Wednesday, September 18, 2013

From the gorgeous to the wild wild west

Heard during the day that DHBC won 2013 RAW track club championship AGAIN for the fifth year running.  Great work everyone!  (I love the interwebs btw)

134 km ride today, not much climbing but it felt like a long way and we stuffed around.  A lot.  Stopped and looked at things, took some pics and then looked at more things. Drank coffee, beer.
We started the day in Olargues as we had ended the previous day’s riding on the Voie Verte, the bike path along and old railway line.  We got 14km out of it this time and along the way we stopped to take a picture at the best spot but that was after I did the stupidest thing of the day.

I was riding along, looking ahead at a bridge to see if it was a pick-a-plank bridge (it wasn’t, I don’t think they have them in France) and didn’t see the barrier that was across the path and in the shadows.  Everyone else saw it but I went straight into it.  Fortunately I saw it just before I hit it so had slammed the brakes on.  It was about chest height.  Oops!  Embarrassing!  Back wheel lifted up and everything.  The people I was riding with were somewhat surprised shall we say.

Not content with that, I discovered some of the barriers were high enough so that if I lay flat on the top-tube and bars I could go right under with cms to spare – not that I was looking or able to see.  No pic of that, Camilla missed that photo op, or was more rightly worried about whether I was going to ensure I never develop a dowager’s hump.  Thank god for 650c wheels and a tiny frame.

Idiocy out of the way, the ride along the Voie Verte was remarkably pleasant and if you get a chance to ride it around here, do.  It’s still got more to go.  Here’s the next stage ready to be transformed.

Sometime along the road the landscape changed dramatically and became all red soil and we saw a paleontological site, complete with didactic panel.  Why didn’t we get a picture?  Don’t know.  But we did see a busload of people that Camilla and I assumed were hunters but Ted said they were fossil fossickers.

By then it looked like we were in the wild, wild west of somewhere not France.  

Riding on a side road, close to a high speed highway for 10km and feeling like we were in a time trial before arriving at lunch near the Clamouse cave up a gorgeous valley. 

After lunch, we headed off up the valley alongside a river then met a grinding hot climb that never got very steep but snaked up a gorge and promised to reach the pass where every left turn was cruelly followed by a right turn that took us higher. 

Then a long mostly downhill run to Sommieres which is another beautiful old town.  A long day in the saddle.

Ride and Seek had organised a winemaker and sommelier to come in for a tasting and to tell us about Languedoc wines.  I caught the second half of this and found out a lot about local appellations and the finer points of roses. But a lurking migraine turned me away from alcohol for the evening so I didn’t really taste anything.

And then another 3 course gourmet meal.  Thankfully Dylan organised a vegetarian meal for me.  If I was fending for myself I think I would struggle. The French cannot comprehend vegetarians.  Even a cheese omelette turns up with little cubes of ham in it.  

Day topped off by another astonishing dessert.  It had fairy floss on it!

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