We started the day earlier with German efficiency, a 6am alarm, which would have annoyed most people on their birthday. But not Arch! Fred was feeling ultra organised the night before, so we had most things packed and ready to go as the sun started to creep over the horizon. We were gone before most of the other campers had even stirred in their sleeping bags.
The morning was very cold indeed, with a bitter wind, which made the initial cycling rather unpleasant. Frozen feet and ice-cold hands were all we felt as we sent off. The roads were relatively quiet, but extremely undulating. This does make cycling rather annoying, as it is hard to get a rhythm going. It felt like doing interval training (doing short bursts of intense exercise with rests in-between) as we would power up a short but sharp hill, and then roll down the other side. Thankfully it is a little bit more interesting than long, straight, flat roads. Only in little bit more though. At about 9.30pm we crossed our last major mountain range on the flanks of the Rhine valley. My comparison to our Alp adventures, the climb to an altitude of 500m seemed, dare I say it, easy.
Shortly after the climb, Fred swapped with Jack, and the Rome 2 Home peloton carried on going up and down yet more small French hills. We cruised through some beautiful French scenery and historic, shutter filled, little towns. At some points we thought we thought we had somehow ended up in England, as the scenery looked so familiar.
A lunch break, with great views over an agricultural French landscape, was made all the better by Archie’s Birthday cake. It blew the day’s food budget a 2.5 Euros, but was defiantly worth it! It was then a supposedly short final push into Metz, but with Jack and Fred navigating that was never to be the case. Somehow a 10 mile detour was taken, but all was well as they arrived into camp with plenty of time to spare.
Tomorrow, Luxembourg beckons…. When we now look at a map home does not seem so far away…..