Today was a bit of a ‘hanging in there’ kind of day. Although yesterday’s ride was tough, the scenery kept the morale up all day. Today was a bit different. I woke up realizing the deterioration of my body, and was a bit worried about how quickly it was going. We’re only on day 3 and my knee was stiff, I lost any sensation in two fingers of my left hand and my saddle sores were rearing their ugly heads. Nothing to seriously worry about, but they do create a lot of discomfort. (Oh the joy of sitting back on a saddle with saddle sores. Oh the fun to need four fingers to try and shift)
What was good today was that CP1 would be a certainty, and even while the checkpoint was still open. What was also good today was running into other riders (pair #207, I think their names were George and Abby? And #29 Franziska) and spend some time with people who understand what you’re going through.
Despite our joined breakfast together, I found it hard to fully enjoy the day. I was very unimpressed by the road from Moulins to Clermont-Ferrant. The road was both busy and boring, and the tarmac was the kind that set my butt on fire. So to make it a bit more interesting, I tried to push for an arrival at CP1 by noon. It wasn’t to be though, traffic and red lights made for poor progress and then I even managed to pass the checkpoint at first, having to back track 2,5km. 2,5km is nothing in the grand scheme of things, but I could’ve done without. Also, my knee decided that I pushed too hard that morning, so CP1 turned out to be a very short break, so I could go to a pharmacy.
Then it was time for the parcour, I had to climb the Col de Ceyssart. It took me a lot longer than I’d like to admit. A double Ibuprofen and a lot of Voltaren hardly helped to ease the pain, but that was only part of it. I started worrying about how the hell I would survive Switzerland if I could hardly even manage this. Then I started looking at all those parapenters at the top of the Puy de Dome, thinking they were having so much more fun than I. I just wasn’t in a good place. But thanks to a couple stops, I still made it to the top and had a chat with Louise and Peter there.
Then I descended, found a Carrefour and had a parking spot lunch/dinner, checked the route and decided to see if I could make it to Vichy tonight. It started promising, the D road was actually flat, had a real designated bike lane and progress was good. But then the side wind came out to play and I was just DONE. Navigated to the nearest hotel, now ready to thoroughly was myself and the kit. Tomorrow another day!