Day 16 5/09/17 – what a freaking day

Nevers, Paris-Bercy, Paris-Nord, Calais-Frethun, Calais Port, Dover Port, Dover Priory, London St Pancras, Twickenham

Trip dist: 51.42 km
Total dist: 1069 km
Ride time: 3.42.45
Tot ride time: 69.07
Avg speed: 13.85 km/h
Max speed: 35.45 km/h
Avg cadence: 61
Max cadence: 89
Avg power: 65 W
Alt Asc: 200 m
Tot alt asc: 12105 m
Dist Asc: 6.93 km
Tot dist asc: 313 km
Down: 210 m
Dist down: 7.18 km
Tot alt down: 12164 m
Tot dist down: 342 km
Avg HR: 127
Max HR: 154
Calories: 3845 kcal
Total calories: 54652 kcal

My smart phone was very smart until this morning. Obviously my mistake I didn’t check the alarm call during the trip at all. It turns out that the phone was going to wake me up British time.

So I booked the train for 6.57 in the morning. That’s OK. I set the alarm for 5.45. I was hoping to have a shower in the morning as well. Well.

After the very restless night. I couldn’t sleep. I was concerned about the early morning train I guess. I managed to get to sleep at 3 am. Then woke up at 5. Had few more minutes.

Next thing I woke up it was 6.35. Blind panic. 20 minutes to the departure of the train. I have to say a few swear words came out of my mouth. It is still pitch dark in the campsite, I’m trying to put my pants on and can’t find the correct leg. Somehow I managed to put my pants on. Taking down the tent and packing everything 6.45. I thought I was with a chance of catching the train. Station was just 7 minutes away.

Lost my cycling gloves. OK. Got to the station and dragged the bike with all of the gear down and up the stairs to the platform. I even had a time to ask where the carriage is going to be. And the train arrived. The lady that managed the train told me to calm down and slow down.

Once on the train I slowly repacked the whole content of my bags. On the camp I just pushed everything in paniers.

By the time I got to Paris I was a tad calmer.

Going through Paris in the morning rush hour is quite an experience. As I had plenty of time to get to Paris-Nord I cycled at a leisurely pace. I have seen guy in suit riding through the craziest traffic making a call from a mobile phone. Not earphones. Holding the mobile.

I saw a few ladies with long coat going on the bike with high heels. There are loads of scooter people in Paris. This are crazy as well.

At Paris-Nord had a coffee and a sandwich. Outside there was a bit of action with police and a guy in burger king. They went into the shop and instantly managed to get the guy.

After this I was ready to catch the train to Calais-Frethun. Only to realise that the same train was going to Dunkirk. I just hoped I was in the right carriage. Got to Calais OK. Cycled my way to the ferry port. It is a challenge to find the way through the maze.

Got a ticket for the ferry at 16.05. Back in UK 16.35. By the time I got out and to the station I was catching the 17.49 to St Pancras.

The train was on time and I set up the Google maps to take me back around the regents canal. What a wonderful way to the end of the trip.

The richness of characters living on the canal is absolutely amazing. The changes in the economic power is very noticeable as you leave the centre of the town

Unfortunately afterwards I had to face the traffic around North and South Circular but once over this going along Kew gardens and back to Richmond was really nice. Dropped all the stuff in the flat and quickly went to get some shopping.

Flat looks like a bomb site. All my gear hanging from every possible door. Thanks God my flatmate is away on holiday.

The end.

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Day 15 4/09/17

Nevers, Decize along the canal, Avril-sur-Loire, Fleury-sur-Loire, St-Patrize-le-Châtel, Magny-Cours, Chevenon, Nevers

Trip dist: 91.56 km
Total dist: 1018 km
Ride time: 4.28.16
Tot ride time: 65.24
Avg speed: 20.47 km/h
Max speed: 43.1 km/h
Avg cadence: 73
Max cadence: 102
Avg power: 100 W
Alt Asc: 334 m
Tot alt asc: 11906 m
Dist Asc: 10.66 km
Tot dist asc: 306 km
Down: 333 m
Dist down: 11.8 km
Tot alt down: 11954 m
Tot dist down: 335 km
Avg HR: 127
Max HR: 154
Calories: 3845 kcal
Total calories: 54652 kcal

Got up just before 8am. Had a sandwich and a coffee. Had a little chat with Bernard. He set off about 10.30 and I had a little lazy hour. After the shower I went for a ride as well. Started around 11am. Went back to the canal. This is the Canal latéral à la Loire. Cycled along the canal to Decize.

