I posted here a while back before doing this ride, so for those interested, a (small) report.
Basically, 200+ very hilly kms in the Massif Central in France.
To cut a long story short, DNF. My first. Though out of 6500 registered, only 1900 did: 2000+ took a look at the weather predictions and had the good sense not to show up. Of the rest of us, over half dropped out.
I didn't drop out because it was difficult, or hard, or in a sense, beyond me. I stopped, like many/most, when I couldn't grip the levers enough to brake, I couldn't change gears, hold a bidon, get a bar out of my pocket etc. etc. We got caught out by extreme weather up on a plateau, that had us all drenched, frozen and in various states of hypothermia. At the first food stop (67 km), when I realised I couldn't go on (and shouldn't given that there was worse ahead), I was sent to a quickly set-up emergency centre, where ambulance workers sorted us out. I felt shocking, couldn't even hold my phone still long enough to text or call my riding buddy, but there were people there far worse than me and in a very distressed state. I certainly felt for the other 50+ riders, because we (they) were the ones that seemed the most affected.
Credit to ASO, the organisers, who managed to get on top of a potentially disastrous situation quickly.
For anyone interested in reading further, various reports, blogs, videos etc. amongst the following:
TV report (in French, but images tell the tale)
and a thread here, with reports from various participants, not to mention a couple of smug critics: starts half way down page (first part is re the previous EDT):