The Chase

Stage 6 - Abbeville to Le Havre

Tonight I succumbed to having McDonalds for dinner because I had no other option. I completely lost the plot driving to Lisieux after the stage finished in Le Havre this evening. I took a few wrong turns because my brain was thinking about something else. 

Everything leading up to the first rest day is slow and then the Tour is over in a blink of an eye. Exhaustion compounded and you have truly lost track of time. For me now, I don't finish till mid-night then being up at 6.30am to start planning for the day depending how early the stage starts. Close to midnight my eyes start closing but I need to keep pushing along to wrap things up. 

 Today was a long stage but disappointing that it was a little challenging to try to stop twice but how the course was routed made it difficult to stop more than once. Even though I did extensive planning this morning, it all went to waste because I forgot to till up my car with diesel the night before.  I didn't realise this till I got to the start of the stage and that's when panic set in.

Whilst driving along the course, I kept getting flashbacks from Criterium Dauphine in 2011 when I was truly running on fumes and it was the middle of the night. That's another story for another day but I was in the hurt locker. I managed to make it to the first climb of the day and from there it was back to the finish line. There was a gas station close the first categorised climb of the day but it seemed tool full. 

I decided to keep driving along the course and something would pop up. The reserve tank started getting chewed and still no gas station. I did the impossible and looked up the nearest gas station and it was another 8km away. This was the longest 8km of my life this year. 

Eventually, I navigated to a very small town off the D927 highway. I reached the gas station and attempted to fill and it wont work. I was panicking at this point because time was not on my side. Eventually a a young kid arrives on his motorbike and he kindly helped me how to use the pump. It is very convoluted if you haven't used one at all and glad to be on my feet and driving. I only had three litres of diesel remaining in the tank.

*Disclaimer, I haven't checked for grammar or spelling mistakes.



by Veeral Patel