Whew! Glad that's over! Sorry about the lack of updates but most hotels in these parts care little for that whole wifi thing. Anyways, by some Godly miracle I some how managed to get my gimp ass to the finish line for all six stages. I know it doesn’t sound like much but I'm actually pretty damn proud of myself given the state I started in. The best part is that I seemed to get better day by day. Actually, no, that's wrong. I think as the days ticked by the other riders slowly dipped down to the speed of my pathetic crawl.
Oh sh*t! I almost forgot, I managed to sneak into the break on the 5th stage! It was one of the strangest breaks I have even been apart of. We all raced like crazy men for the first 20km and the big split happened on the decent. 20-30riders. Crash.... 12 riders. Race, race, race. First big hill 1 rider get dropped (I'm felling surprisingly invincible at this point). Decent.... Crash. 11 riders. Crash.... 10 riders. Somewhere in there I go from feeling like I'm cornering on rails to cornering on greased ice. 2 wheel slide here, skimming along the guardrail there (I knew I wore leg warmers for a reason!). Now I know I've made a lot of huff and puff about how crazy and dangerous this or that race was but this one takes the cake! I was scared just riding in a straight line! Anyways, after a few more descents and a lot more wild, chamois soiling, incidents the break was whittled down to the 7 best/stupidest, riders/bike handlers. However, we were doomed from the start seeing as there was a pretty knarly finishing climb at the end. We made it to the hill, tried our best to pretend we were still racing for the win, and were promptly caught in the last 5km. 130km in the rain off the front risking life and limb only to get caught at the very end. That's life I guess. But just like life, it was fun.
One last thing. By far my favorite part of the entire race occurred about 10km into stage 4. The race started w/ a long high speed decent (yes, I am now sure the promoters were trying to kill us...). Fearing for my life when in the bunch, I did everything in my power to make it up in to the top few riders. On my way to the front, I completely misjudged a corner and came w/ in inches of mowing down 2 old men who were standing on the side of the course. When I looked back, half expecting one of them to be laying on the ground dead, I saw two of the world's biggest smiles w/ one of the old men shaking a limp hand. In France this limp hand shake roughly translates to, "holly sh*t!" I don't know why but it was rad.