Day 4 – Andy Brown saves the day

Nothing much funny happened today, so it was really lucky that Brown Bear saved the day at the last moment.

As we rolled the last few km into our destination, Phalsbourg, Andy had planned us a touch of off road. The gravelly path turned into scree, undergrowth and then we finally arrived at a giant motorway construction project, bounded by massive 15 ft high banks of soft clay earth. Driver Rob managed to drive the van up to the top of this ramp, with Amy and Hannah’s screams echoing across the hillside. Twice over, I shouldered my bike, and dragged myself up the banks, slipping and sliding in the earth. Eventually we were directed to haul ourselves up onto a road bridge and rolled down to the hotel location.

Sense of humour wore a bit thin at times, but we’ll laugh about it in times to come!

The rest of the day was quite unremarkable except for more bits falling off bikes and troublesome body parts. Jim was the latest convert to single gear riding as his front shifter paddle snapped off. Max suffered the most outrageous puncture while descending at 40 mph as a screw drove its way right through his tyre and into the rim beneath, while – lucky for him – the tyre stayed inflated until he was able to come to a halt.

The cycling was uppy-doony, as they say in the Hebrides. We crossed ridge after ridge after ridge, gaining and losing height, with some speedy descents into villages. The final stop of the day was in the splendid Place de la Republic in Sarre Union, where riders queued up for a dunk on the ceremonial fountain too cool off in the hottest part of the day.

Tomorrow will be tough. Very tough. We climb 800m in less than 10 miles. Forgive me if I’m too exhausted to blog tomorrow!

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