Friday, 29 June 2018

Channel to Med, part 2

Today was my 14th day of riding.

Sunday 24th was a pleasant day on quiet roads, with little traffic. It being Sunday, I bought supplies in a supermarket before leaving Lusignan, many are open just in the morning. Feeling relaxed I stopped several times for photos. 

At the campsite I washed all the clothes I was wearing... as well as my wallet... along with its contents. Yes, I am that clean.

Good, steady ride on Monday with clear blue skies and a very welcome breeze. Camping a la Météorite at Rochechouart was really good with a pleasant, helpful warden.

Tuesday saw the start of hotter weather. A 2 mile climb, billed as 2 kilometres in the book, was the start. After that the route rolled along nicely. On one climb I noted the temperature at 34C!

Wednesday was forecast as a hot afternoon so I bit the bullet, got up an hour earlier and was on the road for 7:30. The riding was good. Had a second breakfast in a hotel bar en route and arrived at my camp by noon. 

Gave the tarp a try, but sadly it didn't provide cool shade. Good job there always seems to be shade on each site.

These tiny soap leaves by Lifeventure are good. You peel one off and bung it in warm water. There are no suds and rinsing is easy. Everything I wash seems to come clean. Obviously, in this temperature, drying isn't a problem.

Thursday the 28th was a day of mixed moods. I set off with a climb of over 3 miles with no respite. Passed through a beautiful valley with gorgeous views. But the ride ended with a horrible climb up a single track lane to my campsite. Aaaargh!

I felt quite overwhelmed. I think I needed to get past the halfway point so I could feel on a psychological downhill to Nice. Felt lonely too, surrounded by "beautiful people" from the Netherlands. A chat with Chrissie and lots of support from lovely folk on Twitter helped. Many rightly pointed out it was never gonna be easy, else everyone would be doing this. Still managed to appreciate the scenery.

On a more positive note, wildlife (which I recognise) spotted so far: deer fawn, red squirrels, woodpecker with pointed crest, fox, pine marten (I think). I really wish I knew more about birds.

In other news. Chatting with a Dutch tourer with a really nice bike. He had a gel saddle. Much softer than mine. I'd been struggling with bum pain on climbs. Always thought soft saddles a bad idea. Anyroad, on the day I bought my power packs, I also picked up a cheapo gel saddle from the supermarket and fitted it outside. It took a couple of adjustments and I kept my old saddle, just in case. After four days I finally accepted the gel was better... I threw my old one in a bin.  Never too old to learn.

Friday started with the climb of the day. But this was over by the time I rolled into Sarlat for coffee and croissant. There followed a lovely ride on a cycle trail and a meander up the Dordogne to Souillac, beer and camp.

I'd reached a running total of 532 miles. I estimate my final mileage to be something like 1020-1040. In any event, I'm now over halfway in distance, having been cycling for two full weeks.

I'm in a far better mood as I write. Many thanks to all those who helped lift it. You know who you are.


  1. Gel saddle? Everything I read on the Twitterinterterneret said these are not a good idea. Could never get my head round that given how everyone wears padded shorts but I've believed it. Interesting that you've found it better.

    1. Yeah. I know. I know. But...the proof of the pudding...

  2. You are doing wondiferously well Geof. Very, very impressive.

  3. Great stuff, full of admiration for keeping going solo but I guess the fine scenery helps to keep the spirits up :)

    1. It's not easy but I have lots of support back home which helps a lot.


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