A Bad Case of the Vuelta Blues

“Hi everyone. My name is Howard and I’m a Grand Tour addict. It’s been a week since my last fix.”

I’m in France, on holiday, sans WiFi and television. There is a Grand Tour going on and I haven’t got a clue what is happening. It’s the first time I’ve been out of touch with such an event since 2010. It feels very wrong. It’s getting me down. I’m tetchier than usual – even when you factor in spending so much time with a six and seven year old who know there is ice cream around every corner. There’s no doubt about it: I’ve got a bad case of the Vuelta Blues.

Our last two family holidays have also coincided with the Vuelta but they have been in Cornwall and, thanks to the proximity of our rented apartment to the beach, I’ve been able to sneak inside at regular intervals to check on progress. Plus there is 3G on the beach so race reports have never been out of reach. Here, in the Vendee, with roaming charges likely to exceed the cost of the fortnight’s accommodation, that is not an option. In fact I might as well be halfway up the river of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness such is the dearth of connectivity. I find myself staring intently at ‘proper’ cyclists as they pass by on our way to the beach – looking for a sense of Grand Tour knowledge etched into their faces. ‘Are you experienced?’ I silently implore of them. ‘Do you know where to score?’

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