Mike Simpson

A Time for Heroes and the Return of the Rain

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CCC2013 Stage Six

Annecy to Montmeilian

203km with 4118m of climbing

Riding these roads is such a privilege, beauty is everywhere, we are lucky to be here and for most it really is a selfish indulgence. However for a few it has a different perspective. In 2011 I met Kelvin who despite proclaiming not to be a cyclist truly conquered the Pyrenees. He is back this year with mate Woody to raise money in memory of a friend to help the Wessex Cancer Trust open a Cancer Support Centre in Newport, Isle of Wight, (www.iow100.btck.co.uk). Kelvin is a lovely guy and clearly has a heart that always thinks of others rather than himself, something we can all learn from, and he's a fireman, always running towards danger to help others.

Also in 2011 I met Scott, who like Kelvin dug really deep to complete the Pyrenees challenge. Despite only being around him for those 10 days, I was so sad to hear that his wife died earlier this year. Scott has come to the Alps as a tribute to Margaret and has joined forces with Kelvin to help the cause on the Isle of Wight. Chatting with Scott this week about all things in life has been very uplifting and I hope he gets even a portion of the great vibes from us that we are getting from him.

The day starts with the threat of another down pour of rain, but thankfully we leave the lake dry and climb the Col de Semnoz straight from our hotel door. This climb will be the last climb in this years Tour de France, it's long but we pootle up relaxed and revitalised after the rest day. Phil treats us all to mushy banana in baguette at the feed stop but soon after the inevitable happened, heavy rain returns, and stays with us for the rest of the day. We get to ride the Col de Champlaurent which I really enjoyed, lovely roads. The descents get pretty hairy on the soaked roads and its just a quick splash and dash at the final feed to crack on to our hotel.

Our host at the hotel tonight moaned, mumbled and complained constantly but got the job done well. We all turned up like downed rats and she rinsed and dried all our kit within an hour, supplied us with cups of tea within 2 minutes despite moaning that she had too much to do, and dinner was great. I didn't see her smile much but I'll settle for her efficiency any day.

Click images to enlarge.