After a few days of cleaning the Baum of cowshit (really) and a couple of easy spins, it’s back to a proper ride today. This time with Camilla and Ted tracing the route Hannibal took, with Ride and Seek Tours.
Today we rode from Carcassonne to Olargues. I’d become too well acquainted with Carcassonne yesterday when I rode round in circles getting lost on the way back from a car drop-off. I saw a lot of one small village! In the afternoon I rode down alongside the Canal du Midi and decided I never, ever want to go in a canal boat. I'd be bored with those locks in about 10 minutes!
Carcassonne has a fantastic mediaeval walled castle with village, now populated with little shops and restaurants. And even the “new” town is old and quaint.
We headed out through vineyards at a considerably more leisurely pace than the Haute Route, the inclines were gentler and the pressure reduced. After all, it’s not a race! My legs appear to have recovered with a few days rest and no hard riding.
After 25kms or so it’s time for morning tea! At a café with a bunch of English hippies sitting out the front and the French men inside. And then the climb began, winding up a valley through one tiny village that only seemed to contain a boy’s school and up into a pine forest. You could smell the pine.
Lunch was to be a picnic atop a mountain but a cold wind soon had us shivering. But Camilla and I did find a didactic panel, so everything is back to normal. How nice is it to have a proper lunch and not exist on hurriedly grabbed gels, fruitcake and buns. As an aside, you can’t breathe if you put too much fruitcake in your mouth. This is bad and makes it difficult to proceed.
After lunch we had to descend, which is good for digestion but bad for getting more chilled. And then another climb. I pushed it a bit on the climbs especially near the end as I’m still training for racing next week.
The last 15kms or so into Olargues, our desination, was along the Voie Verte – a graded rail trail. That was just a nice ride where we rode along in a group and chatted.
Olargues itself is very pretty and we stayed in a lovely guesthouse and ate at the adjacent restaurant – and had the best meal I’ve had since I’ve been here! The owner is a vegetarian and ensured I had some really nice food. No omelette!
If you are thinking of moving to this quaint town I checked out some of the real estate prices for you. You can buy something quite nice for about 150K Euros. Or a ruin for about 50K. Or a part-ruin for around 80K. J