Sunday, 3 June 2012

Day 7 - Bouche du Rhone

Finished! 92 miles to the med, via Chateauneuf du Papes, Avignon and Arles. Had lots of time to relax in roadside stops in the last 25 miles so family could get from the Airport to the finish before me. Rode past white horses, bulls and flamingos in the camargue definitely a unique landscape to finish with.

After hugs and photos, I went for a dip in the sea. I think this will take a while to sink in.

Now time to catch up on all the sleep, beer and wine I have missed.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Day 6 - More Cotes-du-Rhone

Arived at the ardeche gorge, looks like a canoeing mecca. I've been racing the support van a bit today with a flat road and a slight following wind. 103 miles and tents up by 4.30pm. Paying for that a bit now though, I think I may have to crawl to bed.

So the med is in reach tomorrow, which in some ways I'm pleasantly surprised to be able to say, in other ways I'm not, I never really considered plan B.

Had a good meal out this evening which was a welcome change after a week of cooking on one hob. Back to the real world proper tomorrow night.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Day 5 - Cotes-du-Rhone

Oh the wonder that is miles of flat tarmac. Early start, head down and 120 miles later I find myself the right side of Lyon. The campsites are geting better too, chilled out in the pool when I'd finished.

Another hot day though, I found out today that water from my bottle, when sprayed on my legs, dries off in about 7 minutes at 16 mph. Have got used to traffic free roads, no such luck today.

Day 4 - By the Saone at Chalon

Feels like a mile stone reached today, we are now camping by the Saone near to Chalon. A planned easier day at 80 miles, hilly again for the first 55 then what felt like a drop from the heavens, at least a 6 mile descent to st aubin. A stop amongst the vines in the village of Gamay, and a little tasting and buying of the local premier cru. Apart from the lead thighs it actually feels like I'm on holiday today. Sipping a cold biere (after a pint of milk) in the bar by the river. Time for a shower, there is a bit of an exclusion zone down wind of me on this terrace.

Really glad to have taken an easier day, and just less than 300 miles to the finish now. The theory is that if I follow this river its downhill from here! The graft of the first few days has paid off, still 3 days to go, but allowing myself to think of the finish a bit now.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Day 3 - Avalon

First stop Romilly sur Sienne, south of Paris now. The hot weather continues so am sheltering in a cafe by a huge market for an early morning coffee stop. Enjoying the leisuely pace today, though with half an eye on 120 miles again if all goes well I can't hang about here all morning.

It's bank holiday in France today, so not a great deal open, and quiet roads. Heading for Chablis, and then see how I feel. Not much wind today, which is a welcome change, legs feeling heavier today. There is just not much actual flat on this route!

74 miles @ Chablis and feeling ok, the lady I bought a bottle from informs me its a new road surface all the way to Avalon (laid for the tour 2 years ago) flat at first, but then more of the ups and downs.

Cloud cover came over after chabli and was treated to a shower, part of which I managed to dodge in a barn.

100 miles exactly to our campsite in Avalon, decided finishing at 6 would be enough for today. Liking the 3 star treatment, they have cold beer which is a step up from the first night where it was just cold shower water! There's even WiFi here.

I think its under 400 miles to go and I'm convincing myself the rhone valley will be flatter, so the aim tomorrow via Beaune and pootle south.

My efforts today have been dwarfed by 3 English blokes who have recently arrived on bikes, having spent 3 weeks getting here from Athens!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Day 2 - hot but not bothered

What an amazing day, traviling through the Somme to the east of Paris I have covered 121 miles from Peronne to Sezanne.

I'm not going to complain about the weather, it got to well over the 32c on the sign in the photo ( that was at 6pm) and the wind died down by the afternoon.

In champagne country now and seen the first vines of the trip. Chablis is 73 miles away so Defo stopping off there tomorrow.

Looks a bit flatter to the south, and a few clouds today so could make for a welcome break from heat and hills.

Day 1 - Wind

And not good wind. But first the good news; having covered 101 miles we have made it to a campsite by the river in Peronne.  Amazing scenery, headwind, agriculture galore, cross wind, a whole village doing front yard sales, a head wind but from the side a bit. I needed a salted can of mackrel to revive me at Arras, and have discovered the wonder that is the Pomme dohnut too. White van man has been a superb support, we met at 3 points on the route, mainly so I could complain about wind.

Couldn't ask for better weather really though its been a glorious day. It's pretty undulating here, was expecting flatter, so pleaded to be on course with 100 done after day 1. Time to fill up on pasta and steak!