Saturday, July 10, 2010

Who ever said "its not about the bike"

The last two days have been a little quiet. We've been watching the tour like normal people would do and behaviing more like tourists not cycling fans.

After Jac took a climb back upto the Dom Peringnon Abbey, we finally got organised to leave the epernay camping ground. Only to stop off less than a km down the road at the Supermarket.

As Jac went exploring in the supermarket to find terrines and other interesting french food. Mark took guard of the van in the car park. Well sort of guard. We'd had trouble in Epernay getting the cap off the water tank and still hadn't got it off. Mark gathered the little extra self confidence he needed and scouted around the car park for a similar model camping van. He approached a couple s and in his best English with a french accent - Pardon me - do you speak English. This couple looked at him in horror - yes we speak English - we're from Wollongong.So Mark had saved the day - again.

We were heading to the Cote d'Or - the heart of Burgundy - red wines and as far as we could down south in the few hours remaining. Our lunch stop involved a french inland beach. On the shores of a huge lake, Jac found Bronzed french life guards to spice up the view as we lunched on terrine de champagne; perrier and goats cheese.

Jumping back on the motorway was less stressful and fastest way to get down south to the Alpes. We arrived to Beaune to a climate of hot thick air. A queue from the camping ground onto the streets. Alors! the poor ladies were so busy and the office designed for winter not a hot summer. This ground, while not quite picturesque, was very well equipped- internet, good showers, restuarant, bar, bread etc.

We searched out the washing machine - our clothes were calling our names seeking a good wash. So where are these instructions? How much money to you put in, which coin? they don't fit! No instructions. Attempt 1 gave us back our coins. We quickly gave up and went to the bar to savour the flavours of burgundy and down load tour updates. Our savouring of the flavours turned sour quickly with the "Brit in the restuarant with his shirt off and his tits hanging out" .A second win for Cav and a quick hello to some fellow cyclists who have a track pump. Jac lined up for Attempt 2 - The office lady. How many euros does it cost to use the washing machine? 4 Euros Madame. These damn Euros wont fit in the machine.

While waiting for our third attempt, we went exploring exploring Beaune. Lovely place with an old garrison wall around it. Jac thaut the french not only loved their dogs, they also are neat and tidy, except for the Beauneite (again shirt off, tits hanging out) who didn't clean up after his dog. We returned for our third and final attempt - after three failed attempts were were relegating ourselves to hand washing. Jac psyched herself up, consulted the pocket language guide. Excuse me Madame, my pieces of money don't fit in the washing machine... Do you have a token? No!! yes.... success on the third and final attempt - a gold medal to Australia!

Jac awoke early eager for a ride around the Cote D'or and after a few ascents of 12%, headed back to town for breakfast and found a wonderful surprise awaiting -no, it wasn't breakfast nor was it Mark naked on the bed, it was Saturday Market day!! Fresh local produce, terrines, cheeses! Jac had a plan - let's go to the Market instead of the supermarket. Jac had a great time discussing and tasting cheese in French at the fromagerie. The market was a buzz - Great food - bread, cheese, fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, terrines. But those pan pipe players - how did they get here so quick from the Queen Vic Markets??

So we arrive in le bourg d'ossains. The heart of the cycling mecca that is the french Alpes. It's like arriving to Bright in the middle of summer. Aside from our two delays around Grenoble - speed restrictions due to the pollution and heavy traffic - our timing was perfect. The camping ground caters for cyclists - there is a HUGE TV and we sat down to watch the last 20 km - Chavenal attacked to regain the yellow jersey - Cadel moved into 2nd on the GC, while Peru who was leading, retained the polka dot jersey. it was a day for quickstep.Who ever said it's not about the bike!

Jac and Mark

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