Cycling from Lloyd’s of London to the Rendez Vous Reinsurance Conference: Day 4 – not exactly as planned

    Today’s ride was almost the exact opposite of yesterday’s – save in one respect.

    Yesterday, we rode for 110 reasonably hilly miles. But the hills weren’t steep or long, and the overall profile for the day was down, not up.

    Today, we rode for 91 miles. But some of the hills were literally miles long, and the overall profile for the day was definitely up. So definitely up, in fact, that with (much) worse to come, I’ve decided to buy some smaller gears to help me when we reach the mountains.

    Fortune is shining on me today: (1) there’s a really good cycle shop near our hotel, which should be able to fit the new gears in the morning; (ii) the shop doesn’t open until 9am, so my start time for tomorrow is 9.30am, instead of 8am; and (iii) an elite level cyclist and time trial specialist from Barclays Corporate Bank has kindly offered to stay with me until the bike’s been fixed…before pacing me back onto the group. He’s easily one of the strongest riders I’ve ever met. My front wheel will be so close to his rear wheel that I’ll be protected from the wind, and aerodynamically “towed” until we catch up with the riders who left at 8am.  For a cyclist, this is exhilarating, especially when the rider in front is so strong. But it’s easy to lose concentration, touch wheels, and take a fall. 

    Yesterday and today were also different in one other key way. Steve and I were riding in a group at a reasonable pace. Like every other day, the banter was good, and the team work was brilliant. So the ride was going really well. But, at about the 100 mile point, Steve took a nasty fall in a crash at the front of the peloton.  Fortunately, the riders around him were able to avoid riding into him, and he fell without knocking anyone else off. He was very stoic about it all; although he must have been in tremendous pain. We were lucky that a rider from QBE Europe spoke fluent French, called the emergency services, and translated the ambulance crew’s questions and we were able to get Steve to hospital and we will learn soon if he is able to rejoin the ride.

    I’ve made a note to be especially careful tomorrow when I’m being “towed”.

    Today’s ride: 91.2 miles;
    Mileage so far: 391.02 miles;
    Today’s climbing: 1,405 meters;
    Climbing so far: 5,308 meters.

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