Comments on Italian Tunnels:
- We love Italian tunnels - they mean no climbing on the bike
- We hate Italian tunnels - they are too long, dark and dangerous without lights
- We dislike Italian tunnels when they are shut and we have to climb around them …
Nothing to write home about from an uneventful but truly enjoyable morning riding along the coast in the Meditteranian sunshine. Following 7 days of rain, the newly appointed Head of Weather (Simon) had done his job and arranged for the blue skies and sunshine. We stopped at a beachside café in Alassio and enjoyed the mountainous scenery behind us in full yellow bloom over a coffee and a croissant.
We were looking forward to catching up with Colin for lunch but managed to lose him and following 5 or 6 calls to him by our Head of Comms, we were starting to get worried. So worried were we that we stopped and had lunch without him in a fabulous Italian restaurant.
The afternoon became a race to San Remo to get there by 3pm and to find a café with a TV to watch the England v Wales game. Head of Weather arranged for the rain to arrive as we headed under cover to watch the game and fully deserved his pastiche. He received many plaudits and confirmation that his probationary period was at last over.
England's victory gave (some of) us a click of the heels and an extra turn of the wheel as we rolled out the day towards the French border. One more blocked tunnel and a climb later and we were across the border and into France and the border town of Menton.
We searched all media devices in a vain attempt to find a flat route to the mountain top village of Eze. Giles' device seemed to find one for us which we naiively and dutifully followed through the pedestrian walkway and then directly onto a steep climb .. Not quite what the doctor ordered.
As we climbed … and climbed … and climbed … and climbed … and climbed up above Monaco into light cloud, beyond the views and into the rain, our Head of Weather was given a disciplinary verbal warning. His job is on the line.
Before long - actually it did take quite a long time - the terrain was rising and morale was falling faster than the rain. Time was against us yet again, the light was fading, it was 8.30pm and we were still 4 miles from the hotel. The fog became a "pea souper" and visibility was down to 15 yards (or being European about it, until Brexit, 13. 326m) and we were struggling to see the inappropriately named sign to the village to Beausoleil. The irony was not lost on any of us.
We had a huddle (to keep warm) to decide what we ought to do next. Firstly, the newly appointed Head of Weather was summarily dismissed from post due to gross incompetence. Secondly, we decided "we can't go on" due to the inclement weather as to do so would be too dangerous. Head of Comms had a chat with Colin and asked him to drive back down the road one more time to pick us up and we plan to retrace our steps in the morning.
Giles took his life in his own hands and decided to cycle the last 4 miles so has a lie in in the morning while the rest of us head down the road to complete the task at hand.
Dinner was spectacular and our first fine dining of the trip. Here's hoping that Head of Weather redeems himself for the final day in St Tropez and on the beach.