Although cycling along the canal is nice it gets quite similar after a number of kilometres.

In Decize I took the road running back along the canal. Much better. There was a bit more of excitement some up and down the hill.

After St-Patrize-le-Châtel got to Magny-Cours. Couldn’t get to do the lap of honour but the tarmac around the place was absolutely divine. It is quite impressive the place. Took a few pictures and went back to the canal in Chevenon and back to the campsite. Did a little shopping on the way. Last supper in the campsite. Managed to use up the gas cartridge.

Tomorrow early wake up call. Train at 6.57 to Paris.

A little moan. I didn’t do much of it this time. I know already track drivers don’t give a toss about everybody else. This is obvious in every single country. They just steam ahead. If you end up in a ditch or under their wheels tough luck.

What really gets to me are the motorbikers. Not those going on proper stuff. The ones that sound godallmighty bass at 70km/h. And they enjoy the ride. Those are fine. The ones that really annoy me are those who think they are Valentino ‘F***ing’ Rossi. Going always above the speed limit and always on top of the revs. Get a grip, you don’t sound great you sound bloody stupid. Like a freaking annoying mosquito or a wasp. The other day I had to get into a ditch as a group of 20 or so Valentino’s was overtaking me at full speed in pairs with traffic coming from opposite direction. Idiots. The end.

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Day 14 3/09/17

St-Honore-les-Bains, Cercy-la-Tour, Imphy, Chevenon, Nevers

Trip dist: 66.84 km
Total dist: 926 km
Ride time: 3.3805
Tot ride time: 60.56
Avg speed: 18.38 km/h
Max speed: 46.82 km/h
Avg cadence: 73
Max cadence: 99
Avg power: 73 W
Alt Asc: 471 m
Tot alt asc: 11572m
Dist Asc: 14.71 km
Tot dist asc: 296 km
Down: 507 m
Dist down: 18.28 km
Tot alt down: 11621 m
Tot dist down: 323 km
Avg HR: 125
Max HR: 147
Calories: 3005 kcal
Total calories: 50806 kcal

Early morning start to the day. Started drying the tent at 8 am. Slow breakfast and constant turning of the roof part of the tent on the sunny bit of the camp. Little by little it was getting better. Absolutely soaking wet it was in the morning. On the top from the rain and on the bottom from condensation. By 10.30 I had it really well dry.

Set of at 11.00 or there about. I knew the first part of the road today. Then after Cercy-la-Tour I went through the beautiful valley right to Imphy. Then went to catch the canal in Chevenon.

Very straight forward trip to the campsite in Nevers. It was nearly empty when I arrived at 15.00. There was a Suisse guy Bernard setting up the tent and that was it for the bottom part of the camp. Now it is full.

Bernard Is biking from Geneva to Bordeaux. Very nice guy and had some pretty cool gadgets for his trips.

Staying here in Nevers tomorrow. Probably will go along the canal and pass through Magny-Cours.

Tickets back to UK booked for Tuesday.

Went to visit St Bernadette church in Nevers. Quite an architectural feature. Pics to follow.

Sleeping on the bank of river Loire!

