The Queen Stage: London to Monaco Day 8

Thanks to the instant magic of social media, you’ve all seen that we arrived in Monaco with hearts bursting with love and faces that hurt from laughing a couple of days ago. In fact, I’m basking in the warmth of my reunited little family in my comfy chair at home in North America right now. But since I don’t have much time before the next event ramps up (I’ll be trading in the bike for boats at the Annapolis Boat Show next week), and since I have a wee bit of jet lag, I’m compelled to re-live the rest of the ride in words, photos, and video simply because there’s so much more of the story to tell. And if you haven’t made a donation to the Blue Marine Foundation that this ride was held to help, please do. Future generations will thank you!

This is the view of Tom most of us had once the road went up.
This is the view of Thomas most of us had once the road went up.

Day 8 started in Gap, the famous tour town in the Alps where I sadly said goodbye to my friend and roommate Thomas Willan. I felt lucky to room with him for this London Monaco “season” because not only was he a strong cyclist and the undisputed the king of the mountains, he was a “funny git” who also gave me perhaps the best parting gift one man can give to another on a multi-day bike ride—his tub of googe cream—don’t ask! I almost wept!

And then we were rolling. The sun rose and warmed us up as it had every morning before. We ate a few more salted caramel granola bars and drank a bit more from our bottles because the longest (over 15 miles of steady incline!) and most stunningly beautiful climb (with the iconic Mont Ventoux off to the east) of the trip was on the menu.

And then it was time for a pee.

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I was too busy peeing to take a picture of everyone peeing but, just imagine the whole group of us peeing right here on the side of the road and contemplating the majestic mountains we were riding over (except for Becks, our own queen of the mountains) who was much more discrete.

And then I went to the front with my man Adam.

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I didn’t go to the front on purpouse. And since there was zero wind, and we were easy rolling in anticipation of the big climb rising over the horizon, there was nothing heroic in me being up there with our super strong, super classy ride guide. We were just a couple of guys ticking out a nice pace for our friends in the group and talking about life.

Anyone who has ever gone on a long offshore passage, or hike, or mountain climb, or road trip across the country in a car that’s about to break down, or sat on a ski lift during a particular epic powder day knows the kind of conversation I’m talking about. We connected. We shared. We talked about where we lived. And who we love. And why we felt like the luckiest guys in the world to be there, at the front, ticking out the pace for all of our new friends in anticipation of the big-daddy climb of the trip. And I knew it was special. I even told Adam—who is a 6’3″ powerhouse—how moved, and emotional and grateful I was to be there. Not typical badass guy talk I know but there it is. I made a conscious effort to remember that moment and that feeling because I think, these are the moments that make life worth living.

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And then it was time to climb. You’ll see that I don’t have any photos from the climb because I didn’t bring my broken phone. Just a few gels and a banzai attitude that has always helped me overcome a lack of talent in whatever endeavour I happen to be doing. But as you can see, the summit of the day (and of the whole trip) really eclipses any shots I could have taken and I was winching myself up that mountain at the break-neck speed of 12 Kilometers per hour!

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All the lunch stops were spectacular on this trip but, the spread at the top of Le Montagne De Lure was zee best!

Actually, check that. The mid-ride massage at the top of Le Montagne De Lure was even better.

img_7492You want to do a ride like this don’t you! You should! And you should contact the rock stars at www.tifosi-events.co.uk right now! They made this ride as special as it was.

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Not a bad last kilometer of the ride no? Can you see the amazing Turbo Barbie and the sock-er-iffic Henry Peacock in the middle of the frame?

Needless to say, the Haribo fueled decent was amaze-balls too.

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Well, that’s all for now. In fact me and my little one are off to our favorite breakfast place to get our favorite breakfast so Mommy can have a lie in.

And please stay tuned. This story hasn’t reached Monaco yet.

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