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Transcontinental pt.I – Geraardsbergen to CP1

George has a quick pre-race snooze.

“Hey George, you’re not carrying those jeans and trainers all the way around Europe are you?”

Waiting for the last supper with George and Jo (and Jesko, out of shot)

A minute’s silence, a minute’s raucous noise, and we’re off.

On our own in France within hours of starting whilst everyone else heads through Belgium towards Luxembourg or Germany.

A quick nap by a church near a town where a big rave was going on.

Another quick nap whilst we wait for the boulangerie to open. Route notes and Google maps indicate this may be the last chance for a while and we’ve ridden all night on water and a couple of energy bars.

France. Not sure where. Long not quite straight not quite flat roads.

Lunch number two.

Afternoon nap. I awake from this to a message from George to check my email. Fellow racer Frank Simons was killed in a hit and run incident in Belgium in the early hours of this morning.

The first of many cemetery taps. We’re in the middle of a heatwave and water is clearly going to be an issue.

Second dinner and breakfast after deciding to crash in a hotel for the night.

Between Metz and Saverne.

France. Not sure where. Long not quite straight not quite flat roads.

Experience tells me to carry spare food at all times on a Sunday in Europe.

Out of Strasbourg.

Somewhere in Germany.

Late afternoon nap.

Looking back down at the Rhine valley after getting caught in a thunder storm half way up a very big, very steep hill. The sign at the bottom said 18% average. All 8km of it.

Somewhere between Freudenstadt and CP1 early on Monday morning.

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