Tour de Fleece 2021

Tour de France 2021 route map

This year the Tour snuck up on me. I’ve been concentrating on other things and had prepared nothing by the time it was go day. I did manage to catch the coverage as it was going with a couple of hours notice. So this year, once again, I’m playing somewhat fast and loose with goals.

The pandemic may be appearing to let up in other parts of the world but as I write this today my city and large swathes of the population of my resident state are in lockdown so things aren’t at all back to whatever passed for normal before March 2020.

Teams are something I’m usually heavily involved with, due to immense lack of Tour planning I have defaulted into joining the Weaponized Mangoes again and not really anything else. I’m still sorting out where to put my social media attention on any given day and currently it’s primarily Discord and Twitter for race-related chats during the stages.

The plan has wound up being Spin what’s on the wheel and then random number generate what’s next from the top shelf of the stash cupboard.

Header image design is by Ellie who has a Redbubble store chockers with crafty themed fun.

Achievements – not really goals

  1. Moorit Corriedale – natural colour 2ply spun end to end.
  2. 50% merino 50% silk undyed fibre from QSWFA.

Race Stages – Daily Progress

STAGE 1: Jun 26 – 197km – Brest > Landerneu

golden brown ice-cream in a mug sitting to the left of a purple knit hat that's about half made.

Didn’t spin at all today. I was too focussed on finishing a thing I was knitting for somebody very dear to me who went through a time in the last week. It’s not my story to tell so that’s all I’ll say on that. The knit for them is out of one of the most expensive yarns I’ve ever purchased and is a personal favourite blend of mine. Tour snack is Golden Gaytime tub ice-cream. Nice hilly stage which is always a good way to start the tour. What wasn’t great was spectator lack of self awareness causing a huge crash in the peloton. I hope that person is found and held accountable for their actions. It’s devastating to see people who’ve trained so long and hard be out of the competition on the first day.

STAGE 2: Jun 27 – 183.5km – Perros-Guirec > Mûr-de-Bretagne Guerlédan

Tonight was more working on the gift hat and race watching in the living room. I pulled my wheel from where it was stored and gave it a once-over in readiness for the next few weeks after it’s patiently sat and not been used since October 2020. Another hilly stage

STAGE 3: Jun 28 – 182.9km – Lorient > Pontivy

black dog in grey pajamas laying on a blue bed with their head resting against a spinning wheel's left treadle. Dog is giving a mild side eye to the camera.

A tiny amount of spinning done today, absolutely not helped by Annie dog deciding that my wheel is a half decent pillow. I didn’t see much of this stage as Monday nights are SES training night.

This week I’d finished off a radio course and stayed back after to get a rundown of some new equipment that’s been fitted to the flood boat. All very cool. For a relatively flat course there was more accidents which is never a good thing in the first few stages especially.

STAGE 4: Jun 29 – 150.4km – Redon > Fougères

Today I spun the remaining 75gm of the moorit corriedale singles. Plan is to ply end to end either on Wednesday or Thursday. When I’m spinning singles wound into a cake for plying I like to give them some extra time to rest and de-energise a little. This stage started with a 1min stop rider protest regarding safety issues and the amount of crashes that have taken place already this tour.

STAGE 5: Jun 30 – 27.2km – Changé > Laval Espace Mayenne

Individual Time Trials are really not something that I find all that interesting so I might use it as a reason to call it a night early.

Pulled out the random number gen for the next fibre on the wheel and it gave me 10 which is an undyed lot of 152gm of 50/50 silk merino. This is going to be lovely and also super messy. Need to decide how I want to tackle it.

STAGE 6: Jul 1 – 160.6km – Tours > Châteauroux

Flat stage that I didn’t end up seeing much of due to feeling generally exhausted by stuff happening at the house today and dealing with a dog who wanted none of it. I spindled some Tundra but didn’t get anything remarkable done. I wanted to leave the Corriedale until Friday to ply.

plyed corriedale

STAGE 7: Jul 2 – 249.1km – Vierzon> Le Creusot

The moorit corriedale got caked and plyed tonight. Took around 2.5hrs to do and there was practically no tangles. The yarn came up a little thick and thin, likely due to me not remembering my initial intentions for the yarn and also not keeping a fine track of the thickness of the single when spinning it.

