Arch to Arc 2011: Day Two – Calais to Abbeville

I’m sitting in the lobby of the Ibis Hotel in Abbeville. Bits of me ache. Other bits of me are sore. Still other bits both ache *and* are sore.

81 miles today, straight after yesterday’s ride. Not sure this is quite what my body is designed for. Either that, or confirmation that I didn’t train enough.

The day started well enough, but the hotel breakfast was pretty poor, and mid morning it became clear that I’d not had enough to eat. (Two dinners the night before didn’t count.) I was flagging severely and half way up one hill I stepped off to the side for a breather. If at all possible I don’t like to walk up hills, but I’m happy to stop and catch my breath before continuing. This time the thought of continuing was a bit daunting.

We have a few expert riders in the group, and I was very glad of Mike who stopped with me, gave me a couple of energy gels and lots of encouragement, and helped me back on my way. We rode at a slow walking pace up the rest of the hill. The group had got a long way ahead, and Andy the group leader came back to see what was up. By then Mike and I had just about got to the top of the hill, and he and Andy sheltered me from the wind to get me back up to speed. The energy gels were just about kicking in, and before I knew it the three of us were belting along at 18mph to catch up with the group. When we stopped for lunch I made sure I filled up with lots of carbohydrates. Tomorrow I’ll have a big breakfast.

Apart from that, it’s been a great day. Some really beautiful scenery and the most picturesque villages you can imagine. Lots of hills, but again I made it up them all.

As a group of 26 were mostly aiming to ride together now rather than splitting up into abilities, and today we found our rhythm. Usual cruising speed of about 13 or 14mph. Slowing up the hills of course, and occasionally, where the route allows, letting the speed demons take off ahead to have some fun; there are some very strong cyclists here.

And now up to bed. To sleep. And to ride again on my sore parts tomorrow.

Next stop Beauvais!

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