PARIS OR BUST ?

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The Tour de France is in full swing and provides me with very entertaining viewing for 21 days through the month of July. I love to listen to Paul and Phil taking us through the French countryside with all the stories of Chateaus, Monasteries and  beautiful old Churches as we ride with the peloton beside famous French rivers and through wine growing regions.

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The famous duo

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During my motorcycling heyday I always loved the “big” events and of course as a trials rider the Scottish Six Days was my No1 event every year, and back in the 70’s we rode about 1200 miles in those 6 arduous days.

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1970 into the unknown!

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1974, my fourth ride

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It was tough as always

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Bottom of Ben Nevis

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1976 on Edramucky

The Tour is 3540 kms this year which converts to 2199.654 miles on its equally arduous journey from Dusseldorf to Paris and as I pedal my way towards my objective of 3000 for  the year the question is will I knock up the 2200 miles before the peloton arrives on the Champs Elysees.

Today I surpassed my last year’s total of 2031 having ridden 155.40 miles in the last week…… not bad for the near 71 year old up here at 7000′.

Monday 17th July, a rest day for Le Tour, and they certainly need it, whereas I’m at 2106.60 on my quest to get to Paris before they do. 93.41 to pass the finish line so time to get out there and knock off a few more before the afternoon thunderstorms arrive.

Road work signs everywhere as I try to leave Dolores and then the “Flag Man” single lane and the follow me car! Hard work trying to keep up with the pilot car and a lot of wet tar on the tires which are picking up stones and gravel. Two stops to clean tires but hit another 25.08 in pleasant conditions. However, need to ride somewhere else until they finish resurfacing this 2 mile stretch.

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The plan for Tuesday will be to try and get up the hill out of Dolores for the first time and this will no doubt force me onto the 39 tooth ring! Well, steeper than I thought!!! 3 stops and down to the next to lowest gear, but I finally made it without a heart attack. No K.O.M. shirt for me in the near future.

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The top of Dolores Hill

While doing some Tour de France research I noticed that in the early years when the roads over the mountains were little more than cart tracks riders carried their own tires and tubes, much like the two tubes I carted round Scotland on my 8 rides.

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Of course in the post war era just about everybody was a “smoker” and many riders were often seen smoking while riding and stopping for a drink or two. Sounds more like my sort of event!!

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In my experience people who drink and smoke don’t have much need for drugs and doping.

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Can’t see Chris Froome doing this for me but a lovely idea

Wednesday and after yesterday’s mini mountain climb I’ll be back to my standard ride down the valley towards Telluride. Only a smidge under 50 miles to go to Paris! After watching the grueling ride up and down the Alps I’m feeling quite tired just taking in other’s efforts!  I’m late out of the start and forced to cut things short after 21.23 miles but I’m just outside Paris at 2171.51 although storms are now part of the daily forecast.

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Serious hail and then heavy rain

Thursday and another gripping run through the Alps but then it gets pretty black and the thunderstorms arrive for a NO RIDING day. The rain carries on all night and Friday’s forecast is not any better and is currently cool and cloudy.

Never mind off I go, I’m not going to be defeated when I’m this close and 25.71 goes in the book which leaves me at 2197.22, or 2.78 miles from Sunday’s finish line! ……………………… Well the afternoon thunderstorm has arrived although today its just light rain after the cracks and booms of the early afternoon. I also need to get up to the light on the sign and fit the new tubes I bought at lunchtime. It does look a bit clearer out to the west so maybe one beer and all will be well?

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Artwork complete and now the lights are on

Brenda has been up the scaffolding and painted the name and redone the hummingbird to great effect. Finally it stops raining and starts drying up so I can get those new tubes in the sign lights, all done and ready for dog walking and a short ride to the Brewery for beer and pizza. Another 4.45miles clicks over so I’ve made Paris before the Peloton.

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That’s me in the blue shorts on the far left

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Done it!

TONY DOWN

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