After a good night’s sleep and porridge breakfast I was dropped off at the hall for the 6:30am start. Said my goodbyes to Margie and Derek and set off as the sun was nearly coming up, on a chilly morning (about 10 degrees). Stage 3 is a 75k long stage so I was conscious not to go off too quickly – and my right hamstring isn’t 100% happy – so took it steady. The route wound round farms and countryside , mainly on quiet roads though as we approached Pontivy the last 10km were on a busier road with some really fast moving traffic. There was also 9km in the middle of the stage on the canal towpath, which was great to be on trail and the flat for a change! It was a really pretty stretch and made up for some of the horrid smell of chicken farms earlier in the day.
It was getting warm towards the end and I was really glad to finish just before 13:30 (in 6:22) and felt for those still out there (the last runner of the day came in just before cut off taking 11:25). Carmen gained another 20 mins on me and she’s clearly a stronger runner. I’m delighted to be in 8th position overall. There’s 2 start times tomorrow and JB has agreed the first 6 will go at 7:30am, which is a relief as both Carmen and I wanted the earlier 6:30am start. It looks like it might be another warm day tomorrow, and it’s a long stage. Brittany is certainly not flat!
So far not much has happened on the actual runs – I’ve seen a few locals, said ‘bonjour’ to a few passing cyclists but seeing other people has been few and far between.
The aid stations have been superb – lots of foods, sweet and savoury, and even some local things – like Breton butter biscuits. It’s great that there’s always the same people manning each aid station – though I feel for those covering the later ones everyday who probably get the grumpiest runners at their tiredest moments. So far I’ve not had a grumpy patch but my French gets even worse when I’m tired and flustered – often running into an aid station saying ‘Agua, se faz favor’ in Portuguese, strangely enough met with confused looks.