Day three – a much better start as we had a quieter, cooler hotel room. A sensible start time, too, so we could enjoy a breakfast at our leisure. Of course it was a continental breakfast, but there was chocolate involved, so that’s okay.
While we were milling around waiting for the day’s set-off, Laurence (from Jumperman films) was wandering menacingly with his camera trying to get us all to say a few words about why we were doing the ride, how we were finding it. He was with us the whole time filming for a video to promote next year’s ride, and wanted some soundbites. Well, he caught up with me and I splurged a little waffle, but as I don’t really have any particular connection to the charity I didn’t have a lot to say, so I expect I’ll end up on the cutting room floor (or whatever the digital equivalent is), but I’m looking forward to seeing the finished result.
But I digress… Day three’s route I would summarise as “pretty but hilly”. Indeed, at one point, Hugh asked Andy in exasperation, “Where do we go next? Don’t tell me; straight up the nearest fucking big hill.” Andy’s almost inevitable reply: “It’s up the nearest fucking big hill.” But as I say despite the hills it was pretty indeed. At one point we were cycling through fields of poppies which were beautiful and peaceful. Not nearly so peaceful a hundred years ago, I guess: we were in the Somme region.
It was with delight that someone called out “two hundred miles since Marble Arch!” What an achievement. Especially as were were riding in consistently hot weather. 30°C in the shade at times. Up to 34°C and I think beyond out in the sunshine. No wonder we were getting through so much water – which was still being constantly topped up by our brilliant support crew.
Lunch today was on a grassy roadside verge adjoining a field of bullocks, one of which tried to steal the cigarettes out of Sam’s saddle bag. No loo this time, so it wasn’t only the blokes who had to make do with bushes for a change. I can only assume that I didn’t really eat enough this time, as by mid afternoon I was flagging somewhat for the first time. I sat at the back of the group for a while, just concentrating on keeping on going, and before too long were were reaching our destination: Beauvais. It was a beautiful city to ride through, full of ancient and grand architecture, but I was keen to get to the hotel for a shower and food. The meal not so good as the previous night, but I didn’t mind. It was energy. The room, like the first night, was hot and noisy. But this time I slept.