My bike, Aida, followed us on vacation for the next few weeks, and we rode over the cols of the Basque country as well as through the vineyards of Bordeaux. This alone was worth all the trouble in bringing her along. A few thousand more words could be written on what all this meant to me. And maybe one day I will write them.
For now, suffice it to say that riding the Étape was perhaps an impossible dream, a comical failure, an exciting adventure, and above all a great goal that sustained me through quite a difficult time of my life.
I don't regret a single second of it. And I don't think I ever will.