Saturday, 7 July 2018

Channel to Med, part 3

I'm a little over three weeks in and completely in the zone with this trip. As I write I've just passed the 800 miles point.

Saturday 30th saw what just may be the toughest day of the trip, with four significant climbs making up the stage. I coped. I actually enjoyed it. And I made a friend on the farm campsite.

Sunday's ride to Figeac involved just one shortish climb. I lunched in a superb restaurant next to the site and dined there as well with a French/Spanish group riding one of several St Jacques pilgrimage routes. They were both friendly and amusing. 

Monday began with a couple of tough climbs before settling into a pleasing ride up the Lot valley to Entraygues sur Truyere. 

I passed the 600 mile point. Two thirds of the way! 

I've been beginning to settle into the trip more. I assess each day, by distance, route profile and weather, to decide on a departure time in the morning. If it's not too challenging then I'll "lie in" until 7am. If it looks tricky, I'll be up at 6.

Afternoons, once pitched, are relaxation time. I do laundry, drink tea, go for a walk, snooze. I've planned no actual rest days. A mistake perhaps. But each afternoon I get a good rest and I'm usually in bed by 9. This is the only way I can contemplate riding a bike, every day, for over a month. 

Tuesday, I met Stuart and Julie from Cumbria riding the same route as me, using B&Bs. We shared stories and coffee in a bar. Nice lunch at a restaurant after a hot climb. I was so hot, my t-shirt was completely drenched, my cycling cap dripping. I had to nip into the loo to swap my shirt. Later in the afternoon, Mark from Helinox UK phoned me. As a result they're shipping a new chair to my Saturday campsite.

Been musing about fitness. I'm not super fit. I get out every day in our local hills, with the dogs. Probably walk at least 4 miles. Often, Chrissie and I walk more and I'm out on a bike sporadically. I still don't think of myself as a cyclist. I'm really a backpacker on a bike. 

Wednesday was A VERY HARD DAY. Some really severe climbs which saw me pushing the Thorn more than once. I'm glad that day's gone. I did meet Stuart and Julie again though. Which was fun.

Today, Thursday the 5th July had a long but steady climb to the halfway point, then a long descent into Villefort. Very enjoyable. The weather was fresh and I wore my Paramo Bentu fleece all day. I met Stuart and Julie again along the way.

On Friday I rode a steady route to Pont d'Arc and in the evening enjoyed a delicious dinner with Stuart and Julie. They were due to combine two stages the following day so I probably won't see them again. We have though resolved to get together once back home.

On Saturday, after a tough early climb I was met with a road closure for a triathlon. No amount of persuasion would see the Gendarmes let me through, not even walking. I've never met this anywhere before. This added almost ten miles to a route which should've been completed by lunchtime  Also, when I got to the campsite my promised replacement Helinox chair had not arrived  Not the best of days. I did share the diversion experience with Stuart and Julie though, before finally bidding them farewell.

Just around 200 miles to go. 


  1. Splendid stuff Geoff. You are doing phantasmagorical wonderfully well.

  2. Great stuff, Geoff
    Did you see any of those bovine paratroopers which the sign warned you about?

    1. Just a couple. They were armed so I gave 'em a wide berth.

  3. "I'm not super fit" - are you kidding!! Sounds like you've really managed to get the balance just right between covering the miles with enough time to actually enjoy it. Really enjoying following the progress


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