Gilly-Les-Chateaux to Veselay

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Great riding through uncluttered French countryside

Today was a gorgeous ride. Rolling countryside, towns scattered along the route, cooler weather than we’ve been having and generally quiet roads (albeit with a greater mixture of good and not-so-good surfaces than we’ve been experiencing) providing a sense of moving through the landscape. It’s the sort of cycling I particularly like.

The day’s stats at a glance ~

  • distance: 135.5 kilometres
  • total ascent: 1650 metres

map of our route, showing coffee and lunch stops:

the route profile

The day began with a wander through vineyards, where I didn’t take any photos because Dianne and I wanted to keep up a good steady rhythm. Besides, I took some photos of pretty much the same area yesterday! It was a very pleasant beginning to the day, with just a bit of gentle climbing then a few kilometres of flat riding before we go onto our first real hill of the day. Not a real hill for grimpeurs of course, but for us old farts with tired legs it was a hill, but quite a nice one. About three or four kilometres averaging around 5 percent gradient. Quite a nice warm up, really.

It wasn’t until about the 30 kilometre mark that Dianne and I stopped to take our first photos, where a canal boat was waiting to be transported through a lock. Di took this photo from the front quarter …

Waiting for the water to go down

… while I was lining up this shot from directly in front which shows the lock operator winching open the gates to let the water level lower so the boat can get through …

Lock operator at work

Naturally this canal is situated between two ranges of hills and it was after we crossed it that our biggest climb of the day presented itself. Again, compared to what we’d been doing through Austria, this was a piece of cake – enjoyable even! Once up that hill we rode for a while at around 500 metres above sea level through wheat fields. I stopped at one point to photograph some cornflowers growing on the edge of one of those fields …

Cornflowers and wheat

From here on I can’t definitively say where I took each photo that I’m sharing here. Maybe if I loaded them all up on Strava but I can’t be bothered. Suffice it to say that I took a bunch of photos of buildings …

A random austere church in one of the villages we passed through
A beautiful house typical of the area
The Château Flée undergoing restoration

… and Di wanted to stop to take a photo of a “typical French country scene”, i.e. not want relying on tourism but one that is just getting on with the business of agricultural production. Here’s what she saw …

A small French village surrounded by fields

For lunch Francesca had organised for us to stop at a great little spot in the town of Époisses – famous for its cheese – where we had a great picnic spread set out for us. As it was Bruno’s turn to drive the van it was him who welcomed us in for this delicious lunch at Délices du Terroir …

Now this was a GREAT lunch stop!

Just after lunch stopped to take a few photos …

You wanna get in? Just try it!
Ducks in the moat. Often presented for dinner in days gone by I reckon.

While we were paused by the side of the road The Rider Who Shall Remain Nameless came by and asked if we’d like our photo taken. This is the result (not bad for an amateur 😉) …

Later, Dianne and I leapfrogged each other for a while taking photos. I paused to take a shot of this tower …

Here’s one she took of me passing …

… after I had taken this photo of an old manor that has now been converted into a hôtel …

At a sharp left turn Di dropped her chain and while I stopped to wait for her to have a look at it I took a couple of photos from a bridge …

Di had a few issues with her bike during today’s ride, mostly due to connector cables for her Di2 shifting working loose. Luckily both Bruno and Jose were in the right spot at the right time to help us resolve these issues. I can see that I’m going to have to come up to speed with this electronic shifting mumb0-jumbo – which supposedly works like a charm. (“Once you try it you’ll never go back to mechanical shifting” is what many of our cycling friends have said. Well, personally, I may just never adopt it, based on what I’ve seen so far!)

At the end of the ride I asked Bruno to have a look at Di’s bike because it has become increasing noisy and she’s started to have issues with dropping her chain. Despite having her bike serviced just before we left home (because I haven’t yet brought myself up to speed with her shifting setup I thought it wise to get a bike shop to give her bike the once over) a number of things were loose, most noticeably the chainring bolts. I’m hoping that this slackness in the system might be confusing the electronic shifting front derailleur and Di won’t have any further shifting issues for the rest of our trip.

The image that I will leave you with is this one of Vezelay, where we are spending the night. Di took it a short time ago from the window of our hotel room …

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