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Day 13 2/09/17

St-Honore-les-Bains, Tussy, Sanglier, Let Puits, Larochemillay, Chiddes, St-Honore-les-Bains

Trip dist: 57.74 km
Total dist: 859 km
Ride time: 3.36.39
Tot ride time: 57.18
Avg speed: 15.99 km/h
Max speed: 50.93 km/h
Avg cadence: 68
Max cadence: 93
Avg power: 149 W
Alt Asc: 979 m
Tot alt asc: 11100 m
Dist Asc: 21.6 km
Tot dist asc: 281 km
Down: 982 m
Dist down: 25.82 km
Tot alt down: 11113m
Tot dist down: 305 km
Avg HR: 129
Max HR: 158
Calories: 3125 kcal
Total calories: 47800 kcal

Rain came in the early hours of the morning. Decided to stay in the campsite. There was no point of packing all of the wet stuff and complicating things here.

Had breakfast on the roof terrace and coffee from the bar. No cooking.

About 12 rain started slowing down a bit and I decided to go for a ride. Up the Mont Beuvrey. Crazy idea.

As I left the sun came out and I was getting worried about the sunblock I didn’t put on. Went up the first Mont Genievie. Not sure about the name. Can’t read on the map. Took a picture of a very distant black cloud on the horizon. Few minutes later I was cycling back to escape the mayhem. I didn’t. I was wearing all of the layers I had with me. Waited under the tree. The black cloud came and went in 30 minutes or so. Sun came out again. Got to Let Puits and the heavens wanted to open again. There were black clouds coming and going in all directions. It was insane.

Mont Beuvrey is only 821 and there is another higher Haut Folin at 901 next to it. The rain was coming down and as soon as it was done the white cloud started then in 5min there was a back massive raising and pushing new rain.

Got back to Larochemillay with the rain.

Then as I turned in direction of the St-Honore-les-Bains sun came out again. I pushed a bit harder on the pedals and got to the campsite to find that my washing from yesterday was dry.

As soon as I put the washing in the tent and picked up shower gel and change of clothes on the way to shower heavens opened again.

Massive rain and 15 minutes later the sun was up. 15 minutes later there was a huge thunder and 2 minutes later I was finishing my cooking in the little entrance to the tent. 15 minutes later the thunderstorm and was over and I think this has cleared the air a bit.

Day of insane weather. Totally insane.

Didn’t see the big eagle today. I could hear him around but no visual contact. But I saw a peregrine falcon and another couple of birds of prey: one flying in the sky and the other came down to the ground and stayed there for a while. Probably hunting.

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Day 12 1/09/17

St-Honore-les-Bains, Vabdenesse, Cercy-la-Tour, Decize, on the road, Cercy-la-Tour, Limanton, along canal, Moulins-Engilbert, St-Honore-les-Bains

Trip dist: 92.44 km
Total dist: 801 km
Ride time: 5.01.17
Tot ride time: 53.40
Avg speed: 18.41 km/h
Max speed: 46.22 km/h
Avg cadence: 72
Max cadence: 95
Avg power: 154 W
Alt Asc: 639 m
Tot alt asc: 10121 m
Dist Asc: 17.88 km
Tot dist asc: 259 km
Down: 623 m
Dist down: 23.29 km
Tot alt down: 10131 m
Tot dist down: 279 km
Avg HR: 119
Max HR: 155
Calories: 3634 kcal
Total calories: 44668 kcal

Colder night last night.

I had to use the sleeping bag. Just as a quilt but still.

In the past few days I have seen loads of interesting creatures by the road.

Apparently, black squirrel, the mix of grey and fix is invading this part of France. I saw a little red squirrel today. I have seen some black ones in the forests though.

As I cycle around I could hear some bird of prey shouting for the past few days. Yesterday as I was getting to the top of the mount I saw one. Huge bird. He was just below me and just went on a magnificent glide through the valley to the next tree.

Could be like this

It was magnificent.

Today I saw a huge water rat. The Coypu. It was dead unfortunately but a massive thing.

Last few days the left arm. The one that was broken was causing a bit of pain in the morning. Fortunately the pain was away half way through the day.

Today’s tour took me to Decize and Cercy-la-Tour. One way on the road and then back along the canal.

The weather was absolutely crazy today. Sun in sun out. Hot cold. Beautiful blue sky blue heavy black clouds.

