Stage 5 of this year’s TDF was a tough ride for the racers.  In addition to the usual dangers of rain on painted road and oil slicks the route selection added wet cobbles and muddy puddles on the sides of the road.

As you may have heard during tour coverage, riding the incredibly slick wet cobbles can be “like a cow on ice.” Having never been a cow I cannot confirm that this is factual, however, my imagination certainly agreed with the sentiment.

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Courtesy: cyclingtips.com.au & Cor Vos
We experienced wet cobblestones for ourselves once in L’Aquila Italy. We’d ridden up toward Gran Sasso and descended back into the valley in a drizzle, only to dry out and be drenched as the clouds opened up a few minutes before arriving at our destination. We turned onto our marble-cobbled street with a block or so of uphill to our hotel. The cobbles glistened in patches of brilliant white to gentle rose in the low light breaking through thick clouds. Reflective surfaces smoothed by years of car tires and foot traffic sloughed a thin coating of water and rejected any traction from vehicles, our bicycle tires … and also from our cleated shoes.  We waddled painfully slowly toward the door beckoning with light, warmth and a respite from the torrent. And we stayed upright.

The secret we found was there is no secret. Just do your best. If you’re able to ride and feel safe, go for it. If you need to climb off and 4-point in stocking feet, do it! At least you won’t be smacked down onto one of the hardest surfaces you’ll encounter as a cyclist.

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A beautiful rose & white marble fountain in L’Aquila
Tail winds and thanks for reading!  
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