Day 48 – It’s quite hot now!

It feels like the trip is coming towards its conclusion.  We are back down on the Med and getting close to Mont Ventoux. Unfortunately we have run out of time to be able to summit it and ride the Gorge du Verdon. This is a shame, although it does give us a good excuse to come back sometime. From here we will head along the coast and around Montpellier and then head up the Rhone valley to Nimes and Avigon.

Today’s ride was not quite what I expected. We spotted a bike path just outside the campsite and chose to follow it. 50km later and a couple of roads we are at the campsite. Yes that’s about 45km of bike path we fillowed. We did try to get into 3 campsite that have already closed for the season. Quite rightly too. Who would want to stay 100m from the Med in September when it’s only 27°C. It feels like the South of France is closing down. I guess it’s all about economics but I didn’t take that at school, “Actualy that subject was a thing when I was at school”.  So a flat 50km ride with some great views. Here are some photos.

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Day 47 – Labels, Germolene, Weight and Drag

So I have been thinking about the lables I have been cutting out of our clothes, silk sleeping bag liners, bags, etc. This has lead me to think about Greg LeMond and Luarent Fignon. What?

As all keen cycling fans know, Fignon lead LeMond by 50 seconds going into the final day of the 1989 Tour De France. Which this year was a 24.5km time trial. To cut a long story short LeMond gained 58 seconds on Fignon and win the Tour by 8 seconds. More information here.

You may be asking what’s this got to do with lables, germolene and drag? 

Well LeMond was ahead of his time and used a set of clamp on aero bars and a semi areo helmet on his road bike. Fignon had just the cowhorn type bars which has a minor effect on drag. Although this is not what made the major difference, it was the fact that Fignon had a ponytail flapping about behind his head that caused enough drag to loose him 25 seconds and therefore the Tour Dr France. Maybe!!!

So we get to my lables and the Germolene. It turns out the Bettie and I have “four” yes “four” tubes of Germolene between us. So my lable cutting has been to no avail. But worst than this I have been dragging a bloody Yellow flag behind me for the last 2000km. see flag. 

This must have lost me 2 hours on the tour so far. What chance have I got?

Well onto today’s ride. This is what I call  good ride  profile.

Paul rode with us for the first 38km and then turned back to sort the house as Barbara was due to arrive tomorrow and he needed to stay in the good books. Bettie and I pressed on to Mèze to camp for the night before heading up towards Lyon and our flight home. here are some photos from today

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Day 45 & 46 – Climbing Climbing Climbing

Today we are going to visit a friend from England. The only problem is that they live on top of a bloody great hill. So we headed in land from the coast with the aim to meet Paul in Roujan where he would guide us the last 17km to there House in the hills. I had hatched a plan to avoid the major roads and follow a combination of Google maps and the proposed Garmin route. This s was a big mistake as it tools us along a succession of these roads

After about 10km we decided to just take the most direct route to meet Paul. 30km later and we meet Paul in an Intermarch carpark which had a coffee shop. The next 17km were more than generally uphills. See Strava track (see wiggles at end of ride). This equates to a 300m climb that I could have done without.

Here are some photos of the ride and views

The village is as remote as you can get and the lack of background noise is great. No cars, no planes, no trains, just sound of barking dogs.

We went for a walk and drive to see some of the hills and landscape is great if a bit dry at this time of year.

It’s been great to spend a couple of nights/days off the bike and impinge on Paul’s hospitality, just a same Barbara couldn’t be here.

Tomorrow we will be back on the bike and heading back to the sea before heading north to Lyon.

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Day 44 – We made it to the Med

We had slow morning and chatted to our new best friend “Karl” form Lithuania.

We were exchanging stories from our trips and comparing kit. Karl is on a shorter trip than us, but it’s no less impressive as he is working while he is away. He can do this as he is a project manager of a graphics company.

Although how he manages on the Wifi in France I do not know. It has been crap in general and we are burning through our phone data allowance at a rate of knots. All the campsite advertise that they have wifi, but this is if you sit about 1m from the router and it’s as slow as can be.😤

During our conversation we spoke about being away from home in a small space “The tent” not “the country” and if we found it constricting or frustrating. It has been the oppersite in face, we have both learned things about each other and believe it or not after over 26 years together we have found d that we are still in love and even more than before. Who’ed of thunk it. 🚴‍♂️❤🚴‍♀️❤🚴‍♂️

Turns out the Fred love Bettie and Bettie loves Fred.❤

Give me that keyboard back, Bettie 😉

Well the ride was a short but very windy ride to the coast and back to the canal de midi to camp. The site is right on the canal banks worth a short walk into town very nice.

Tomorrow w are going to visit a friend from our triathlon club, Paul and Barbara have a house just north of here in “Les Montades” Pual will still be there but Barbara is in Blighty earning a crust.

Here are some photos of our ride.

We are also in another wine region “Languedoc-Roussillon” here is a picture of some grapes. I have also put a link to Wikipedia for more information. We are “not” very knowledgeable where wine is concerned, some would be surprised considering how much if the stuff we drink. I think it is wasted on me, I just know if I like it or not.

Also Karl gave us some very nice tomatoes and we had a great supper. Just before we went for a pizza and some house wine:-).

Even when we got to the Med a little cloud couldn’t help itself and had to follow us. Further evidence that we are rain gods.

And our ride for today

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Day 43 – Here comes the Med, if only it would stop raining!!!!!!

Here are some songs with Rain in them. See if you can guess the artist. You can leave replies on comments section below.

