|2012 Tour de France|
|Joanie on local bike trail|
The decision to take the hilly route turned out to be a great decision because just as I was starting down a long hill, I was passed by some motorcycles labeled "Sécurité". As I approached the next intersection, I noticed that the motorcycles were blocking the traffic in the intersection for me, which seemed kind of nice. I remarked to myself that they really are nice to foreigners sometimes. Eventually, it began to dawn on me that they might not be blocking the intersections just for me.
Shortly thereafter the lead group of cyclists in their spandex outfits caught up to me on their fancy road bikes. With them breaking the wind for me, it was relatively easy for me to draft behind them down the hill at 50 kph. It was the first time I had really wanted a higher gear because I was having to pedal fast to stay up with them. The lead cyclists were young and they seemed to think that it was funny that a guy in street clothes pedaling a city bike with fenders and lights was keeping up with them. They chided the lead rider to go faster, but with them breaking the wind and a slight downhill grade, they were not able to shake me.
The group almost shook me on a couple of climbs but I was relatively fresh and determined to stay with the group. I managed to stay with the group all the way back to Angers. I have to admit that it was kind of nice to be able to speed through towns with people blocking the intersections for you and a pack of riders breaking through the headwind. The net result was that on the ride home I covered 40 kilometers in about an hour (averaging about 25 mph), which may not sound very fast, but it is definitely the fastest ride I've had in France. It may not have been the Tour de France, but it gave me a little taste of what it might be like to ride in the peloton.
Today my stiff body is reminding me why I don't normally ride that fast.