I was reading David’s latest installment to his tour diary on biycling.com, The Millar Diaries, Stage 9: Lacking Inspiration, when the pieces finally fitted together and I figured out who the girl who I’d been trying to help with her rubbing rear derailleur on the Col de Ment� was.
I was pootling my way up it at my own pace when Jonathan came past with a group of Brits, a couple of whom I recognised as people I’d seen with James Pope, David’s manager and friend, at the registration on Sunday. One of them was having problems with their rear mech rubbing against the spokes.
As I ride SRAM he shouted back to me to see if I knew anything about adjusting the rear mech to stop it doing so. My pain-addled brain just about worked out which screw did which without falling off, although it took me a couple of goes. Riding back up to a group like I’m Alberto Contador probably meant it took a bit longer to figure out due to lack of oxygen.
My best suggestion was that it was something the Mavic boys at the top could sort out in a hurry seeing as none of us fancied stopping. I offered up the best french I could think of to explain it. Unfortunately trying to remember mechanics while climbing is not a practical challenge. So I suggested that I’d help when we got to the top of the hill.
Can anyone guess what happens next? Yup, I started going backwards: off the front, through the middle, off the back, out the door. So that put paid to my attempts to help. Or rather what happened was she outclimbed the two lumpy blokes on expensive bikes.
My hazy memory says I saw her again on the descent and checked if she’d got it fixed, which she hadn’t. Then I saw her and Yanto Barker (I worked this out from the DFL team kit and the fact they finished just behind me) on the final descent and congratulated both of them.
So David, she did you proud, just as you do British cycling proud every day out there on the Tour. I hope you bag a stage because you deserve it.