Calais to Ventoux: Day 2

21 Jun 2014

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Phil and the team stop for a break on the road to Saint Quentin.

After an overnight stop in Saint Quentin, today will be the longest day in the saddle for our group of riders. With 211 kilometres (131 miles) to cover, the team were planning on an early start from their hotel base this morning, in the hope of tackling the distance at a manageable pace.

Heading due South for much of the day, the riders will first aim to hit the town of Soissons, around 60km away from their overnight base. After that, they will start to head South-East, passing around 100km to the East of Paris. A final stint will see them arrive at their overnight stop for day 2: the town of Troyes, on the river Seine.

Yesterday’s riding got the team off to a good start, with the riders able to get peddling only an hour or so after leaving the UK. Before they’d even made it to continental shores though, there was some worry about making the Eurostar on time with the nominated driver ignoring a couple of very prominent signs (we’re assured this wasn’t Phil!).

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Safely underway, the first day proved to be a little more challenging than the group had thought, with 4,000ft of climbing completed before lunchtime. Frequent stops for water, energy bars and snacks helped them along and all of the riders have commented on the immaculate black roads: not a single pothole in sight, which has obviously made the going slightly easier.

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Day 2 route – click to enlarge

On their way to Saint Quentin the team stopped off in Licques and had a more significant stop outside Houdin, where the support vehicle travelling with them had organised for ham and cheese rolls and fresh French tomatoes, which were much appreciated!

From Bapume the team rode straight on to Saint Quentin, although with 10km to go all started to report that fatigue was setting in. 8km out Richard Neve had the first technical problem of the ride, with a rear puncture, quickly repaired with a CO2 canister. There were two small tumbles from members of the team quite close to the hotel (with one of them hitting a bollard) but thankfully no serious damage or injuries were reported.

A hard day but it sounds like the team were still eager to carry on with the ride today, and with that sort of distance to cover, they’ll need to be!

The Calais to Ventoux riders, including Jepson Holt chairman Philip Jepson, are covering 600 miles and a 6,273 ft mountain climb to raise money for The Walton Centre, the only specialist neuroscience trust in the country. If you feel able to donate, you can support them on Just Giving here. Missed their journey so far? Catch up on Day 1 here.