  • Here comes the rain again, falling on my head like a melody. – “Eurithmics
  • Listen to the patter of the falling rain   telling me just what a fool I’ve been. – “The Cascades“,
  • I made it through the rain. – “Barry Manilow”
  • Purple Rain, Purple rain. – “Prince
  • November Rain. – “Guns & Roses
  • I set Fire to the rain. – “Adel
  • Fire and Rain. – “James Taylor
  • Raindrops keep falling on my head. – “B J Thomas
  • Have you ever seen the rain, coming down on a sunny Day? – “Creedance Clear water revival”
  • A Hard rains a-gonna full. – “Bob Dylan”
  • Why does it always rain on me? – “Travis
  • I can’t stand the rain. – “Ann Peebles
  • It nevers rains in southern California. – “Albert Hammond”
  • I’m singing in the Rain. “Gene Kelly
  • Can you stand the rain. – “New Edition”
  • Umbrella. “Ryanna
  • A hatfull of rain. “Del Amitri
  • Mandolin rain. “Bruce Hornsby
  • Raintown. “Decon Blue
  • Raining in Baltimore. “Counting Crows”
  • Rain king. “Counting Crows
  • Who can stop the rain. “Creedance Clearwater Revival”
  • It’s raining men. “The Weather Girls
  • I can’t stand the rain against my window. “Eruption

The sound of rain falling on the tent woke me this morning and I remembered that we had some socks drying on the line. So I jumped up to take them in. For once the rain did me a favour and I snapped this sunrise. It was much better to the eye and my phone camera did as good as it could to capture it.

It makes a change from Sunsets. I’m more of a evenings person than mornings.

The lady in the camp shop has just told me, this is the first rain that they have had for two months. Which just confirms that Bettie and I, are rain gods and clouds just love to be around us.

Here is a recording we made of the rain on the tent from a few nights ago.

Today we visited Narbonne to chill and have any easy day.  Just 20km in the saddle. It was a pleasant town and has a big retail park just outside, so we stocked up on food. Also we had a cheeky McFish burger as we got to town after 2pm and all the restaurants had finished serving food “Sans manger de déjeuner” :0(.

Here are a few photos

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Day 42 – Me Guns have gone :-(

Totalling the distance we have ridden since the 7th of August, it comes to 1,873km. This has had an effect on both of us. Even though we are eating our own body weight in M&M’s, Chrisp, Chocolate, all the Rosè wine we have been drinking, the pain au chocolate, The Basque Tart, The pain, The Cheese, porridge, fruit plus unknown bugs as we ride. We are still both loseing weight. This is I decided showed  most, when I was looking down at my cycling shorts. 

All cyclist like to keep our tan lines sharp. So when I looked down at my shorts, yesterday,  I was a bit miffed to see that there was white line. Bugger I thought the elastic on these shorts is shot to  pot. I’ll wear my Assos shorts tomorrow.  Well here is the result. 

 It seems that the elastic is fine, but my guns are shrinking i.e “my thighs”, and are now not big enough to keep my shorts from riding up . It seems that this level of exercise doesn’t just burn fat.  It will reduce muscle mass if it runs out of fat to burn.  Both Bettie and I have shrinking bodies. 

Still we will push on and make up for it when we get back to the UK. Still not sure I like the blurred lines though.

Today we had  a long’ish ride. In fact our second longest ride so far at 80km. We are now within spitting distance of ther Med, only another 15km to go. 

We might spend a couple of days here. The campsite is ok and  there is a nice town one way and the sea the other.  

On a non related note our friend from Lithuania, whom, we met yesterday at Carcassonne, happens to have pitch up next to us again tonight.  Turns out his name is Karl. 

We stopped off for a drink on our way today, and spotted what I thought was a church.

This is what was inside.

I was particularly taken by this wine. I don’t think you could get away with a Ladies wine in the UK, plus the shaply bottle and description. 

Here is tonight’s “empty” Rosè scores a very respectable 8.1

And the ride

Nite Nite.

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Day 41 – Our language skills were put to shame

We were in the campsite tonight and having a conversation with A German couple “who I thought were from Denmark” and a young man from Lithuania. It was in English of course. I can just about count to ten in German and would be hard pressed to point to Lithuania on a map. I know it’s in the Baltics but that’s about all. On the train from Toulouse, the ticket inspector spoke word perfect English. We met a young Spanish man on the west coast, again the conversation was in English. As we travel our experiences teach us how little we know of our close neighbour’s and friends in Europe and the wider world. It also could explain the Brexit debacle. Who knows? The only thing I know the more I travel, the more experiences I have, the better informed I become. Perhaps we should all do it more. Also this is day 41 of our journey and we both can remember the start and the last few days but the bit inbetween is a mystery. Perhaps when we get home we can review this blog and it will all come back. 

So onto today’s ride.  We woke up in the cold with a view of the snow covered Pyrenees. In truth it was bloody freezing, but, as the sun came up it warmed up and dried my kit a bit, although it was still wet when I put it on. The ride was a short’ish 50km and with a strong back wind, thank you “Woulter” and a flat’ish route. We are in Carcassonne and have found a campsite close to the centre of the old town.  I have know this town via the Tour de France  for many years as they tend to use it as a entry to ther Pyrenees. Although I don’t think I was prepared for the majesty of the Castle. 

Although to be honest I could help think of the Monty Python sketch in the Holy Grail. Which is a find example of the pomposity of the English.
Abridged version:

King Arthur and his knights of the round table, “ride” up to a castle.

Come join us in the search for the Holy Grail.

I don’t think so, We’ve already got one!

Lancelot: Are you *sure* you've  got one?
Oh yes, it's ver' naahs. 
Well... ah, um...  Can we come up and have a look?
If  you will not show us the Grail, we shall take your castle by force.
You don't frighten us, English pig-dogs!  I fart in your general direction!  
Is there someone else up there we can talk ?

The last two sentaces, were a bit like being in the bar, the other day, when I was trying gets some drinks.

Here are some photos.

Rosè which gets an 8

And the ride

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