As expected we both awoke with aches and pains and decided on an easier day at a slower pace which seemed to work ok and we survived 38 miles. Funny how 38 miles is now seen as short! But the paths and route were fairly easy though the gpx differed from the signs in Rochfort where a couple of cyclists spoke to us when we checked the map, and they gave us a 3rd option of going via the pont transborder which is a moving platform under a raised bridge. As we’d never been on one we though it’d be fun and it has nothing to do with cutting out a long corner! Sadly the bridge closed at 1230 with the last crossing 15 mins before and we arrived at 1225, but we must’ve looked like we needed it and they ran it across – phew.
With knackered bodies and still aching knees we set our target for a campsite we liked near montalivet where we promised ourselves some restful downtime to recover. The route was very smooth and good going but some killer little hills where our knees could only just cope. We made the Royan Verdon ferry which was fine – a much more favourable €5 each rather than the €50 ish the van cost, and made it to our campsite at, oops, 48 miles. Bit more than we guessed. But time off to relax and hopefully mend as well as trying to get since sun tan on our perfectly white untanned bits the cycle clothes covered up as we have brown arms and legs but white hands, shorts and t-shirts.
When resting I looked at our route and mileage and was quite surprised. We’d not actually added on many miles when detouring for food or campsite or getting lost, and actually we are ahead of schedule! With 460 miles completed we may only have just over 400 left meaning we will be short of our expected distance which was anticipated at nearer 1000. But with our aches we’ll settle for a lower number and take it easier from here. (edit: I was right first time – it was 1000!)
When heading south from montalivet the first 15 miles or so were superbly flat and smooth and even helped by a tailwind. After that though the next 10 our so were the hilliest so far, lots of steep ups and downs through a forest. But taking it slowly we survived the 35 miles to our last stop on the Atlantic without any pain, though maybe this was the nurafen! The campsite we chose was more suitable for younger families so we were happy to leave early for a a slow 33 miles over undulating forest tracks taking us to 554 miles and just on the archachon basin.
Interestingly the acsi sites with acsi discount seem to be the cheapest way in the tourist areas, even as cyclists we’ve been quoted €24 and many times over €20 so acsi at €16 Max is good value. The days of €6 are gone and god knows what we’ll be charged once July comes!
Anyway, after a nice quiet night in a nice campsite in Andernos-les-bains with a friendly English and Irish couple we left for a short 20 mile ride to Salles where we planned to rest our knees and have a day off before the stint to the canals leaving the Atlantic behind. So we pitched up, had a lovely smoked salmon baguette, and then Mel noticed she wasn’t wearing her wedding and engagement ring which must be in the grass at our previous campsite….. Argh!!!!!!
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Here is a list of stuff we're taking with us.... Each item seems to best, or best value for money. Lots of new toys which hopefully will have use after the event!
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