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Day 1: the chipping forecast

June 17, 2016

The first day is often a bit of a big day. And so it transpired.

144.8km from Foix to that backwater cycling mecca of Bagneres du Luchon, via the Col du P-Something, Portet d’Aspet and the Col de Mente.

All was going well (well, as well as it can be for a long ride through mountains. Sleds had nearly killed us all via a bout of high-speed shoulder jousting, Tom had nearly been hit by a car but the weather – that threatened abject misery – had held.

Foix

Even the steep descent of the Portet d’Aspet, past the Casartelli memorial that marks the spot where he fell tragically, was done in the dry, with greater safety.

And then at the bottom, as we turned onto the Col de Mente, there they were. Stone chippings, all over the bastard road; like riding through a pebbled beach. 3-4km later and we were till on chippings, grinding away.And then the heavens opened.

By the time we (well, I) got to the summit some 10km later, visibility was down to very little and we faced a piss-wet descent. And so it was – cold, filthy, dodgy, little to recommend it.

After that, a showery 16km into Bagneres that left everyone, well, rinsed.

Bell to Tom – not per previous allegation. Horn of shame and the safety sash to Sleds, to our collective shock.

Next: mountains, and rain.

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