Why We're Doing This, and How You Can Help

What would inspire two men, ages 65 and 59, to take on 11 racetracks in 21 stages and 25 days over 1,000 kilometers...on their bicycles?

The way we see it, Thoroughbred race horses have contributed to the very meaning of life, so they too deserve to retire with dignity and not be sent to the slaughterhouse just because they now do six furlongs in 1:16 instead of 1:12.

As American expatriates living in Paris, we have decided to ride our own Tour de France--riding from racetrack to racetrack across France--during the 'real' Tour de France to raise money for Thoroughbred retirement. But we need your help.

We invite you to follow our journey, and if you'd like to sponsor us, just click on www.firstgiving.com/trf or on the Sponsor Us link below.

The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation currently cares for over 1200 unwanted horses. When you sponsor us, we are helping them in their mission to save ALL unwanted racehorses.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Stages 12, 13 and 14

This is Martha, Mark's wife, with an abreviated report. Mark will fill in later when they find a computer. Mark and Alan are in the middle of nowhere.
Friday, stage 12, the bicycle as useful transportation, 10 Kms in errands per trip, especially a visit to the Institut Géographique National for advice on maps and routes.
Stage 13, 76 Kms, no tracks today especially noteworthy, another voie verte (green way), 46.5 Kms from Laval to Renazé, packed dirt path, sometimes a little loose requiring more energy but beautifully covered with tall shade trees on each side. The voie verte all over France are converted from old railroad tracks, with original station houses along the way. Great stop off at a one of a kind museum, the work of Robert Tatin, a type of French Gaudi.
The goal was to get to Pouancé with it's medieval castle, in stricking distance of the country track Senonnes-Pouancé. We made it! At this point up to 596 Kms.
Stage 14, Sunday 18th July, Senonnes-Pouancé, a real rural track, with corn fields behind the last turn and a long downhill stretch drive offering a striking view of the race.
After the races, all stores were closed and from our gite (rural hostel) we had to make another round trip back to Pouancé to get food and to make it more complicated through high hills along the way. And to make it even more complicated, we lost track of each other and did extra cycling looking for each other. Alan thought I was in trouble. I thought he was in trouble, neo-Buster Keaton adventure.Topping it off, we had the Monet experience of passing the Sennone Pouancé race track a second time at sunset.
And finally, the Sennone Pouancé experience: picture a packed track, as many women as men, as many young people as oldtimers, and seemingly everyone from the region present. It could have been Indiana or West Virginia.
Total kilometers for the day, 44: total 640 Kms which makes 400 miles. The kilometers are geting tougher and tougher for Mark but for Alan it seems like the first day.Stay tuned for Chateaubriant, a great country track.

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