Today’s ride is sponsored by New Lodge Contractors

Vic-la-gardiole to Sante Marie la mer

Today was the day we were getting into our stride, another 100 miler but a flat one along the coast. Nice and straight forward day… so we thought!!!

We started the ride along a cycle way with the sea on one side and nature reserve on the other. Hundreds of flamingos were fishing which got David very excited as his nick name at the start was pink flamingo due to his bright pink leggings at the beginning of phase one.

The pace was fast to start with averaging over 20mph until we hit towns which soon brought the speed down. The first town was Sete, a walled city with narrow busy streets, probably the busiest pace we had seen in France. Then we headed inland slightly, stopped for a coffee at a town called Agde. All was good 25 miles in, smooth roads and a fast pace, we’re going to have this done by 3pm.

Spoke too soon! As we left the café we were onto a rough track for about 5 miles along a canal. Eventually, we found a road so decided to deviate from the planned route which took us inland a bit further than we planned, but the road was smooth and we could work our way round.

At 12 we were ready for some food we came into a village called Lespignan with a few bars. Unfortunately, they only served drinks so a beer it was and on to the next town. Again the next town was closed – nothing new there!!! We eventually got back to the sea. Sainte-Pierre-la-Mer where we found a restaurant and got a great lunch, plat de jour starter salade de burgur main cheeseburger et frites and some sort of dessert, all washed down with a beer.

Only 45 miles to go so we decided on an easy pace considering how much we had eaten. 500 yards in and I decided to get some drafting behind a van. Soon the easy pace turned into a fast 28mph pace working as a team changing the lead out to take the wind. There was very little traffic so flying round the roundabouts at full pace, then one particular roundabout BANG man down!!! For some reason, the French decided it was a good idea to drop a ton of loose gravel on a roundabout and I went down hard and slid across the road. We wear helmets for a reason and looking at the state of mine now, I am glad I had one on or I might not be writing this blog now.

So 40 miles to go, the pictures only tell half the story – gravel rash down the full left hand side, badly bruised hand and some very expensive cycling shorts ruined! But the bike is ok, just one dint on the gear changer so all ok. After a short spell very dazed and having to lay down at the side of the road there was no choice but to get on and get back on the bike 🚴‍♀️

A bit steadier pace now just got to get to camp. After 5 miles we turned onto another rough track. This one we were expecting, it was 8 miles on a rough track with the sea on one side and a huge lake on the other. Our alternative was an extra 30mile riding on roads. The going was tough, especially with the damaged hand but we got through with no punctures or mechanicals. Road all the way to camp now. The boys worked together relentlessly taking it in turn to take the wind dragging me along. It’s times like this when the team pulls together and works as a unit when a man is down. Thanks guys.

So finally back at camp. A bit bloody but straight into the shower to wash out all the gravel I had collected, feeling a bit sore and ache, but ok 👌 Let’s see how I feel in the morning.

The girls have once again prepared a wonderful dinner for us and it’s Friday night so party 🎉 time 😂 Well the boys might.

Tomorrow is only 72 miles but 5000 feet of climbing over the Pyrenees. The best thing is that we will be out of France 🇫🇷 and into Spain 🇪🇸. No disrespect to the French, but everywhere is closed and empty, do any of them work? Those we have met have on the majority been very rude with some downright aggressive. There has been the more minority who have been pleasant, but it has been few and far between. We do have to drive up the west coast of France on the return journey, maybe we will have more luck there?  

So for a bit of rest and healing in preparation for tomorrow’s ride.
– Sean