It Is Still Scorchio!

Sunday 28th May

Day sixteen

Marennes to La Palmyre:                 39km,

97m climbed,      2hr 20’

Total Distance     788km

This section has got to be my favourite so far. This may be influenced by the fact that I have finally left the marshes and most of the mozzies behind. It started well by crossing this elegant bridge over the River Seudre and from then on it was on a path that twisted and turned its way through the Forêt de la Coubre all the way on flat tarmac. Everywhere there were lizards of all shapes and shades of green playing chicken by basking on the tarmac and scuttling out of the way at the last moment. It was like being on a fairground ride the whole way.

Photos to follow

It is not surprising, given the ideal conditions, that there were hordes of riders out this morning, from club pelotons, to groups of friends, to families, to couples and to loners like me. Everyone seemed to be doing it more gracefully than me too. It must be easy to encourage people to be active in a country like France; mind you they also seem to spend a lot on it too. Every little village has a beautifully maintained sports complex for organised sports and then there are the well kept informal facilities like bike trails, walking routes, trim trails and skateboard parks and that’s not considering the water sports arrangements of all types.

En route, I realised that today Peter, Andrew and Bill, who we met in Carhaix will be on their way to London, as the lads are back to work tomorrow. I hope your trip went well and ‘chapeau!’ as we cyclists say. I am just amazed at how unsupported cyclists can do the route in 12 to 14 days, especially in this heat too.

I also need to say ‘chapeau!’ to Wendy for her leadership of the strategic oversight and logistic support committees so far. The smooth running of the tour is completely down to her. [I have got to say that as this morning she told me she can now do all the tasks associated with the motorhome apart from the kitchen ceiling vent which she cannot reach, but she knows where the stool is packed!]

Last night the thunderstorms skirted around the edge of us. Wendy saw flashes of lightning at around 0330, which was the time that Alf woke, and woke us too.

Alf is not a fan of thunderstorms, or strong winds, or low flying helicopters, or the beeps of Semper D. Any one of these will send him into a panting mess where he will try and climb on the bed and paw us until we are fully apprised of his worries. At home we usually sort this by putting him in with Hannah, in the van it is a little more difficult. The last couple of nights (there have been high winds as well) we seem to have solved the problem by tying him on a very short leash to the table leg. This seems to give him the security he craves. We will see what happens tonight. It is hard enough cycling in this heat without the added handicap of four or five hours sleep.

Anyway, tomorrow we sail!

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