I hadn’t planned on doing a hard run today. After yesterday’s long run, however, I had pulled up well and wasn’t feeling any pain in my legs or feet. Hence, going out for something at a steady tempo ended up being an option, as long as I wasn’t trying to set any records.
Before leaving the house I had watched the end of the Paris-Nice with Cécile and was disappointed that Sky’s Geraint Thomas chased down what was a great series of attacks by Alberto Contador to win the race overall. While Sky is a great team and while Thomas is a deserving winner, Contador has style and panache and in his last season I was hoping he’d win his third Paris-Nice.
I recall all this just to explain that I was feeling pretty pumped up when I left the house and looking forward to some tempo work. Maybe Contador couldn’t hit his goal for the day but I thought I had a pretty good shot.
I decided to head down to the end of the Presque Isle and then back again. I knew this would be around 12km and I thought I could knock it over in less than an hour. This would be only a little faster than my planned pace for Saint-Fons but coming off a hard run yesterday, it would be enough of a challenge to hold the tempo.
I started by heading down to the Pont de Lattre and crossing over the bridge on the path, thus avoiding the drop down to the Opera House and the inevitable rhythm-breaking stops at the lights crossing over the road. The berges were crowded heading down towards Confluence as families and cyclists enjoyed the chilly but sunny Sunday afternoon. The crowds thinned out a little bit by the time I turned across the Pont Raymond Barre and looped around the Confluence Museum.
The path from the Museum back to the city centre was full of people, too, but I managed to keep a pretty good rhythm. I didn’t really need to stop for traffic until the 10km mark when I was briefly held up crossing a road, but then it was smooth sailing basically all the way home.
As I passed the Old City and made my way to the bridge to cross the Soane I heard the whine of a bagpiper. I assumed it was somewhere near the Scottish bar, The Wallace, just near where I would turn and, indeed, there was a sole piper dressed in traditional garb belting out some sort of tune. It made for something different in the tourist-heavy area and a nice change from the mustachioed gentleman belting out a Yann Tiersen song on a piano accordion.
A quick sprint across the Place de Terreaux, a turn up towards the Pentes, and a little loop at the end so as to be sure to bring up the 12km mark and I was home on time, and on target.