Day 12 - Rians to Draguignan

The boys learn a new phrase, and are inching closer and closer to their final stop!

As the morning heat rapidly built up in the hills around Provence, Dave and I were pleased that we'd banked a few extra miles coming into the home stretch. Today would have been an 80 miler - in 30+ degrees heat - but as it was, we left ourselves a much more civilised 42 mile click through the hills leading into our penultimate stop.

As the hotel owner in Rians waved us off with a cheery gesture that said 'it's pretty flat from here on in', we set about some nasty climbs, and glorious descents. I believe that the French have a phrase that goes something like 'Il fait chaud comme le bastard pal' - and today I know why. After I'd successfully chased a solo old boy racer for a couple of miles, then a long coffee stop in Salernes where we met a boy who was cycling to Vietnam (yeah, he was handsome and would probably start an orphanage after curing the village cholera epidemic), we pressed on.

We hit Draguignan at about 1-30pm - and I could tell Dave's blood sugar was getting low. His 'tell' is when he starts to hum Cole Porter tunes at very high speed while scowling viciously - so we dumped the bags at the hotel, and rode into town to find a cafe fast. We then lay in the park under a tree until it was time to go back to the hotel. It really is a cracking place up a steep hill overlooking the town, and the owner upgraded us to balcony rooms because we were 'happy velo!'.

Oh well - last day of happy velo tomorrow, and all being well we shall descend on Nice like the road warriors we truly are.

Paul Carter

Rians in the morning. No it's not the hunchback of Notre Dame, it's my hay fever eye drops!


Another hotel room shot - I deserve a Christmas card from

Come on.... admit it, it's lovely