Chilling at Moissac we looked at the map and checked our route and reckon we only have 5 cycling days till we hit the med! Campsites seem to be spread out a bit so the daily distance is what it has to be but should be achievable. But with the end being close we’ll have a rest day in between and have a special treat when we hit the med….. A visit to Aqualand in Adge where we’ve always wanted to go but never have – weather pending…..
Our Gps route takes us off the canal de midi after Carcassonne and no idea why. I seem to remember the canal route looked like it went miles out of the way, but lesson learned, there is probably a big hill there so we’ll probably follow the canal path, pending path condition. Also a few posts ago I thought we’d be well under 1000 miles and nearer 850 but now I think much nearer the 1000 mark…
Anyway, spooky small world syndrome, our friends we saw a couple of days ago have headed further north to another campsite where, would you believe it, they met the Irish couple who found Mel’s wedding rings who just so happened to have gone north as well. The world is very small but feels much bigger on a bike.
The next 38 miles were flat and smooth to just north of Toulouse where we were warned not to mistake a gypsy site for the campsite which was next door. The campsite actually looked a bit rough itself with loads of old wrecks there, but the camping and touring area and the facilities were actually quite good. We got a little wet in a short bust of rain but still being lucky, though I did get a bit wet when cooking tea. Probably run our of luck and decent path soon…
We went out looking for food or drink but the area surrounding the campsite is rather grim, and this was confirmed when we left the following day as the first few miles to Toulouse were not the prettiest. Getting into the city the canal becomes the canal de midi and the route through the city is good enough but misses the prettiest parts.
It gets better and hits the highest altitude at port Lauragais and at last the canal starts going down….! It’s been days since we’ve seen and down hill lock. But as expected we need all the help we can get as the path runs out and becomes a bit rougher and even single-track in places but it wasn’t that bad and are glad the previous 400+ miles were smooth! We made it to an excellent and cheap municipal sure in Castelnaudray after 46 miles but only after a beer stop! Felt like very hard going today… Still, it’s exciting, three more cycling days till the med….
The route to Trebes was all along the canal through carcasson but missing out on the sites of the city. The path was similar to naff UK canal paths but with a nasty headwind. So the 34 miles felt more like 64 and puts us in fear of the next day where we have to do we expect around 45 on the same surface. Urgh. Still, two cycling days till the med….
With the med in sight we skipped our planned day off and after a very windy and wet night we set off again but this time in the rain which fortunately cleared quickly. The paths were really poor more akin to single track where you could attack, jump the roots and blast over the rock gardens. With knackered legs, 25kg of luggage and a pannier rack which is really only held on with two screws and some spot welding then you have to go a lot slower. Saying that we did cheat and jump onto some parallel quiet roads which being a Sunday were virtually deserted – but this meant 17+ mph rather than 6-8….. Probably saved an hour or more as well as our bums.
Despite the paths being crap the canal De midi is prettier than the previous canals going through some pretty places, more varied scenery and passing bars and restaurants and ice cream sellers – seen more places to stop in last couple of days than the previous couple of weeks. Still, especially with our last detour onto the d5 and d11 we had a good day ending at Capestang after 42 miles. Which means only one more cycling day to the med!
So our last major cycling day started in good weather. To be honest we’ve been very lucky indeed with the weather – could’ve been a lot worse… The paths were pretty poor again but there were some better bits but a few cyclists warned us of a stretch that was impassable past Beziers and you had to carry bikes through bits. So naturally we rerouted along the road. Though amazingly my premonition of the panniers failing came true with Mel’s snapping a 10 mm steel support, no doubt caused by the bumps. But with some ingenuity, cable ties and the strap off the stove we managed a temporary fix. Maybe I should predict next week’s lottery numbers…
And thus after 910 miles or so we made camp in Adge on the med ready to just chill out on the beaches and enjoy ice cream and cold beer and let our legs rest. After tootling around here and including my ring rescue it’ll be 1000 miles by the time we get to Montpellier. So it’s taken 22 cycle days to the med, 28 day duration and 96 hours peddling. Loads of beach time is the reward.
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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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