Thursday, 7 April 2011

France - Heading North

28th 73km

My breakfast of two bananas doesn't take me far. I stop at a patisserie for bread and a pastry – slipping nicely back into my old habits!! Contrary to the forecast the weather is good. And thanks to said good weather and the sweet treat in my gut I'm in a fine mood. On with the riding then.

At mid-day I stop at Entrevaux – a small village in the Alps set behind castle fortifications. A very pretty place (I add it to the “to come back to” list).

Disappointing news - Highest through road in Europe - closed!

Mid-afternoon I notice the clouds building and looking quite stormilicious. I throw on the rain clobber and let the sweat fest begin. I stop every so often in lay-bys to sulk and half heartedly look for campspots. I sit in a bus-stop and daydream for a while. Then I snap to and decide to “man up” - which I vocally repeat several times while remembering the multiple occasions on which I have given people grief for moaning about the rain. I'm rewarded with incredible views of gorges and mountain all afternoon. Better yet the rain dies away and the clouds let through a little blue sweetness. I top a mountain pass – the Col de Toutes Aures at 1124m. I'm happy that I stay below the cloud line as this way I get the views I've earned. On the way down I reflect on the day – a perfect example of a good days bike touring.

I find a campsite – real one this time. There's no-one around but I push my bike in and pitch up anyway. At around midnight I wake to hear some crazy animal noises in the hills. They sound much like the Jackels of Turkey – but I'm pretty sure France doesn't have such creatures.

29th 87km

I wake with a chill – caught out by a cheeky Spring frost. The campsite turned out to be closed (early season) and so I leave without handing over a cent – don't feel too bad though having only utilised their empty field.

I start the day wearing full cold weather gear – the same as I was wearing in the winter. Three months on it's not even below zero – seems I have already softened to warmer climates. Even my peanut butter protests against the cold – refusing to spread causing me to cut slithers off it and place them on my bread.

The riding is much like yesterday (no bad thing at all). Always following rivers, mountain pass becomes dreamy downhills becomes gorges and tunnels, there's constantly something to keep me entertained.

A storm creeps up behind me in the afternoon. I jump out of my skin at the first clap of thunder directly overhead. I duck into a mountain shelter but quickly lose patience and decide to continue on. I realise that it only feels good to get out of the rain if you know your not going to have to get back in. Otherwise it's best just to keep on pushing. And it makes the sunny days that much sweeter too.

Fairly naff campspot – an empty field on the outskirts of a small town. The rain breaks just long enough for me to cook up a warm dinner. I spend a long time cautiously setting up in the downpour. Everything is wet bust I do my best to minimise the discomfort regardless.

No comments:

Post a Comment