Logistical Nightmare

How I would love to win the Lottery, or the Euromillions, it would make life so much easier!

I’ve been trying to work out exactly where Melissa and I are going in France. This includes when I pick her up from Heathrow early(ish) on Sunday 15th. I still have to book the Eurotunnel, and have left it this late due to lack of funds and trying to work out the timing. Also from Heathrow, I have to navigate the M25 and M26, which hopefully won’t be overly bad on a Sunday morning! This means I have to give ourselves a bit of extra time to get there (in case of the flight being late, or some hold up on the motorway) and we also need to ‘check in.’
Then from Calais, it’s some long drive to Pau – and although using the motorways over there would be quicker, the tolls are extortionate! And some thing I can’t really afford! This means staying mainly on the Nationale and Departmental routes – and also means I’ll need to print the route out! Gah!
The ¬†http://www.autoroutes.fr/en/routes.htm¬†is the route planner I’m using, as both RAC and AA route planners for Europe are rubbish. Thank god the French version is pretty good! It says driving time of just over 14 hours, so with a break or two, is more likely to be 16!
Say we get to Calais for 11am. Add another 16 hours. That is about 6am we can get to Pau. We obviously will have to stop, but we also need to get to Pau early enough so that we can find the hotel, park up and eat/sleep etc. Oh bearing in mind, the Stage that day finishes in Pau, so I expect it to be heaving, even early on!

Melissa Рas soon as we check in, I will probably crash out for a few hours! Or overdose on caffeine!

So by Monday, we are there in Pau. Check In. sleep (for me). Get to the finish. Annoy people (possibly).

Tuesday is the last rest day at Le Tour. Great, have a lie in! Er we have to move the car to the hotel we are staying in on Tuesday night. Then I will possibly sleep again, and blog, and take far too many pictures, and email the parents!

Wednesday’s Stage starts in Pau. I am not missing this!

Wednesday night, Thursday night and Friday night have yet to be decided. But we have a tent!

Saturday and Sunday, we are booked into a hotel in Paris. We have a choice on Saturday, catch the train to watch them finish the Time Trial in Chartres, or go to the Team Sky Fan Party (TSFP), a 15 min walk from our hotel (er, that is a guess! It might not be that far!) The TSFP have a place to watch it all on a big screen and have a party afterwards! This, technically, will be the only night I can drink!

Sunday, we will be on the Champs Elysees, at the Team Sky Fan corner (although I like all the teams! I am not just a Sky fan!) and will be watching them finish.

Currently I have been invited to 3 parties on the Sunday night!

Monday we have to leave Calais fairly early as I expect the M26 and M25 to be a nightmare!

This has been a headache trying to organise this, but I’m so looking forward to it! It WILL be amazing!

Thanks to Andy for offering us a place to pitch our tent, we might see you on the Tourmalet  yet! Thanks to the kind invites to the parties (from various people) and the sheer amount of help I have received from Twitter and Wheelsuckers!

I still have to sort out various bits and bobs – where the hell do I get breathalyser kits from? And Iestyn, my lovely brother, can I borrow a laptop?!?!

Take care and keep smiling ūüėõ

Advertisements

We bought a tent!

After looking at a fair few tents online, I decided¬†http://www.gooutdoors.co.uk/¬†was the best place to go and have a look, seen as Basingstoke has one just up the road from me. It also has a tent showroom, which was brilliant when we wanted to compare how the tents looked, and the space we had in them. We were never going to but 2 one person tents – as it’s much easier to just have the one tent to put up. A 2 person tent was never going to be big enough – they look tiny to me! So we started looking at the 3 person tents. We only had about ¬£25 each, so we found 2 in our price range that looked ok. We¬†settled¬†on this one¬†http://www.gooutdoors.co.uk/hi-gear-nucleus-3-tent-p194450¬†as it looked bigger and felt more roomy than the one next to it (I cant remember what the one next to it was!). Unfortunatley they were out of stock. Damn. So I asked if we could have the one on show, Nope. But they took me over and compared what tents they had that were similar. Why did I want the Hi-Gear Nucleus 3? It was slightly more waterproof, and it seemed more spacious. After several minutes talk, we settled on the¬†http://www.gooutdoors.co.uk/hi-gear-proton-3-tent-p194454¬†which was sold to us at the same price as the one we had originally wanted. Brilliant!

So we have a tent. Now we’re going to have some fun¬†practising pitching it! Probably later today¬†– I’ll let you know how we get on!

When we got home we decided to start looking at where we want to go in France. I know stage starts and finishes are busy, but aiming in roughly that direction, should give us some idea when the detailed TdF route map comes out in June.

We travel to Belfort on Saturday 7th July to be ready for Sundays stage which starts there. Then when all the palava has dies down a bit, we aim to travel onto Besancon (or near there) where that is the finish town on Monday 9th July.

