Our resident athlete Professor Trevor McDougall surprised few when he announced that he was participating in the Tour de France this month.
Trevor sent several dispatches from the Tour, where he cycled Stage 13 - a 101 km race through the Pyrenees - on Bastille Day.
Among its challenges, Stage 13’s trail comprises three mountain passes, before halting in the medieval southern commune of Foix.
Trevor buddied up with his son-in-law Tim for the perilous journey, setting out just after dawn on his bright red bicycle.
Things became problematic after the first hour - and 25 km - of riding, when a group of French paramilitary police, or gendarmes, inconveniently held the eager touring duo and several counterparts back for a whole two hours.
Suddenly cleared to proceed by the overzealous gendarmes, they anxiously ascended the first hill.
Not so fast - the pesky gendarmes stopped them dead in their tracks until a fleet of “official” Tour members raged through on their bikes at 3:45pm.
Departing again as the skies were darkening proved disappointing.
Trevor and Tim descended then climbed the next hill, the Col d’Agnes, before sloping down to the quaint village of Massat.
Realising it was late, they stopped for a beer at Massat’s local, retiring their bikes for the day.
In all, the two-man team clocked 62.5 km out of the entire 101 km track.
If the gendarmes had not held them up “unnecessarily” for three and a half hours, Trevor believes they “would have made a better fist of it”.
Regardless, a great day was had by all, including their support crew – Trevor’s wife Brita and daughter Amy.
Trevor’s next memo indicated that the group was now holed up in the city of Bordeaux. The corresponding photograph sent by Trevor hinted at the kind of activities being indulged in in this famed wine-growing region!
They also squeezed in a three-hour bike ride around Bordeaux itself.
Congratulations Trevor for another unique achievement to add to your ever-growing collection!