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Published: June 16th 2017
IMG_7045Updated Thursday June 15 (twice, as I lost my work again!)
Morning of course came far too quickly, and Day One unfolded in typical fashion: after gathering for the ceremonial photo shoot we headed off en masse in rush hour trying to figure out how to get out of the city and away from all the traffic and route-finding challenges. Unlike Robert Duvall's character in Apocalypse Now (roughly adapted) I hate the smell of diesel in the morning (I can actually taste it), and Paris being the metropolis that it is, even though we were in the suburbs it still took almost all day to consistently shed the cars.
Especially in light of yesterday's long ride and sleep debt I was quite unsure of my legs, and after about 35km or so I opted to leave the group and travel at my own pace. Paradoxically this meant going on ahead, as I find it more taxing to climb slowly (at the group's pace) than to do so at my natural speed. Also, I mistakenly believed that the ride was to be 135 km, and had hoped to take it easy in order not to overtax my already-adapting system. And
I was concerned that given the time that had already elapsed, I wouldn't have a hope of getting this blog up to date if we arrived late in the day.
We eventually did have some nice forested rides on sparsely-travelled roads, but this proved short-lived as we soon rejoined village traffic. My luck was especially bad as it seemed that I managed to hit a red light on every descent into town, thereby giving up the 'free' ride I had paid for with my climbing. And it was hot, the temperature at 11:30 having already risen to 31C.
At least the road into Fontainebleau had a wonderful shoulder for cycling, but in light of the heat, my misunderstanding of how many kms were left to ride, and the fact that the area around the Chateau was very roughly cobbled, I chose not to stop for a tour and instead continued on my way to Montargis, where I arrived before our van with the luggage. With nothing to do but wait, I set off to purchase some pretzels to replace all the salt I had sweated out, and discovered the vast Leclerc 'campus' just down the road from our
Where we're going
hotel - imagine a Costco type operation but multiply it by ten and you get some idea of the scale of this place: not only did they seem to stock everything that had ever been manufactured (as well as countless aisles of food) they also offered services like dry cleaning and haircuts and who knows what else; it was phenomenally impressive (too bad I didn't have the presence of mind to take a photo. Let's attribute that to fatigue).
As for supper, 2 others and I were not able to locate the pub where apparently everyone else had assembled, so we ended up opting for the Chinese buffet around the corner from the hotel. Hey, I've had French Chinese before when (as today) I was looking for vegetables, but this was a bit different. I never found any broccoli, but they did offer frog's legs so I had some of them (and a whole lot of other things, as you can imagine).
When I waddled back to the hotel I managed to use technology to solve a problem that had arisen: I had seen that I had been left a delivery notice for something I had ordered online,
Heading off into the morning sun
and post office policy is to hold unclaimed items for only 14 days, which would expire before my return. Thinking about how to deal with this (the post office requires ID so I couldn't send the neighbour who is looking after my place) I used the gmail Phone feature to call the post office and arrange for them to hold it longer. Neat, huh? Now if only I could figure out how to get the rest of the photos I uploaded to display....
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