The fact that I am writing this over breakfast on day three tells you that day two went well... a little too well. We celebrated our successful ride by wandering to a beautiful square in Arras and swiftly got stuck into a couple of beers before heading back to the hotel for our evening meal and a bottle or two of vin rouge, shared between a group of fellow less-sensible riders (there are an alarming number of water drinkers!).
I soon got my sensible head back on and SJ and I back to our room. Soundly asleep I became aware of a knocking that soon became more and more persistent, I rose from my sumber to see the bed next to me empty, and discovered SJ in the corridor looking for the toilet!
So on to the day itself, we left Calais behind us and within 30km were travelling through the most stunning rolling countryside. Bright green and yellow fields as far as the eye could see and wind farms galore.
The road surfaces are fantasic for riding and on the flat sectionswe were easily cruising along at 25kms an hour. These flat sections didn't last long, and after we hit the first big climb they just kept on coming. Lunch was a welcome break at over half way, and once again the organisers did us proud with an incredible spread including the best cake.
The feeling of team spirit and comradeship is palpable. There are so many inspiring stories, people who have been training for only a few months and those who have trained all year, all because they want to raise money for a charity close to their hearts. Every face is becoming familiar with more nick names established, we have the Chuckle Brothers, the Stokey Lads, and Posh Wayne, to name just a few!
Onwards to Creil today, 143kms ahead of us and supposedly the toughest day of climbing. No point regretting the wine now, off we go!