Along the Lot

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September 23rd 2021
Published: September 23rd 2021
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Since we left the Perigord, we've been following the Lot river. Some of the time we've been riding right beside the twisting river, through narrow gorges as well as places where the valley widens out and the flat valley bottom is carpeted with farmland. Our route has also taken us up to the plateau above the river valley, with amazing views across the valley or to distant hills.

Today we had the most challenging ride so far. We started and ended at towns on the Lot - St Geniez d'Olt and Mende. However, in between we climbed an incredibly steep road to a summit at 1022 metres. Most of the climb happened over 4.3 km with a grade of up to 12%! From the summit we could see some old volcanic mountains. It was an amazing ride - very beautiful hillsides around us, and almost no traffic. It's a famous climb, and on the road people had painted messages of encouragement - or plaintive cries like "J'ai soif ... de biere!"

The descent was thrilling - even steeper than the ascent, I think.

When we got to Mende, we headed for a bike shop - I've been having trouble shifting with the rear derailleur. The very friendly mechanic looked at the problem right away, and discovered that the gear shift cable was frayed badly. He quickly replaced the cable and the housing, and now shifting is perfect again. Done with a smile for €26!

Tomorrow we climb to an even higher point - 1130 metres - but we're starting from a greater elevation, and we follow the river almost all the way, so our legs may be somewhat less grouchy at the end of the day. On the way we'll pass through Bleymard, where we cross the path Robert Louis Stevenson took on his walk through the Cevennes with a donkey.

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