6.00 am alarm call: climb out of bed and wince at how your body feels; look outside, check the weather, gauge the temperature and try to dress accordingly; head downstairs and deliver main luggage to signing van, which departs imminently.
6.30 am: breakfast. Eat well, but don’t totally overdo it. Good coffee, good cereal and warm croissants are the measure of a decent hotel at this point in time; once full, head back upstairs and pack day bag with food and clothing to tackle the challenges ahead.
7.15am: find bike, add some air to slightly soft tyres and get ready to ride; never be late for this part of the day.
7.30 am: we roll away, as a group. Legs and sit bones scream protest, but settle down when they realise nothing’s optional; measure all efforts, never dig too deep, descend smoothly, always leaving some room for the unexpected; above all, just keep rolling and avoid losing time.
c.10.30am: morning feed stop: refill bottles, restock pockets with snacks and eat as much as possible in five minutes!; attend to any bike and/or body niggles; roll away again, as a group, as soon as possible; by lunchtime, we’ll have ridden c. 100km.
c.1.00pm: lunch feed stop: this might be at the side of a road, or it might be a simple (big) bowl of pasta in a local restaurant.; again, restock pockets with snacks; only another 100km or so to go!
c. 4.00 pm: afternoon feed stop: follow the same routine as the morning, but also check the weather: have you got enough clothes if the rain comes in, or the temperature drops?; same goes for daylight?: now’s the time to attach your lights and switch to clear lens glasses, in case darkness beats us in our race for the hotel.
c.6.30pm: the hotel, at last, breathe a deep sigh of relief: check bike and tell Jonny, our master mechanic, about any problems; find luggage, find room, prepare recovery drink; take pain killers; shower and wash today’s kit at the same time; roll wet kit in your towel and stand on it, then dry yourself!; text home to report success and safety; lay out clothes for tomorrow; dinner; briefing by Phil on tomorrow’s stage; back to room; repack bag; stretch; upload photos; blog; 11.00 pm or later: sleep. Deeply.