Eight to ten hours of cycling is a lot of thinking time. Too much. After 3 months I noticed the most common thought was a ridiculous breakdown of the day's ride into smaller targets, 'If I cycle at over 20kms/hr for the next hour then I'll be half way there before midday'. Occasionally there was elation, 'this ride is the best thing I've ever done!', most often that followed a really hard, unpleasant ride. I knew it was a hard day if my mind broke it into short sections, 'just two more kilometers at this speed', 'just five minutes more'. It's amazing how pushing yourself through those 2kms can add up - looking back at it is quite surreal. _____________________________________________________________________________________ After Nimes, I trained it to Grenoble for a 3 week roadtrip with Susan and Tom. They say every good road trip has a good inside joke and by the end we had plenty. Tom and I did some of Europe's most famous climbs together - rides that I will never forget. _______________________________________________________________________ I left Susan and Tom in Barcelona and caught a train back to Nimes. A week or so later I was in Geneva ready for a rest day. It was a good chance to find a bike shop to get them to look at a couple of nagging things. So I thought, but it ended up being a week long series of problems - a disaster really. Accomodation isn't cheap in Geneva and I actually would have saved both time and money by buying a new bike instead of fixing the old one. As frustrating as that was, getting back on my bike made everything better. I headed to the hills and back into France. _________________________________________________________________________________ Leaving the Alps I was aware I'd probably never again be so cycling-fit on a good sized mountain. So I made the most of the last climb up a 700m climb that suited me well. I passed quite a few other cyclists and got some gratifying comments when they saw my luggage. _______________________________________________________________________________________ Another week through France and a week through Luxembourg and Belgium wizzed past, cycling 800kms a week. I met some friends in Holland, joining them for their University orientation week parties and met all the people going through their house. _______________________________________________________________________________________ With only 1,200kms to go I was sad to think how soon it would be over - I planned to do a 1,000km week. However my luck, with not getting sick for the whole trip, ran out and I spent that week in bed in a very small town on the border of Holland and Germany.