Went for a ride with Colin – didn’t do too bad on the long climb out of Monpaple. A few km later I stopped to take a photo and lost sight of Colin – I rode to where the road split and called out, but couldn’t see him. I debated for a bit then chose the road on the right that goes back towards Mansle.
I realized fairly quickly that he wouldn’t have gone down the road I’d picked because it turned to gravel after a couple hundred metres – not too bad for my bike, and I’d been over it a couple of times before, but not good for the skinny tires on Colin’s bike. I quickly turned around and climbed back up to the left-hand fork which I followed until I saw Colin up ahead. He had heard me when I’d called out but it had sounded to him like my voice was coming from another direction so he just stopped to wait for me.
Another good cafe-creme at the bar, then back to the house to get ready to head up to the final stage of the Tour de Poitou-Charentes. It was a longer drive going all the way to and then just past Poitier to the suburb of Buxerolles, which has a big climb that the race will do three circuits of.
As we drove along the route to choose our spot we were already encountering traffic controls so were forced to park on a side road. We found out why – there was a women’s race going through prior to the men arriving so they closed the roads earlier than usual. We loaded out the chairs and walked a short distance back to the race road and settled in to wait.
A really pretty grey cat snuck past the back of us by going on the other side of the stone wall – it watched the action for a bit from the top of the wall before jumping down into the next yard.
The cavalcade came through as usual and we didn’t do too bad – I got a nice red hat and we got a couple of packets of biscuits/cookies for Mo. I love the cow!! She looks a little startled and is slightly cross-eyed but I think she’s adorable.
It turned out that watching the traffic control efforts was almost as entertaining as the race itself – they kept letting cars thru from a side road to a diversion on the right where the race goes to the left up a hill. They weren’t supposed to let anyone go if there were riders or team cars coming from the bend below us, but we began to wonder where they’d found the control folks – at one point a young lady in a white car was basically driving along with some racers with everyone yelling at her to get the hell off the road.
The first time the race passed there was a breakaway of about 6 around a minute ahead of the peloton, and one rider by himself a minute or two later had obviously had a bit of a tumble – he was wrapped in dressings on his right elbow and all down his right leg.
Just before the second circuit the cavalcade came around again as I was taking MoMo for a walk – I scored another red cap and several more packets of biscuits. This time around the breakaway was one guy in front with 5 more close behind and the peloton still around a minute back. By the last circuit there were 3 riders each by themselves followed very closely by the main group – I don’t think they were going to make it without getting swallowed up.
We waited for the final rider to pass then headed back south through the city – Poitier was heavily bombed during WWII especially in June 1944 and was liberated on Sept 5, 1944.
Driving home along the highway Colin said to look at the speed camera we were coming up to and see if it had been vandalized – ever since they lowered the speed limit several weeks ago folks have been spray-painting over the cameras and sure enough the next one we saw was covered over in paint.