Well, we went down to the Stadium where the riders were gathering to meet for the start of the event. Traffic was tightly controlled and we were directed into a queue which led us into the stadium. We were guided through the document inspection and a brief bike inspection to our start wave. There was an ominous sign for us though as we waited, it started to rain. Not heavy but enough to prompt us to put on the rain gear. We would be in the fourth wave of 500 riders to start the event. Once our wave was assembled at the start line we had speeches from local dignitaries until the cannon shot off and we departed.

The people lining the street to see us off were reminiscent of what you see at the Tour de France. People shouting Bon Voyage, and Bonne Route! It was a wonderful moment that, where at 10;30 at night there were so many thousands of well wishers waiting to see us depart. As we moved out of the towns and into the villages the crowds were just as enthusiastic though fewer in number. Once we moved into the countryside the magic continued as the route was illuminated by thousands of bicycle headlights that in some places you could see marking the route for miles ahead.

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