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Thursday, January 21, 2010

PBP 2007 10

After Loudiac, I finally manage to throw up. While it scared me due to dehydration concerns, I felt so much better. The rain had stopped temporarily and I had a wonderful hour or two. I knew I was feeling better when I started to sing and climb. It was one of those times when those around you seem to be feeling weaker and for some strange reason you are feeling stronger and stronger. I stop to take pictures of some of the flowers. When I stop to brush my teeth alongside the road as they feel like they have developed fur, I see a beautiful creek off to the side. At a small village, I find a stream with the most beautiful swans, and always there are the French yelling, "Allez! Bravo!" The climb into Brest is fun and when I get to the top, there are crowds of people who seem to go wild when I reach the top and am still climbing standing out of the saddle. I am sure it is my imagination, but it seems real and so I pretend. Then comes the most wonderful descent that seems to last forever. Near the bottom I pass a large group and cry, "Rally Brest! Rally Brest!" Being male of course this meant they had to give chase and we hammered for quite some time before I saw Johnny riding off to the side and dropped to chat for a moment. I then started stopped at each child I saw and leaving some gift with them: a sticker or a toy parachute or a tootsie roll. We come to the bridge at Brest and the wind almost blows me over. One of my great regrets of the ride is that I didn't stop to take a photo as I thought the route would be out and back and I would catch the view on the return. I later take pictures at the summit of the hill I was on such a high over earlier, but it was nearing dark and they did not turn out so well.
At the control, I find my stomach is upset again. I have started eating at the bars and places between controls, but I decide to eat at the control here. I am waiting in line wondering if I can ever stomach another jambon avec fromage sandwich again when some man dressed in a suit asks if I am aware there is a restaurant with no waiting a bit up the hill. He walks me up there and speaks perfect English. He asks if he can take my picture and e-mail it to me. I tell him yes. He writes my e-mail address down and I note that he has the addresses of many others. I have never gotten my picture so I wonder if I have been scammed, but if so, it is too late. I am missing broccoli and spinach and roughage in my diet. While at Brest, Dave comes in after me. I tell him where I will be in case he wants to ride with me. He finds me in the restaurant and we decide to continue our journey together for awhile.
We ride into the dark and see a man weaving on his bicycle. He asks for help. Dave stops and then I stop. We find that he has not eaten or drank anything since 5:00 as he got sick to his stomach. Jamie from England stops as well, and then a nurse. We make him eat and drink and spend quite some time helping him. Jamie says to me that it is time to try some tough love as we will not make our time if we continue to stay, so we take off. Dave catches us and we make the control. I was thinking this was where we find a McDonald's, but I must be wrong, because wherever it is we end up, we see Steve Rice getting ready to head out. It must have been Loudiac as Joe wasn't with him and must have been at the hotel. Dave and I get into a small tiff when he wants to tell me when to get up rather than when to leave, and I hope I don't hurt his feelings as I suggest we just take off alone. I want a bit more sleep than he is allowing and decide to give myself the luxury of three hours. I go to bed and look over. There is Johnny three mats down. What a hoot. Later I will tease him about sleeping with him;-) This from the woman who, despite temptation, has not slept with anyone but her husband in 28 years. The next thing I know I feel tiny hands on my shoulders, and a child is whispering, "Madame, madame, it is time to get up." Even the small children know quite a bit of English and I feel stupid. One of the things Jamie and I talked about in the dark of the night is that he was amazed when Dave told him he doesn't know French. Jamie teaches French to adults. It makes me realize how little he understands America. I don't speak French either. If I were going to learn another language that I would use, Spanish would make more sense. But I just listen. Jamie is big. He has one daughter. He has never done LEL and has no desire to do so.
But enough for now. It is time to leave for the hospital again.

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