I waved Gerry off from the hotel, Le Colquin, in La Haye-du-Puit on his way to Lessay for the start of his 80km “Etape du Grand Depart. My first “service” request came by phone, “I’ve forgotten my raincoat and it’s very black down here!” A quick search of the room found the coat and I was ready at the roadside for a quick handover.
Spectators were starting to gather, riders from the earlier start at Mont-St.Michel came through and then Gerry’s group arrived – he was easily spotted seeming to be the only one with ‘luggage’, albeit only a handlebar bag! The service bike quickly became a wardrobe as he tucked away the coat in his bag and performed a striptease, losing tights and a long-sleeved top – the day was starting to warm-up!
Now I was ready for my “sprint” across to the other side of the peninsular, only 23k, but not something I had really done on my own before. The Voie-Vert (the Ev4) links La Haye
with Carentan at this point and is virtually straight. It was a good run apart from dodging around a few heavily-laden branches which had snapped on to the track.
A part of the track I had not ridden before came about 2km from Carentan and proved to be rather nasty rough gravel. Gerry had given me puncture repair lessons and a kit – thankfully all was well and I didn’t have to try to remember them. I found my way into Carentan, emerging from the underpass under the live railway line beside the station, and going straight into the Grand Depart Village.
It had taken about an hour and a half of cycling, so I found a place near the Finish line to watch for Gerry’s expected arrival in an hour’s time.
My photography was a bit rubbish but I managed a back view of him going under the banner, then rushed to meet him after he had collected his finisher’s medal and T-shirt.
Time to relax – we found a seat and consumed flap,jack for awhile before setting off for the Voie Verte back to La Haye.
Fortunately the rain had held off but a head wind had got up. Perhaps I had been lucky with a tailwind earlier because I did find it harder cycling back. Gerry took the bags about halfway “home” and we still made good time.
We had both enjoyed our new experiences which we celebrated with a glass or two and a meal in the restaurant Pom’Cannelle.