A huge long hilly stage, with some challenging looking climbs at the end. Which I didn’t end up seeing live because I was exhausted and went to bed early.

STAGE 8: Jul 3 – 150.8km – Oyonnax > Le Grand-Bornand

The first of this year’s mountain stages with a couple of category 1 climbs. Exciting stuff.

STAGE 9: Jul 4 – 144.9km – Cluses > Tignes

Another mountain stage and the first of the Tour’s HC climbs just over halfway. Stayed up to the very end to watch a fellow Aussie claim the stage win. Paid heavily for it on Monday though. Getting started on the new fibre choice for the wheel. A blend of 50% merino and 50% silk and it’s 100% lovely. It’s ambitious AF but I’m trying for a natural 3ply that’ll be probably a heavy laceweight. I’ll decide on whether to dye it or not later.

REST DAY 1 : Jul 5 – Tignes

Monday nights are great for rests. I knit but the evening was consumed with getting my CPR recertified for another year.

STAGE 10: Jul 6 – 190.7km – Albertville > Valence

Spun a little today but knit more while playing DnD with friends. I saw a little of the race but I was late joining and a flat stage with an early small climb just isn’t always the most interesting for me.

STAGE 11: Jul 7 – 198.9km – Sorgues > Malaucéne

Mountain stage with a loop at the end. I am a sucker for mountain stages and also for seeing Wout van Aert kick ass so it was no question for me staying up late. Even Annie dog stayed up with me but she was sleeping pretty soundly. It was a good night for spinning and staking out the couch. She’s not as interested in my favoured teams as I am. Team Jumbo and Team Bike Exchange for me; and all the Aussies across the board.

Tour snacks and Mithrandir

STAGE 12: Jul 8 – 159.4km –  Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux > Nîmes

Flat stage with a smol climb and a very early night for me because I was frankly exhausted from doing a lot of gardening. Something got me baking brownies a few nights earlier so I had some pretty good toursnacks still tonight while I worked a little more on Mithrandir.

STAGE 13: Jul 9 – 219.9km –  Nîmes > Carcassonne

Flat stage with some variety of elevations. Spinning on bobbin 2 and making gifs, it’s practically impossible to tell the bobbins apart because I haven’t marked them in any way and the yarn is all the same colour so there’s no variations to keep an eye out for. I think I’ll get some washi tape out and add to the bobbins so I can tell them apart.

STAGE 14: Jul 10 – 183.7km – Carcassonne > Quillan

Hilly stage with some decent climbs in the second half. Also the same night as the tennis final and all of Australian twitter was clenching hard with tension for our finalist Ash Barty. The crowd there definitely seemed against her but she pulled off the win and has way more class than I do because I’d definitely have wanted to give that crowd the finger for the way they conducted themselves throughout.

I made a massive mug cake and worked on 3 crafts through the stage. Spinning, blackwork embroidery and knitting on Shiri and Mithrandir.

STAGE 15: Jul 11 – 191.3km –  Céret > Andorre-la-Vieille

CouchPeloton had a soup challenge and I made meatballs with dumplings for dinner which wasn’t totally unlike a soup. Only a little spinning done today but it was nice to be on the deck for it when Annie was sitting quietly and not barking wildly.

REST DAY 2: Jul 12 – Andorre

Love those Monday rest days. This tour hasn’t been as much watched as last years because I just can’t stay awake until 1.30am every night for a week.

STAGE 16: Jul 13 – 169km – Pas de la Casa > Saint-Gaudens

Pretty and mildly dramatic hilly stage that I stayed up to watch the Cat 1 climb of. Working on the third bobbin still. There’s about 10gm on each now and the spinning is staying relatively consistent. Did quite a bit of stitching of Mithrandir and am getting close to halfway there.

STAGE 17: Jul 14 – 178.4km – Muret > Saint-Lary-Soulan Col de Portet

Mountain stage with a HC finish.

STAGE 18: Jul 15 – 129.7km – Pau > Luz Ardiden

It’s Col du Tourmalet night!

STAGE 19: Jul 16 – 207km – Mourenx > Libourne

Really flat stage.

STAGE 20: Jul 17 – 30.8km – Libourne > Saint-Emilion

Another individual time trial.

STAGE 21: Jul 18 – 108.4km – Chatou > Paris Champs-Élysées

The grand finale of the Tour.

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