Monday, 25 April 2011

France - On route "North" - Central Massive

10th 75km

Once all are awake we pack up and join our friends for a morning coffee and a croissant.

At ten Richard and I hit the road. Despite the strong winds we both enjoy the riding. The countryside is beautiful - and quite reminiscent of the landscape back home. Meadows and rapeseed fields repeat over and over without becoming dull. Beech trees dazzle us with their vibrant new foliage. More and more wild flowers appear by the roadside. Every now and then we get a quick blast of fragrance from a blossoming tree.

We stop at several supermarkets to check the bins. Shops are closed on Sunday's and we had hoped that the bins would be filled Saturday evening. Not so.

In the afternoon I am troubled by a terrible tragedy - my iPod has stopped working. It doesn't hit me straight away. I expect that because I'm riding with Richard I'm not using it so much. I imagine the grieving process will begin soon...

Of all the things to lift my mood - I didn't think it would be a Carrefour bin. Richard and I drool slightly while tearing at the bin bags. With our panniers bursting with fresh baked goods and some slightly iffy dairy produce we seek out a place to sleep. Before crashing out we fill up on the evening harvest.

11th 83km

We greet several sets of dog walkers while eating breakfast. While breaking camp we enjoy a few cups of coffee – one thing I can never be bothered to do when cycling alone.

We climb gradually all day. At two o'clock we stop for lunch. We've done fifty kilometres and perhaps only two of which have been flat/downhill.

The supermarket bins serve us well once more. In the afternoon we get yoghurt and salad and in the evening bread more yoghurt and all kinds of sweet treats.

We crest a climb and reach a plateau at around twelve hundred meters. From then on the climbs are short. Fields dusted with wild daffodils stretch as far as the eye can see. As the riding is so nice we push on into the evening hoping to reap the rewards of the mornings climbing.

In good time we are indeed rewarded. Eight kilometres of winding downhill - helps to boost our daily distance.

12th 89km

The morning dew soaks our feet as we pack up. This the first day in along time that we are not greeted by blue skies. Instead we have grey clouds, fog and the feel of rain in the air.

We have another morning of fairly solid climbing. In Le Puy we pick up main road - our aim being to sacrifice some scenery for expediency. As we climb out of town we see the statues atop the hills at several locations in the town. All around us the ancient rounded mountains of Massive Central roll off into the distance. It's hard to imagine that millions of years ago they looked a lot more like their spiky neighbours the Alps.

I climb steadily. Richard has vanished off into the distance. As I ride three very healthy looking horses gallop across their field to watch. Not wanting their efforts to be wasted I park up and go to lean on the fence and stroke them for a while.

Back on the bike we eventually summit the col we'd be battling with. We are then greeted by a roadsign the likes of which would give any cyclist a three quarter chubb - 11km 7%. The persistent headwind ensures I don't reach record breaking speed - it's good fun all the same.

I've decided this will be my last mention of bin food. It seems to be a frequent occurrence - safe to assume most days are successful.

Find a picnic area to camp in - river on one side, fishing lake on the other. long as you ignore the no camping signs.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder have you ever seen a woman cycling alone
    through different countris? I mean is that safe & secure for women to ride alone. It would be frateful to hear your experience .