Margaret and Dick   

     

    
Pyrenees 2004 - Cast of characters

We were five cyclists and three soigneurs, who handled feeding, massages, logistics, and vehicular support as needed.

The cyclists:

Margaret (left) did this ride as a benefit for the Lance Armstrong Foundation, with a fundraising target of $20,000. 
Jean-Claude (third from right) is a lifelong cyclist who dreamed of doing this ride for many years.  He designed this route with a slight detour from the traditional Hendaye-Cerbere route, dropping the killer col de Pailheres that we all know and love, adding instead a few climbs that were new for the North Americans.  There were few climbs on this trip that JC had not already climbed.

Neil (second from right) cycles with the Fort Worth cycling club when he's not in Limoux.  He's stronger than the rest of us, but we don't hold it against him since he waited for us at each col for a group photograph.

Doug and Daphne (third and fourth from left) are Canadians who live in Saudi Arabia.  Initially they planned to ride on alternate days, since recent terrorist activity near their home had restricted their training terrain to their small compound.  But they're both strong cyclists, and they after a crash training course in France, they were ready to roll.  

The soigneurs:

Lorna (far right) is a hostess extraordinaire and was mother hen to the group.  She previously ran her own fundraising ride in Texas, the Tour of Italy, but following this multi-day trek was a new adventure to her.  She and Neil are neighbors in Limoux.

Sonia (not pictured here) has spent most of her vacations driving a support vehicle for Jean-Claude's cycling adventures.  She tells stories of driving around France with toddlers, then youngsters, then teenagers, all shouting encouragement to JC on his various quests.

Dick (second from left) reprised his role as soigneur extraordinaire.  On the Atlanta-Austin trip he developed a sixth sense to know exactly when to arrive to replenish food, drink, and spirits.  He's also very gifted at cooking up salty meals-on-the-run for those moments when Margaret can't handle one more sugary bite.  

 

Weather can make or break a day in the Pyrenees.  From heat wave to sleet, anything is possible.  The weather was better than we could have hoped -- 80s and sunny almost every day.
 

(Pyrenees day one)