Day 40, Hohenems (let’s say Bregenz), 3.486 km
Two days, two stages, two bikes, two cyclists, two pairs of sunglasses, two… (I can still go on like this for a long time but we’re not going to make an article of it… let’s get back to business!!).
For the first time since leaving Hamburg, I am not alone on the road. Z (we will call him that to protect his anonymity and avoid continuous harassment from the press), who traveled from the south of France, accompanied me for the last two days on the road that led us from Innsbruck to Lake Constance.
To summarize, it was:
- 2 days of good weather
- 245 kilometers
- A pass at 1,802 meters
- 3 (almost 4) countries
- 1.5 kilos of nuts
- 2 chocolate bars
- A jar of pork fat (Tyrolean custom apparently)
- An unforeseen gourmet restaurant (for a plate of spätzle and pasta with pesto)
- 2 glasses of white wine
- A bottle of red wine
And above all, beyond the facts and figures, an unforgettable adventure for Jay and Bob who had the chance to be around human beings (who are not me) up close for more than 20 minutes… Without transition, we will give the word to Z who will reflect from the inside about this adventure…
Me: Z Hello!
Me: Tell us a little about your feelings after these two days of cycling. How do you feel?
Z: First of all, I am physically very fit, if I hadn’t had to go back to work I surely could have continued for weeks. Then, if I dare a somewhat ambitious comparison, I imagine myself feeling a bit like Chris Froome in 2012. I had the legs, I could have attacked during these two stages, in particular in the pass of Arlberg, but I didn’t want to put Pierre in difficulty. I had to play the role of a model teammate, shield him from the wind, carry his water bottles, but I feel like I could have aimed higher. I could tell going down the Rhine that he had nothing more in his legs … Fortunately I was able to get the points for the mountain classification and I’ll bring back the red dots jersey back home… And moreover, I can confirm that he is not using any mechanical aid on his bike. I must admit I had my doubts, but no, he’s clean…
Me: Apart from the frustration inherent to the format of the competition, what will be your best memory after these two days?
Z: The 4-countries stage. In the end 3 but almost 4. It was a great moment for the sport, for Europe, and for geography. We left the second day from Austria. Climbed through a pass then descended into the valley, along the Ill. Then we turned west towards Lichtenstein. Second country (beautiful by the way, it was really worth the visit). We reach the Rhine, we return to Austria and there, great moment, we cross the Rhine to enter Switzerland. Third country. Unfortunately, we come across a convoy of old cyclists not equipped with electric bikes (cruising speed of a three-toed sloth) and we are blocked at a crossroads by a recreation center which decided to make 77 times 7 children cross in front of us. Even the convoy of mountain bikers who then escorted us for the rest of the journey was not enough to make up for lost time and we did not manage to reach Germany … It’s kind of like taking an extra-time goal in the Finals of the Euro… a little frustrating… But at the end we were able to enjoy Bregenz a little bit, wich was nice given the two days we just had…
Me: Tell us about the road a little…
Z: Superb, a scorched earth, in the wind, stone moors, around lakes … black clouds, which come from the north, which color the earth, lakes, rivers, …
Me: Is this the landscape of Connemara?? (these are the lyrics of a song that is played at the end of every party in France, Michel Sardou, Les Lacs du Connemara)
Z: Okay, okay, you can just put some pictures… you know I have a bad memory…
Me: Last question: I’m told that you will be the first in a long line of co-pilots for Jay and Bob. Any advice for the next ones?
Z: Don’t let Pierre do the navigation, it’s the guarantee of going straight into the wall. When we left Innsbruck, he wanted us to take the highway. THE HIGHWAY!! I was there to ride a bike… Then he had fun giving me directions during the stage and change his mind at the last moment. An originally planned 95 km stage ends at 110 because of all the detours it takes us through. And the worst part is when at the end of the day he tells me that there are 4 kilometers left while the next sign (which is located 2 kilometers further) indicates 6.8 kilometers… Fortunately the path was well signposted, I was able to take care of navigation myself most of the time…
Me: Thank you Z for this testimony, and we hope to see you on the road soon!!
Finally, I was supposed to give you the results of the drawing competition, but given the number of participants, the jury will need a few more days to deliberate… Today, heading to Switzerland for the rest of the adventures of Jay and Bob! See you soon!