So this is the last part I think. It's strange, or rather endemic of my winter lethargy that it's just over three months since I got back. Three months. That's the time I trained for the ride. Could I do it again three months on? Maybe.
For reasons of departure we had to be in Paris for midday. This meant an early start. 6am to be precise.
It was dark at that time. Dark and cold. My optimistic clothing of short sleeved jersey and shorts were proven to be after about five minutes outside and I soon pulled a woolly long sleeve on over the top.
The warm pool of light emanating from an open boulangerie as we came through a village was so welcoming. Pull up, lean the bikes up and get into the warmth. Three black coffees and two with milk please. Oh and a pile of pain au raisin. Merci. So welcome and wanted.
I feel satisfied. We're not there yet but the riding today is feeling good. We're gelling nicely and rolling along at a good pace. The early start means that although we think the day is still early hours the distance done is mounting up.
Another stop for cake and a chance to smile at pretty ladies serving. I love cake.
The next part is the crap part of the day. It was always going to be. We're onto a bit of dual carriageway and past Le Bourget airport. Pretty sure we were ok to cycle there. Pretty sure. Soon enough that part is gone and we're into the outskirts of Paris. With still fifteen miles to go the traffic is queueing. Is it going to be like this all the way? There's roadworks and for a brief moment I worry that we are going to be diverted and all the route planning will go out the window.
The feared diversion doesn't happen and we push on. Traffic lights mean finding something to lean on to save unclipping from the pedals. Whether this is each other, railings, cars or buses doesn't matter.
See that dome looming in the distance. That's not the Notre Dame. Although I thought it was.
Stop and have a look at the map. Hmm we're getting close. How about cutting through this road, that should bring us onto the Champs.
All of a sudden. Pow.
We can see it. It's useful having a finish point that's 300m tall.
We congregate beneath. It's just approaching midday. Somewhere near us should be the ladies.
Much hugs, kisses, smiles and eating is had. Then it's time to have some posed shots for the albums.
The much appreciated support ladies-
6 days ago