lundi 21 mars 2016
I wanted to win....................
I had no idea when I opened my eyes this morning that I would be entering an international sporting event. Indeed I hadn`t even done any training.
About 11.45, having visited our accountant to sort out some particularly confusing French paperwork, we passed a small local restaurant and thought "Why not" - and so we did!
An hour later and having enjoyed a wonderful three course meal for less than £11.00 each we turned off the car park onto the road to head home. We had travelled no more than some 30 yards when a rather officious looking man wearing a yellow 'gilet' and carrying a clip board made it clear that we could not continue but had to turn around go in the opposite direction. It was clear we had been 'barriered' in!
Driving along by the side of the canal we soon fell in behind a large supermarket advertising van with an immense video board on the top listing lap numbers. Then a few lycra clad racing cyclists on very streamlined bikes zoomed past us and disappeared into the distance.
We continued on our way eventually falling in behind a small convey made up of cars and a few small trucks carrying spare bikes. We passed various camera men proudly pointing their very long extended lenses directly at us and and a few spectators, some enthusiastic enough to have brought their own seats with them - but no matter how we tried to leave the road we couldn`t do so as all the side roads were cordoned off., and we were simply waved on. I tidied my hair...paparazzi and all that you understand!
More cyclists began overtaking and then hoards of people sitting on the pavements on their folding chairs. It suddenly dawned on us that we were actually on the course of one of the legs of the Tour de Normandie cycle race taking place that afternoon. I was very tempted to wave but hid my face instead.
We actually drove quite close to our friends Viv and Mike`s house and were desperately hoping they had turned out to watch the spectacle as I wanted to give them the Queen`s wave and watch the shock on their faces!!!
We started to head back towards the town and came to a traffic island surrounded by gendarmes and more 'yellow' men. We assumed that we would be moved off the course but, again, we were simply waved on. Did they think we were an official vehicle and perhaps Mark was a timekeeper or medic?
WE had already passed the sign arrive (start/ finish) 3 kms - and then we passed the 2 km. sign. It then became very obvious from the growing number of people standing at the side of the road that we were almost at the start point - and were destined to do another lap! I was very tempted to do just that as, by this point, I was getting very competitive and wanted to win!
At the next side road Mark managed to make a quick swerve, mounted the pavement and managed to squeeze past the barriers before the 'yellow coats' could stop us.
Let it never be said that life in this quiet backwater called Normandy is ever without excitement!
A la prochaine mes belles