With summer in full swing here in NTX, I knew riding the Tour de Paris, it would require some speed in order to not suffer too much from the heat. High temperature yesterday in Paris, was 97*F, heat index was 105*F, and who knows how hot it was, with the heat reflected off the pavement. The last time I did a TdP in the heat, the medics 15mi from the finish, thought I was cooked, and tried to pull me from the course. I was actually not as bad off as they thought, and went on to finish the course. Last year, on the tandem, it was cloudy, cool and misty.
We got off to an early start, at 8:00am, and I was trying to pace myself, with a goal of an average speed of 15-16mph over the 68mi course. The outbound leg, though, was mostly a series of longish, easy climbs, made worse by the fairly steady quartering headwind of 15+mph. Those of us on the long route didn't catch a break until Pecan Gap, when we turned north, and slowly began to head downhill back to Paris.
As always, the folks who organize the TdP put on a fantastic ride. The route is well marked, the roads lightly trafficked, and plenty of well stocked SAG stops. They have great medical support, lots of ice, and drinks, plus tasty home made cookies, brownies and other munchies--not just the standard SAG fare of PB&Js, oranges and bananas. I think a lot of other ride organizers could learn a lot from the folks who put on the TdP, on how to run a bike ride! These folks have been doing this for 31 years, and they have it down to an art form.
I was smart this year, and was able to stay the night before, with friends who live in Paris. Thank you so much, Susan and Steve, for opening your home to me. It was so nice to NOT get up at 3:00am to drive all the way to the ride from home.
Here's my ride: