Monday 10 July, Kieron Ramsay and I begun our four-day epic ride back to London from France, setting off from Argenton les Vallees to Mayenne. The day’s ride started off fairly easy, with some windy roads that were flat and quiet, helping us with our warm up. We both said how much we were already missing seeing the sunflower fields and turned round the corner and saw some – although it was sad to see them all closed without the sun.
It wasn’t long before we were off road once again, meandering through tough terrain in a forest. The navigation took us down a dirt track with a bit of tape across it, which we ignored and pressed on. Sure enough a 4 x 4 driver came by and shouted something French at us, which we understood to mean that we were riding through private property. We decided to find our way back onto the road, getting fed up with the bumpy dirt paths and ended up cycling on a lot of downhill – a pleasant relief.
We decided to take a break at the nearest town to have a coffee and a saddle break. We were bemused to find the shop we had stopped at, had anyone and everyone coming in and out, placing bets on horse races. Seemed quite a nice change from doing cycling and watching loads of it on TV with the Tour de France on to see another sport in action!
After a few more hours of riding, we stopped by a church to eat some of our Quiche Lorraine and pizza from the patisserie, yummy and gave us the extra boost we needed after a sluggish day so far. Once we got back on the road we ended up going down quite a long gravely path which was difficult to navigate through. Kieron and I were chatting about how crappy the path was, saying how lucky we were about not having had any punctures yet and low and behold, psssssst – our first puncture!
Kieron being the pro that he is, got all of his stuff together, repaired it in a speedy 19 mins and made it look easy (compared with my winning time of an hour!). I looked on and took notes, only to crease up when it came to Kieron putting air in his inner tube, priceless.
After being set back a mere 20 minutes, we pressed on and headed back down the former railway line with lots of crocodile haribo to keep us going. At the 160km mark which was closely followed by 1,000ms climbed, we took a well deserved break to celebrate with high fives and some more sugar.
After a bit more cycling, we arrived in the beautiful town of Mayenne. We’d hit rush hour and it was big and busy. On the way to our Air B n B, we stopped off at the only supermarket we could find, stocking up on as much protein rich food, beer and wine as I could fit in Kieron’s bag! After exiting the supermarket, we trekked up an unexpected steep hill and arrived at our host, David’s for the night.
David was welcoming and immediately asked us as best as he could (through Google translate) about our trip and ride. We instantly connected as David is a marathon runner and triathlete and was also celebrating his 50th birthday with us! Bon Anniversaire David! We headed for our room, gorging on food and drink in between showers and attempts at stretching. A solid day’s riding and another 170km closer to home!
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Donate to Dementia UK now via my Just Giving page here, or text PBME81 to 70070, followed by the amount you want to donate.