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June 02, 2017
A "recce" is a filmmaking term derived from the word reconnaissance or reconnoitre. "Doing a recce" as it is known is usually the fun part. It's hard work, but there's no pressure. Except this is a bike race, covering 3519 km. in 21 days that moves so fast if you blink you will miss it. So, for the recce to be useful we will need to cover a substantial number of those 3519 kilometres.
Apart from the photographic considerations, we will need to find the quickest way from point A to point B and back again on every stage we want to cover. We will need to find the times of the road closures and points of access, and work out all the practicalities of capturing this fast-moving feast. It will all be different on the day with the crowds, the camper vans, and the whole paraphernalia of the Tour de France to contend with. But you have to start somewhere, and the recce is where you start.
A recce is partly a dry run, partly a practice session, partly to find what I don't want, as much as what I do. It helps narrow down the infinite possibilities into a manageable framework. It's where imagination meets reality. The reality is always going to win, but imagination is a little like hope, in that it springs eternal. Imagination is very good at adapting to new realities with ever more possibilities to explore. The recce is the time to work through those possibilities and find the probabilities that just might work on the day.
But before all that can happen we need to get to the starting line. The first draft of plan A went something like, jump on Easy Jet with everything I could carry and hire a car at the other end. That morphed into jump on the Eurostar with everything I could carry and hire a car at the other end. Which morphed into buying a car and pile it up with everything it could carry, because at the end of the day there's quite a lot of stuff that needs carrying.
The to-do list just goes on, and on. The details, the endless details, to cover every eventuality, both imagined and real are forever niggling at the edge of my psychic. But the ferry to France is now booked, so at some point, it has to stop. Slowly the anxiety, the stress, the worries, start to fade. Replaced with butterflies, with anticipation, with excitement. Yes, we really are going to do this, so we had better make it worth doing.
The adventure begins. Now, I have more to lose by not going, so with the inevitability of water pouring over a waterfall, we plunge into the abyss.
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