Stage Seven: Tue 6th Oct: 184km * 3,800m

Stage Seven: Tue 6th Oct: 184km, 3,800m

Privas to Privas (Ardechoise, part One): 184km * 3,800m

Main climbs: Cols : Arenier, Sarasset, de la Fayolle, Miraud, Quatre Vios, Creysson, de la Faye, Le Coulet, LArdechoise, Clede, Mont Gerbier de Jonc, Pranlet, Croix de Ste André

Phil Deeker says: “This is the first of the two stages that will take riders over most of the climbs of the Ardechoise cyclo-sportive. Another intense day in the saddle, but so, so worth the pain! The Gerbier de Jonc is one of the two highest points of the region : the scenery of this stage is quite exceptional: open, barren hills alternate with densely wooded, steep-sided valleys.”

Ride Report:

6.00 am: alarm 🙁

My legs are still swollen, but not too badly! Mix up with breakfast time, so I head to my bike and put some air in the tyres.

7.45 am: roll out. It’s warm and humid, but not raining quite yet.

8.00 am: I’m too hot, so stop to take off some clothes – it’s effectively a 30km climb. Now I’m dead last.

8.10 am: I catch Nico and offer him my wheel. We catch Allan – now we’re a mini-peloton 🙂

8.45 am: we catch Thomas and Dirk, Nico’s Dad (Team LMT guest rider for the next three stages): now we’re five 🙂

9.15 am: the rain – wind driven, soaking rain – arrives. I put clothing back on!

10.30 am: I think my right cleat has broken and I can’t clip into the pedal properly. I ride on, hoping to be able to fix it at lunch.

12.00 noon’ish: somewhere behind me, Thomas crashes, but not badly – just a little skin loss! He’s fine and rides on.

12.30 pm: we ascend into a thunder storm. Torrential rain. Lightning.

1.00 pm: the rain stops and the storm moves away to the south. The light and the colours are fantastic. Stone circles!

When the storm cleared, we were rewarded with this!

When the storm cleared, we were rewarded with this!

2.00 pm: lunch. With a bit of help from Phil D, Phil B, his wife Sarah and Jonny the Wunder Mechanic, we fix my cleat/pedal issue. Phew.

3.00pm: 30 km descent 🙂

4.00 pm: Phil D, Allan and I ride the rest of the day together. The light is amazing, the scenery stunning, the Cols keep coming and the roads are deserted.

6.30 pm: I take one final shot of Allan and Phil cresting the final col, while in the background, a thunder storm builds.

Allan emerges from the storm at the end of Stage Seven.

Allan emerges from the storm at the end of Stage Seven.

7.00 pm: after a blistering 20km descent, we’re done. Three more days to go.