We did our morning read of the blog.
It is great to see that a lot of people are getting the emails or reading the blog and we are getting lots of comments and emails which is great. We have a lot of photos and video to load to the blog, however wifi at the caravan parks is average not to mention we just haven't had time to do it all.
We did get some feedback that the blog is very Sydney centric (I think that came from someone in Melbourne). We will try to balance it out.
We rolled out at 10am, a late start, however it was only 70k to the finish of todays stage at the ski resort of Ax 3 Domaines, which is above the town of Ax le Thermes, a beautiful alpine town nestled in a valley in the heart of the Eastern Pyrenees on the road to Andorra.
The ride out to Ax le Thermes was a gentle uphill all the way. We had a nice little 2k 7% climb straight out of the blocks. "Good morning legs" was the disgruntled comment from someone as we hit the hill. The road became more of a gradual climb and with a bit of a tailwind so we started rolling turns at a gentle pace. Jay (from Melbourne) was doing his fair share of pulls at the front as was Damo (also from Melbourne). It wasn't long till we stopped for a coffee at Foix at a little cafe that is just like Odo's (cafe in Melbourne). Caffeined up we hit the road again. It was a beautiful day, high 20's in temp and no real wind. The blueness of the sky was a sharp contrast to the granite cliffs and green mountains surrounding us. We had a little bit extra to look as Danny got a puncture 10k down the road puncture fixed we moved along the road at a pretty brisk pace. Our little peleton split in 2 again this morning with Joe in one group and everyone else in the other!! He had his Garmin, so what could go wrong????
We passed and picked up cyclists along the highway. There were a couple of Belgian cyclists who told me they lived less than a kilkometre from Robbie McEwan who hooked up with us. We stopped at ax le Thermes as we had over 4 hours till the race came through and everyone split up to get some lunch. Jordan, Damo (from Melbourne) Jay (from Melbourne) and me had a nice lunch at a little outdoor bistro. At 2pm we decided to get onto the final climb a 7 k climb to the finish at the snow resort at Ax 3 Domaines. However we and a lot of others when missed the time to close the course was at 2pm. Me Jay, Damo and Jordon caught the chairlift after a bit of sweet talking. An ingenious alternative to the police blocking the road. Danny, Mitch and Jarroyd walked through private houses and peoples backyard to get onto the course away from the coppers. There was lots of banter from everyone as to who was most correct. However my reading is that if contador left the course and went through someones house he would be disqualfied. No. Issues with our group.....Mitch, Jarrod and Danny disqualified for going off the course.
We watched the race at the 1k to go banner with Schleck and Contador fighting it out. After all the riders had come through we descended the mountain with the team cars and got in plenty of fans photo's.
We hit the road home with me, Danny, Rad, mitch, me Jordan and Buzz. Speeds down were up to 60k along the flats. We hooked into the rides and it was pretty special, even getting comments from the Katshuta riders who passed us in a team car. We passed Joe who had left earlier than us and we all regrouped and keep the pace on. We had a big dinner in Foix, before coming back our campsite to cheers from the locals who stay here.
All in all over 158k for us, a great day!