Not wishing to commit any crimes against rest and relaxation, Anthony Tan did his damndest to do the bare minimum on the first rest day of the Tour de France.
7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:37 PM

For me, working is a lot like making love: once you start, it is almost impossible to stop.

And so, on 11 July, the Tour's first rest day in Le Lioran Cantal, not far from the finish of Sunday's drama-filled stage to Saint-Flour, I decided not to start till mid-afternoon – which probably explains why I'm writing this entry past the stroke of midnight…

After all, our hotel was equipped such that even the thought of working, let alone actually participating in the act itself, seemed not just anachronistic, but sinful. And while I may not be of the religious persuasion, I try to avoid committing biblical crimes where possible.

L'hôtel Logis Le Rocher Blanc, on the border of the Languedoc-Roussillon and Auvergne regions, boasted a beautifully tranquil garden with a pair of hammocks that begged to be laid upon, swimming pool, full-sized tennis court, and a Michelin-guide restaurant serving typical regional specialities.

For reasons of rest on this blissfully sunny Monday, I skipped breakfast but by day's end, still managed to stuff six courses down my throat. And I almost forgot: somewhere in between, Australian photographer Mark Gunter and I visited the local boulangerie two doors down and before we knew it, acquired some enticingly delicious 'g̢teau For̻t-Noire' (Black Forest cake). Just in case we got hungry Рwhich we never did.

I tried to compensate the incessant wallowing of our muddied snouts by ordering a fruit salad for my lunchtime dessert. But even that came with a delightfully sugary biscuit and refreshing lemon sorbet on top. Oh well, waste not want not, I said before scoffing it, down the hatch you go…

Our hotel, which happened to be the sister hotel of Garmin-Cervélo's rest day abode a kilometre up the road, also had a wonderful bar and pool table, both of which I used. Just to make sure they functioned properly, of course.

After lunch, I then retreated back to my room. I basically punched out three kinds of stories: those that reviewed the opening week-and-a-half; those that previewed the next six days to come, before the second rest day in the Drôme; and those that analysed why this race has been so damn fateful, for all bar a quartet of GC contenders.

It was then time for a belated siesta. (Don't you hate it when work gets in the way of an afternoon nap?)
And two hours or so later, upon waking up, it seemed not just logical but obligatory that I take a dip in the pool, soothing my powerful muscles that fetching masseuse relaxed with such dexterity five days earlier in Cap Fréhel.

Before I knew it, it was time for dinner with Gunter and my travelling companion from Cycling Weekly, Gregor Brown. The latter had spent the day trudging around to a few of the seven press conferences on offer and working at the press room in Lioran Cantal, which happened to be held on an ice-rink, and where he froze his butt off while I sunned mine.

That'll learn him, I thought to myself, before displaying the requisite empathy by laughing straight in his face.

Just like the riders, the prize for best Tour-related copy may not be won in the first two weeks but could very well be lost. And just like Cadel, I'm aiming for the top step of the Paris podium.

Follow Anthony on Twitter: @anthony_tan