Prologue – Portsmouth

It is Tuesday before my Friday departure and all seems well with the world and then the phone rings.   “Hello Mr Carey, this is your van hire company, I am sorry but the van you had booked has broken down so we are unable to fulfil your reservation.”   Immediate panic sets in because this is the transport that I had hired to collect my fellow US cyclist from London Heathrow on Thursday.   It is not any old van either, as it has the capability to transport both people and bikes so getting another one at such short notice is out of the question.   After a brief discussion they offered me a 9 seater minibus but I wasn’t sure that would be suitable so they agreed to go and ‘see what they could do’.   Two hours later I contact them again only to be told that another van had now become available so the problem had been resolved.   Panic over, but not something I needed at this point in time.

As if the above wasn’t enough, later in the day I receive an email informing me that the local gendarmes had taken over one of our booked hotels in order to police a caravan festival.   All of our rooms had been cancelled but they did supply a list of alternative accommodation that may be available for us to book.   MaryClare (US rider) was immediately on the case and in a little while we all had rooms secured in the same town as we originally booked.   Fortunately there wasn’t a third panic today and I ended it finalising my packing and just generally trying to chill out a little..!