Mike Simpson

Midnight Notes from Corsica

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The last thing I do at the end of a Cent Cols day is to write some brief notes about the day’s events. It is usually well after 11pm and with another early start looming, I am barely awake. A tough day in the saddle, followed by washing kit, eating, attending the next day briefing and prepping for the following stage is always a full on day. I write these notes into my diary when back home and sometimes turn them into a blog or two. This time I’ve just posted them here as I wrote them, unedited and in bullet point form.

Stage 1 Welcome to the Island

Bid the traffic farewell out of Bastia. Lurking near the back, faffing, taking photos. Rode 55-105k harder. Prato climb to lunch steep in places. Roommate making me laugh too much. Bumpy descent. Animals everywhere. Left knee not happy climbing stairs in evening. Great to see everyone again. We miss Claire.

Stage 2 All I Need is Food, Food is all I Need

Not eating enough. Need more. Where’s my milk?
Rubbish dinner last night + awful breakfast + 39km climb into headwind = struggling. It’s windy up here. Plodded my way to lunch. Fish + Beetroot = power. Shit Johnny can cook. Flying in afternoon up the Tartavello and Vizzavona. Corsica is very quirky.

Stage 3 The Climb the Tour Forgot

Didn't sleep much. Roomie's 2am bathroom incident, not to be disclosed. Easy start, faffing taking photos. Started effort of the Col de Sorba too early, 4km before the start. Sorba was amazing. Ridiculously large loaf of bread for lunch. Long rough descent, no bother? Roommate is a legend. Bed after midnight again, too busy making notes!

Stage 4 Pig, Goat, Pig, Goat Repeat

At last a great breakfast. Col de Bacinu (big kiss) very up and down, constantly losing the height gained. Never seen so many pigs. Piglets having fun. Big effort on the l'Ospedale. 3k longer than expected. Pretty screwed. Ate loads at last feed. Cooked by the end. Goats in the road again. Corsica is cool. Kit washing procedure perfected, another bathroom wrecked.

Stage 5 From Paradise to 80's Butlins

Very steep section immediately. Good legs,15 mins with Andre last night sorted me. Blasted the Col de Bavella, nice climb to attack. Lovely twisting route to lunch. Extremely rough descent in afternoon. Rest day hotel abysmal, where's that Dolomites rest day spa when you need it! We have ants, big ants. Plenty of food, shame about the rooms.

Stage 6 Anything Goes on Corsica

Coast road to start. Is Amar mad? Yep Amar is mad. Long descent (on my own, slightly worried I'd missed the turn). Eyeballs out up the Ese. It's epic and highest road on Corsica. Discovering the locals, do they like the French? Do they like the Italians? Who owns the kalashnikov? An island of contradictions but wonderful for it. Rough road. Really rough road. New roommate tonight.

Stage 7 Back Markers Get the Storm

Staying at hotel 5k away from Butlins! Ride in to breakfast at 6am. Relaxed start then blasted the Tartavello, but not catching anyone? Convinced myself I was too slow and went ballistic in last few kms. Then found out they had stopped at a cafe before the climb :) oops. Good job I like rough roads. Dawdling in afternoon views so good. But paid the price, lead riders missed the rain storm. Porto is lovely. Food rage in evening - pizza after dinner.

Stage 8 Hot Rain

37k up straight from hotel. Siena Bob leading the charge. Took over halfway up. Pushing hard, it's today's big effort. Then back up the Sevi, hard work. Combie is flying. Back down and lunch by the beach. Long stint til last feed. Lovely out and back to final feed by another beach. Two beach stops in one day, is this really a CCC? Tough climbs soon follows, yes it is! Blasted climb back. Ow! Stung by something in the side of head. Amazing riding through les Calanche de Porto. Started raining really hard on descent but warm rain. Into Porto with Lucas, odd sensation heavy hot rain, like riding in a shower. Another rage - pizza before dinner. Sad to leave Porto.

Stage 9 Mosquito Bitch

Something not right from the off. Fine at breakfast but not able to stay with anyone. No power in body at all. Feeling like a zombie, but in a bad way! Insect bite must have drained me of all (super)power. Mechanic Andy found me doing 4mph on the flat slumped over the bars. Wasted. Struggled through, long day. Finally back to normal in last 10km. Love all animals except mosquitos. A rider crashes, early flight home for one. Anne passes out at dinner…twice. Another stale chestnut cake for tea.

Stage 10 Attack, Attack, Attack

On it from the start, flying along. Feeling very fresh. Not holding back today. Got to lunch at 11am! Fun day. Another one done. Time for a G&T. Love Corsica. Until next time.



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