Sunday, 19 June 2011

Navigation Nightmares ...

Today has turned out to be somewhat frustrating.  We hired a 705 Garmin from the tour guides with the six days of riding routes pre-programmed.  We also downloaded their routes onto our 305s (which should have given an arrow to follow - but it didn't really seem to work!) and we had route cards.  We were also briefed yesterday that they would be at every junction ... the 705 wouldn't work from the start so we were down to following the route card which is written in such tiny print you have to stop to work out where you are.  To begin with we stayed as a group but on the first Col we split apart each making their own pace.

At the bottom of the first descent - no one to direct us - so we duly worked out where we were on the card and made the correct decision.  At the first coffee stop they seemed to fix the 705 but that lasted about 15 minutes before the screen went blank again.  As the support vehicles passed us they yelled out directions for the next junctions - and we duly followed what we were told ... right at the next roundabout and the cafe on the left ... well there was no cafe on the left, what they had neglected to mention was turn left then left again and it's on the left ... so 5k later ... hey ho.

Anyhow, sunny and very hot, wind very light and the scenery is staggering, managed to take one or two shots so here they are ...

Ready to roll

Starting point; Hendaye

Dave at the first coffee stop in Espelette

Bikes parked there!

At the top after a long 5% average climb - the Tourmalet is 7.5% and much longer ...

Lunch venue at Helette - the most awesome mushroom omelettes!
Today was the longest in miles of the tour; tomorrow we tackle the iconic Tour (de France) climbs of Marie-Blanc, Aubisque, Solour and then the mighty Tourmalet.  I will be taking it very steadily and riding at my pace - Dave will head off at his own pace so I expect I will be riding completely alone - let's hope navigation is less of an issue.

Today's course profile and stats ... 99 miles and 3,100 m climbing  ... 7 hours 30.

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