guess the department chiefs nephew has the contract for traffic light maintenance. It would have been funny if they’d actually left the lights running when the Tour de France cyclists took on this route in 2009 – I think Bernhard Hinault would’ve broken a few noses; whilst the bike mechanics would have had a busy evening fixing all the bikes that had been chucked on the floor.
So all in all it was a very slow ride, I also got lost around Murviel-Les-Montpellier – after yesterdays puncture I don’t think the tyres would have been pleased with a run downhill on a dirt track, luckily I managed to get myself back on track after a couple of minutes.
The final 10km took me in westerly direction back into Montpellier and also into a stiff south-easterly wind, hopefully it’s like this tomorrow as it would be a tail wind. I arrived in Montpellier at the same point as yesterdays stage and I couldn’t figure out why as it’s a pretty bland area, so I’ve read into this and the end point was on the Bd Paul Valery who was a Montpellian poet and writer of some great aphorisms, I particularly like the following which I find really appropriate:
A man who is ‘of sound mind’ is one who keeps the inner madman under lock and key.
The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.
I’ve come up with my own to sum up my experience of cycling in Montpellier, see what you think:
- Cycling in Montpellier is akin to applying deep heat to your nuts – don’t do it!
- Life’s too short – red means go (only joking).
- Cycle paths are like a consultant, they give you the easy solution and leave you on your own when it gets tough.
Here’s todays stats:
- Distance 39.7 km
- Time 1 hour 42 minutes
- Average Moving Speed 23.8 kmph
- Ascent: 553 metres
Oh well, less of the academic gubbins… considering the difficulty of the previous 3 days, it was nice to get back to the hotel early, have a massive breakfast, take a shower and tune up the bike for the days ahead. I’m also really glad that I headed out early as storms are brewing over Montpellier and I wouldn’t have fancied riding in that.
My other soigneur, Brian Hole will be joining us later this evening, therefore I suspect Andy and Brian might indulge themselves in a glass of the local brew this evening, I’ll be hitting the sack early as it’s another difficult 205km medium mountain stage to Albi tomorrow.