Ancenis to Cande Sur Beuvron

by Paul
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So I’ll admit that the lighting was favourable, but I just saw what can only be described as some definition in one of my legs (yeah, just one), and this means that I’m already 50 percent of the way towards my main goal here! And so there should be some definition after riding 95 km yesterday.

Despite starting out in frustrating fashion, and being the biggest day in distance terms, yesterday was the best so far. It starting off frustratingly because of one particular Tabac employee in Angers who sold me an “unlimited” data pack for my sim card. Turns out ‘unlimited’ is French for 500MB, and it was all gone by yesterday morning – it’s funny how much internet you need to use when you think your data is unlimited. Anyway, I probably would have only spent one hour scrolling through Tinder if I’d known.

The reason having no data was so frustrating is because of my severe lack of navigational skill, something that is daily becoming harder and harder to deny. However, this did work in my favour (in a round-about kind of way) in that I was forced stop and chat to a couple who happened to be riding the same direction as me, so I asked to tag along. They turned out to be really good value, and I spent the rest of the day with them.

It did start off as one of those awkward situations where you hope that they’re brother and sister and you try to think of a subtle way to ask, but thankfully she picked up on this pretty quickly and mentioned the word ‘boyfriend’. Once I got over that I was able to relax and resume the all too familiar role of third-wheel. I also picked up some valuable French lessons on language, and culture – like spending 25 minutes looking for free water (rather than going into a shop to buy the cheapest item and asking them to fill your bottles for you), and putting pieces of chocolate in your baguette: “In France we like to put a lot of thing in baguette”. Highly recommended by the way.

Maxime and Laurie were cycling from Toulouse to Paris to see Maxime’s grandma, and they weren’t mucking around. By the time we’d reached Tours (my stop for the day) they’d done over 100km, and were contemplating doing 30 more to ‘get to the wild’ for camping. Crazy frenchies.

The riding itself has been beautiful the last couple of days. It seems to change up between country roads and purpose built cycle paths. The roads often meander between vineyards and old country houses, where every now and then you’ll come across some houses built into caves, or a castle that was built 800 years ago. Its quite nice, but I personally prefer the cycle paths, because they are alongside the river and rivers are flat. Plus I don’t get lost next to the river. The tradeoff being that alongside the river means you are constantly being bombarded by clouds of microscopic bugs. And by constantly I mean any time your mouth happens to be open.

Today I was in recovery mode after trying to keep up with the french all day yesterday, but I still managed a slow 70km. Which means that all up I’m at 370km now! Tomorrow is a solid 90km run in to Orleans. Wish me luck.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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