Momentum

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~ a solo excursion of great joy ~

Rollin’ rollin’ rolling” and, oh! “what a difference a day makes

After quite a tough day in the saddle yesterday with lots of elevation and heaps of heat, today was a pearler. A good bit of distance and not a lot of elevation but some fun little ups and downs. Not anywhere near as hot as yesterday. Just about spot on really.

From Villersexel to Gilly-Les-Chateaux

Stats at a glance ~

  • distance: 155 kms
  • total elevation: ~ 1200 metres

With 155 kms on the menu we made an early start. Conditions  were sublime when we set off. Jose took this photo early of Di riding through the forest, which suggests how cool it was, and how quiet the road …

A little further on I spotted my roadside icon of the day …

And a little further again this very contented clutch of cattle …

On longer rides I kind of like to just keep tabs on where I am in my progress for the day, mentally ticking off milestones. (Yes, I know: a bit OCD.) At just on 20 kms, seeing this sign I pulled up and took a photo of the village in front of me …

The riding at this stage had been just lovely. Cool temperatures, little bumps that revealed a new view at each crest, lovely twists and turns. So good that I felt compelled to send a message to the rest of the group before pushing on.

I think it was just as I was exiting Presle – or maybe it was the next village along – I stopped again, arrested as I was by the sight of this classic steel Peugeot with downtube shifters that was standing by the side of the road saying, “Buy me” …

The owner came out while I was there admiring his machine and we had a brief conversation – me with my broken French and him listening patiently. Had this been a on the side of the road at home I’d have probably bought it so I could wheel it out with the lads from the Fat Boys at the Back of the Pack when they are having one of their group steel bike rides.

It seemed like no time had passed before I found Francesca where she had parked the van at 50 kms as promised for morning snacks and a water refill. Her chosen spot was right beside the village church in a patch of shade. Here’s a photo of my bike having a break at the entrance to the church …

 

Summer in France, especially when the Tour de France is on, is epitomised by sunflowers. This crop was just starting to really burst forth in magnificent yellow …

Unlike my home in Tasmania (the roadkill capital of the world) we have rarely see dead animals on the roads here in Europe, which perhaps makes it more startling and confronting when it does occur. Today I saw for the first time a pheasant that must have been hit by a car. It was beautiful even in death and I felt compelled to honour that beauty with a photograph …

Unlike the pheasant this gorgeous mob of horses was very much alive and kicking …

Lunch was meant to be at 83 kilometres in the town of Grey. Nothing was happening when I arrived there. Having to cope with our early start and no shops being open  and the short distance between our snacks stop and the designated spot, Francesca was going adapt and roll further on once she had a chance to get the necessaries for a picnic.

Bruno arrived towing David shortly after I paused at a little shop entering town intending to get a drink. He led the two of us down to the Saône River where there was an ice cream place looking across at an impressive bridge …

I didn’t bother with an ice cream but had a cooling drink. Francesca pulled in  to let us know where lunch would be. Evan was also in the van having a break from the road. He  tossed me an energy bar before they set off in search of victuals for our lunch. it was so good and timely later when I needed it that I took a photo of the packet …

 

Not much further along I stopped to document crossing the Saône River …

And then was delighted to come to what I took as a fairly significant water crossing …

 

 

Based on the map showing us going through a small town at 110 kms, Francesca was intending to  there. I sailed along through that point keeping a lookout but missed it. After realising I was out of the town and hadn’t come across lunch I turned back only to see Jose coming along the road with Chris on his wheel. It seems that we both made the same error in cutting a corner that didn’t seem necessary.

Distances are sometimes a little off so we kept on rolling, thinking perhaps the town ahead was the one we wanted. No such luck, and by the time we got there we both decided to push on without lunch – and more water – deciding to work it out as we went along. Jose and Chris were going just a little slower than me, and wanting to keep my momentum intact I pulled ahead again.

Realising I would need water long before the end of the ride I kept me eyes wide open for an opportunity to refill my bidon. Ringing in my ears was Bruno’s exhortation to ask someone in a town or at a farm for water if we found ourselves short. There weren’t very many people out in the midday sun but I did see a dear old grand-mère in her garden and politely asked in my very poor French whether she might mind filling my bottle for me. She was delighted to do so, and to pose for a photo …

At about the 20 kilometre to go mark I was starting to think that another refill would be a good idea. I detoured around this feature at the centre of a roundabout on the edge of another small town …

… into the town centre but there wasn’t a shop nor a fountain in sight.

Just past that town there was plenty of water in this château d’eau …

… but unfortunately it didn’t look like there as a tap anywhere. I decided it was just a matter of eking out my remaining supplies so on I went. Thankfully there wasn’t far left to go and before long I was delighted to finally arrive at our hotel.

While waiting for a beer to arrive I took this photo of a rhinoceros sculpture …

The rest of the Lionheart team drifted in and I got a few pictures to mark their arrival …

There’s more to tell about all three of those photos but, honestly, I’m just too tired to find the words at the moment. Maybe tomorrow. Right now, I’m going to bed!

Oh, but before that two things: Chris very much appreciated a nice armchair ride the last 70 kilometres to the hotel from strong man Jose. Great riding to the both of them: Jose for the steady tow and Chris for hanging in there. Big kudos to the both of them. Secondly, a greeting to an absent friend who under normal circumstances would have been here and the life of the party. Here’s to you Kay: we miss you very much!

3 thoughts on “Momentum

  1. Thanks for the mention Doug. The ride despite the climbing and heat certainly looks amazing and I am very envious. Say hi to all for me.

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