Slept pretty well last night, which was just as well as wake-up and breakfast was around the 6.30 a.m time. Usual routine of filling up water bottles, applying nubutte cream, getting chsnged into cycling gear and head downstairs for breakfast. Breakfast was typical english style - sausage, egg and bacon alongside fruit juice, fruit and yoghurt. Once fuelled up, bikes were made ready and we set off about 8 a.m.
Was expecting the day to be relatively easy, though this was not the case. Undulations were encountered early on in the ride. The first leg to the water stop started off quite chilly, but after 8 miles or so was suitably warmed up. Turned out to be an awesome day with bright shining sun and a wee bit of wind to keep us cool. The roads were awesome, they went on mile after mile, were in good repair and motorised vehicles were few. Flew to the first stop with no major worries at all. Was glad to eat a banana here (but was wishing for lucozade again too). Wasn't paying too much attention to road signs but noticed we passed through Ardres and Lumbres and some pretty forest in between.
The slog to dinner was hard, real hard. Big lengthy hills which seemed to go on forever and ever. On the plus side there were a few tasty down hill sections too, but it seemed like a mostly uphill struggle. The 10 miles just before dinner were the hardest of the day and I was starting to feel very very hungry. Made it to the lunch stop in good time again - had to wait about half hour before lunch was served (whilst waiting for lunch was able to snack on croissant, crisps, flap jacks, orange and endless tea). Lunch itself was ok, I had chicken tikka pasta - bizarre but hit the spot.
After being fed I felt energised again and sped to the next water stop. This was a truly awesome part of the ride following a long quiet road and passing stunning scenery. Weather was great and only 1 cyclist was ahead of me as I sped to the water stop. Another banana here and then onto the roaad again for the last 10 miles.
The last 10 miles into Arras wasn't too bad, but was starting to feel tired once more. Had noticed the beautiful sun had started to burn my legs and was just so looking forward to having a bath. Before I knew it I had reached my destination - the Holiday Inn Arras!
The Holiday Inn was nice but it didn't have a bath. However, it has a bar which I plan to visit in a while and reward my efforts. Most importantly of all, it has free internet access which has allowed me to update this blog!
Cycled a distance of 80.33 miles, with an average speed of 14.1 mph and a max of 38.6 mph. Spent 5 hours and 40 minutes on the saddle (thank goodness for Nubutte cream and Sudocrem)!
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