I was looking at my Facebook page today and came across the following video showing the highlights of the second of this year's two Etape races...the long lumpy one from Issoire to Saint-Flour.
Apart from the dreadful conditions which meant that fewer than 2000 of the 4000 riders finished two other things struck me and then a depressing realisation:
(1) the man who won was riding the same bike as I bought last year, a Parlee Z5. See an earlier post to this blog about how crap I am at choosing a new bike. I asked Barry at Bespoke Cycling (the sole UK Parlee dealer) if he knew the winner. Apparently he is the brother of a new Parlee dealer in France.
(2) the first UK finisher in 7th place, at least I am guessing he was the first UK guy from non-English sounding names in front of him, was someone in my year at school. I remember him as being a focused even manic looking type but I never realised he was that good. And, he came 15th in the the Alpe d'Huez stage a week earlier.
I rode the Etape last year finishing somewhere mid-pack a country mile from the front end of the race and a similar distance from the broom wagon at the other end of the race. I felt pretty pleased with myself.
This year having seen my bike cross the line in first place, and a school friend finish in the top 10 the horrible realisation is that I really am not the next Contador and am just a journey man who needs to try a little harder next time!