See the rest of Thursday’s photos Here
Thursday dawned bright, clear and cool at St. Quentin en Yvelines, a welcome sight after a day of drizzle and dark clouds on Wednesday. I have to give more applause to the L’Auberge du Manet hotel: the breakfast was fabulous, simply put. Meats, eggs, cheeses, coffee, fresh squeezed orange juice, it was all there and the quiet atmosphere in the hotel meant there were just a few of us jousting to fill our plates.
Greg Conderacci and I suited up and rode over to the Campanile, where we scooped up some other riders looking for a warmup ride, then went back to the Manet and joined Lynn and Steve for a 20-mile ride to Dampierre and ultimately Rambouillet. Our group included Jim Levitt, Chip Adams, Lee from the Davis, Calif. area, Bob Sheldon, Mike Murray from Michigan, who rode our 600K, Clare Zecher, Ron Tosh, Greg and me, and a tandem couple who turned back early.
Most of the stores in little Dampierre were closed due to the August vacation period, but Rambouillet was bustling and we found a cafe with outdoor seating for lunch. Note: if you order Andioullet sausage, bring a strong stomach. Mine was way, way too gamey and I had to re-order a boring jambon sandwich!
A run to the town bike shop found it also closed for the August break, and we returned to St. Quentin by mid-afternoon. Some late showers rolled through as Steve, Greg, Lynn and I hung around the Campanile, eating an early dinner of rotisserie chicken and other impulse buys from the Carrefour supermarche. We found Steve and Andrea Matney, and later Paul Donaldson, who is staying at the campground.
Tomorrow we’re planning a longer ride to Chartres to see the historic, world-famous cathedral.
After that, we start to hunker down to await the big ride. I would say the worst of the trip here is behind us and we’re now working on keeping our nerves in check for the start on Monday night and Tuesday morning. Tomorrow is my final warmup ride, though I may get on the bike Saturday morning to see friends Jeff Bauer and Mary Crawley at the start of a group ride they are planning to join. Sunday we have inspection and Monday we send off the 80-hour and 90-hour groups. I’m taking the 84-hour start on Tuesday morning with those willing to throw away six hours up front to avoid riding all night on the first day.
We’re thinking of our friends in D.C. who could not join us this time, as well, and missing you all.
Thanks for reading,