It wanted to drizzle couple of times but it passed by. The path along the canal was relatively decent but at some points the headwind was so strong I had to hold on to the bike. Unbelievable.

Apparently this region of France is a birdwatchers paradise. I can see why. I just saw so many different species from the tiniest to the huge crane and the eagle.

By the lakeside with bats there were a few woodpeckers. Saw couple of big green ones.

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Day 11 31/08/17

St-Honore-les-Bains, Luzy, Mont Beuvrey, Moulins-Engilbert, St-Leger-St-Honore-les-Bains

Trip dist: 88.29 km
Total dist: 709 km
Ride time: 5 18.57
Tot ride time: 48.38
Avg speed: 16.60 km/h
Max speed: 42.70 km/h
Avg cadence: 73
Max cadence: 103
Avg power: 119 W
Alt Asc: 1168 m
Tot alt asc: 9481 m
Dist Asc: 33.98 km
Tot dist asc: 242 km
Down: 1167m
Dist down: 33.73 km
Tot alt down: 9407 m
Tot dist down: 255 km
Avg HR: 124
Max HR: 148
Calories: 4188 kcal
Total calories: 41034 kcal

And it rained all night. The temperature dropped 20°C overnight.

Good thing I tested the tent on several occasions and it survived really well. It was still raining at 8. It stopped just before 9. Got the baguette, prepared nice breakfast and sandwich for later.

All was very slow and cold. Got the food and after the shower set off for the road. It was just before 11. Long morning.

First part of the day to Luzy – beautiful views all the way. A bit tricky with quite a few tracks on the road. Popped in to see the place. Nice little village like most of places around here. From Luzy decided to visit Astérix and Obélix. A place called Bibracte

http://www.bibracte.fr/en

Museum was very interesting and the whole place was showing traces of people who lived there more than 2000 years ago. Interesting is that I was thinking of places around Morvan. Current. How many of the little villages are in such a clear decline. Maybe it is the passing of history and changes in socio-economic environments that dictate what is alive and what dies.

After the visit to my childhood heroes came all the way down to Moulins-Engilbert. Kind of little Venice. Town with loads of canals and one that one could say in in decline.

Got more provisions in the shop and cycled back to the campsite.

As on the road was quite cold at moments I had a long warm shower. Then cooked my supper. The sun came out as I was cycling to Luzy. For a moment, but then when I came back to the campsite the nice surprise was that all my washing from last night was dry.

Success.

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Day 10 30/08/17

Ouroux-en-Morvan, Chaumard, Château-Chinon, St-Leger-de-Fougeret, Onlay, St-Honore-les-Bains

Trip dist: 52.11 km
Total dist: 621 km
Ride time: 3.33.15
Tot ride time: 43.19
Avg speed: 14.66 km/h
Max speed: 41.53 km/h
Avg cadence: 64
Max cadence: 95
Avg power: 108 W
Alt Asc: 699 m
Tot alt asc: 8312 m
Dist Asc: 16.99 km
Tot dist asc: 208 km
Down: 1009 m
Dist down: 26.8 km
Tot alt down: 8339 m
Tot dist down: 222 km
Avg HR: 122
Max HR: 145
Calories: 2686 kcal
Total calories: 36845 kcal

As there was a rain forecast for afternoon today I tried to leave the camp early in the morning in order to set up before the rain in St-Honore-les-Bains.

Rain started of course as I started packing in the morning. So had to wait a bit for the drizzle to stop. Even though the rain came I was out of the camp by 9.30.

First part of the road to Chaumard and Corancy was very quick and easy. From Corancy to Château-Chinon was rather steep uphill.

After Château-Chinon went through some lovely valley. Couple of tougher uphills but I was on the campsite just after 13.00.

Got a nice pitch.

Quite like this business of going around knowing that there will be a space on the camp. It is a huge place here but only a few pitches occupied.

Even though I was slower than usual with tent set up I managed to get all ready just before the rain came down. As I was leaving for the shower the sky opened.

Now 16.30 looks like I might be able to make it to the shop without getting completely wet.

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