Reports about our last two tandem rides.
Today we got back on our bike for a short and hilly ride. 30.5 miles and 2700 feet of up and down. There were some steep parts in the 8-10% range for about 1/2 mile.
Rolling through Provence
We had another beautiful route on mostly quiet or even deserted roads. I think Diane and I both felt a little sluggish at the start, although the fact that we were climbing for most of the first 10 miles, and riding into the wind too, might have contributed to our heavy legs. But as the miles went by we started to feel a little stronger.
We had coffee at around mile 18, then after a little more climbing, including a long 8% grade, we finished with some delightful downhill and downwind roads. There was a stretch of an old train line converted to pavement along a beautiful river that was downhill at 2%, and downwind, and deserted. Modestine rolled along at 20 mph without any pedaling from her people, all three of enjoying the free ride that went on for about 3 miles.
Then lunch, of course. Salads and plats for the guys and a main course foie gras salad for Diane. We all had dessert too. And 500 ml of rose split 4 ways, a very moderate amount of wine.
After lunch we are resting. Later I’m going to walk to the cathedral again and light another prayer candle for safe cycling.
Tomorrow is our last tandem ride, a return to the Gorge de la Nesque. Last year we had some terrible cold and drenching wet weather there on our return descent, and we were unprepared and under dressed for the conditions. This year we are hoping for better luck. Maybe the prayer candles can help with that.
We saved the ride with the most climbing for last. But it wasn’t the hardest ride; the winds were gentle and the gradients mostly not too steep. 41.4 miles and 3200 feet of climbing.
Gorges de la Nesque Overlook: Fantastic Photo Op!
This loop along the Gorges de la Nesque is probably the most beautiful ride we’ve done in France, which is saying something. We did part of it last year, but John found a way to turn it into a fantastic loop. A long gentle climb along the Gorges, then a drop before a steeper climb to well above the previous summit. We even had a view of the Gorges overlook from well above it at the second summit. Then a long 10 mile downhill that required no pedaling but plenty of braking for 90 to 180 degree turns.
Then a final climb up to a village on a hill and a delightful lunch with an amazing view.
We rode for over 3 hours before the lunch break, and while we did stop for photos and to admire views, that is a long time to ride on just water. But while everyone else was ready to enjoy lunch, I wasn’t sure I was.
Lunch with a View
At 2 am the previous night I woke up with stomach trouble. It continued when I got up and after breakfast, which I had picked at, eating as much as I could, which wasn’t much. I wasn’t feeling great although I was riding ok, but it was a struggle.
So I approached lunch tentatively. I ate slowly and without any great appetite, but everything tasted ok and stayed where it was supposed to. I still feel a little off but considerably improved. I’m hoping I’ll be fine tomorrow.
I have some time to recover. Tomorrow we are not riding. After a transfer Diane and I will stop at the Nimes train station, and I’ll see her off to Paris at 10:45. Then I’ll walk 15 minutes to the hotel where John will have left my bags. Jack and I will spend Saturday relaxing. On Sunday we go to Girona Spain for 4 days of riding.
At the end of today’s ride we returned Modestine to the shop that rents her. We said goodbye again, out loud. I don’t know if we will ever ride her again, but it might happen. Cycling in France is magical enough to make us want to come back.
Final tandem totals :
11 rides, 411 miles, 24,307 feet of climbing
Too many great views, charming villages, delicious meals and wonderful roads to count.