Ha i do wonder if we are being a bit foolhardy? As there is a rest day on the Tuesday, and I have decided to go somewhere up the Col du Grand Colombier – if we can get up there!! then travel somewhere near St Jean de Maurienne.

If that sounds complicated to you, it probably is! But I think we have got it! I’ve written directions down, and highlighted routes on the map – just in case we don’t get a Sat Nav!

I hope today we can work through the rest of the routes, sort of up to Pau (the last rest day), where we meet my TF who will probably be joining us all the way to Paris!

Time to have a coffee now

Ciao

Planning TdF…

So Sunday didn’t work out as planned, with @v_girlracer having done a 20 mile walk along the Ridgeway the day before; she had hurt her ankle. I decided to go it along and start marking out our route from Calais to Belfort. This has to be done the cheapest way possible i.e as few toll roads as possible.

Now in this day and age you’d think either the AA route map or the RAC route map (I use them in Britain all the time) would be fairly useful. Ah, well you were as wrong as me if you thought that!!!

Google eventually threw up the¬†http://www.autoroutes.fr/en/traffic-forecast.htm¬†a French route map. This is brilliant. Obviously put your ‘departure’ and ‘destination’ in. Then click on ‘modify the research’ then under options go for economical. This has put our toll at 2 Euros (just realised theeres no euro symbol on my keyboard!) and fuel at just over 68 Euros. ¬†On the original one it shows the toll as 41.6 Euros, although the fuel is slightly cheaper at 63.29 Euros.

So I’d found a route (alright it’s nearly 9 hours of driving (compared to 6.45 on the shorter more expensive route) but there is two of us!). Then I had to plot it onto the massive fold out road map I have, ok it took a while, but it’s done! Then I thought I’d better plot it onto the big detailed road book of France that we have. Now THAT was EXHAUSTING!!!

No we don’t have a Sat Nav, although i’m hoping someone might have one we can borrow!!

Hmmm, what next? Well until the detailed route comes out in June, we can’t really work out where we can watch it. Yes we are going to be at the start and finish of some stages, but I have a feeling Dutch corner might be calling! I’ve also been warned that the start and finish are madly hectic and not to bother with them. Think I’m autograph hunting? Puhlease! (Alright I have Alex Dowsetts autograph, that a friend of mine sent me, but really?!? Not my scene). I’ll have my camera, my best mate, a great sense of humour and….. am i missing something? Oh possibly the bikes and riders…. ūüėČ

We also have to think about camping, having not found anyone willing to lend us a campervan. And trying to stay somewhere near Pau on the rest day when hopefully my TF (twitter friend) is meeting us.

We have loads of other stuff to think about, but thats it for now!!

Ciao

@elzrocks

planning a TdF trip!

Hi people! I haven’t kept the blog updated recently as I couldn’t finish the #30daysofbiking last month, and being so knackered when I got home that it seemed like too much effort to write a blog!

In the meanwhile, it has been decided that me and my best friend (@v_girlracer) are going to the Tour de France (easier to refer to as TdF) from the 7th of July to the end.

Now this might interest you, or it might not. And I’ve already been told we are mad for doing it! Well no one ever described me as sane….

So, where to start?
Buy maps, one big fold out road map and a big spiral detailed map of France. Get highlighters. Green for the start and orange for the finish of each stage (from 7th July onwards!). The exact route hasn’t been confirmed yet, and we are still waiting for it to come through.

Ah forgot to say, we are doing this with very little money! We won’t be booking hotels every night, in fact probably just the last 2 nights!

Now we have highlighted stage starts and finishes – @v_girlracer is brilliant at finding them – and now we have to start our route planning. This means avoiding toll roads, as we simply don’t have the money to pay for them! So it looks like our first leg – Calais to Belfort might well take us through Brussels and Luxembourg! And¬†according¬†to the AA route planner, its quicker than the toll roads!

We wanted to take a campervan, so we could take our bikes, but it looks like it’s too expensive, so we will probably be leaving our bikes at home and travelling in my car. This means tents!

We’ve also looked at rules of the road in France, haven never driven abroad, and found out the stuff we have to take. Reflective jackety things (we have plenty – my Tour of Britain one might come in handy *joke*), a warning triangle (my landlady has one) etc etc.

So today, we are going to start to highlight the routes we are going to take, have a look at booking on the Eurostar, and finding a cheap twin room in Paris for the last 2 nights…. easier said than done!

I’ll probably be blogging about this from now until we get back in July! I’m madly excited to go and do this!

So I’m off out on my bike in a bit, after a coffee, then I’ll be waiting for @v_girlracer to appear. We’ll also have the #giro on, so if you follow me on twitter – @elzrocks – then I’ll be tweeting about that as well.

I’ve also been invited to guest blog on Inklings and Inklings (a wordpress blog) so look out for my tweets!

cheers

@elzrocks and @v_girlracer (best mates for 24 years!)

ciao