Stage 1: London to Lille
The start of the tour was a chaotic shambles involving several climbs.
First, with a dedication to reminding us just why we won't miss London that would do anyone justice, whoever plans roadworks had decided that, between travelling to work yesterday and travelling to St Pancras International this morning by the exact same route, new roadworks would be put in place.
This would cause a serious diversion that would mean, when we got off our bus at what had seemed a logical stop, it was only to find that that was closed. Romping up the road, we realised how far the diversion went - and all of it up hill. With big bags. At the first possible opportunity, we hopped a cab.
Once at the station, having lost valuable time, we realised the joys early on the morning of the first day of the school holidays, with our check in coinciding with that of the Disney Express. I was not in the mood for excitable individuals of all ages running around in mouse ears.
Shoved to the front of one queue and then another, we finally made it aboard the Eurostar with just a few minutes to spare - and having run up the very steep travellator onto the platform, leaving me distinctly short of breath.