Day 1: Riding with Shane Starling: Montepellier

Day 1:

Arrived in Montpellier just before 3pm. First time on a TVG and was impressed at how the train was going double the speed of the freeway cars. Stepped off the train expecting to see my cousin Shane; nuitrion journalist, runner, cyclist, writer, try hard French man. On the upper concourse he was no where to be seen. After five laps I thought, you cunt, you’re late, I don’t have your number and there’s no wifi at the station. Then wondered over to the balcony and realised there was another section to the station and after descending the stairs laid eyes on the man I would be forcing into a world of pain for the next week. 

First time in Montpellier too. Fancy buildings. Tight alleys. Trams. Partial stratocumulus blowing overhead. 
“That’s the Mistral. It’s like the Fremantle Doctor.”
“Ah Yes I remember you saying when you were in Perth.”
The Giro D’Italia was on. An important mountain stage. As I’d been following this tour intently I was keen to head back to Shane’s place, chuck the race on, get the bike ready and go for a belt around the countryside. We stop at an internet cafe to print out the hire car details. This takes 20 mins. Then we stop at a sandwich shop. This also take twenty minutes. There’s a woman in a frog suit in a small square having a fag on her break. We go upstairs. The tour has no coverage because the mountain is fogged out. We watch the final 200 metres as the racers emerge out of the fog. 
By now I have the hire bike pretty much ready. We gear up and descend the smooth marble spiral steps in our cleats. The town gives to countryside quickly. 

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