Edit Blog Post
Published: June 16th 2017
No dress code for Day Two
I awoke neither refreshed nor hungry, both ominous conditions for an endeavour like this. It was only Day 2 and already I was back in 'France mode' and it felt like I had been cycling forever. Still, I was again hoping to take it easy in order to give my legs their elusive chance to adapt.
We started with about 40km of gloriously smooth pavement and very little traffic, but even first thing in the morning it was already quite hot. Early on I had remarked to Linda that the water bottle she had strapped to her seat pack looked precarious, and sure enough only a few kms later I found it lying on the road, so I loaded it into my bag wondering when I would see her again to return it; carrying it's extra weight wasn't a big burden, but it was still something I could have done without.
I made several stops at locations that looked interesting to me but which my camera couldn't quite seem to capture because of the morning sun, and I also saw a fox kit cross the road and then look at me curiously as I passed, but otherwise the riding
Not too shabby a house and entranceway
was enjoyable but very sweat-inducing. Fortunately those ahead decided to wait for everyone to coalesce at Rogny-les-Sept-Ecluses where I was able to return the fallen water bottle to its owner.
After Bleneau the pavement turned a bit 'buzzy' (which made travel more difficult) but thankfully there was the occasional cloud to shield us from the sun's rays. About 60km in I opted to make the side trip to the Guedelon castle site to check out for real what I had seen on TVO (see http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04sv5nc) - fabrication of a medieval castle using only authentic period techniques. Naturally this necessitated descending 2km that would then have to be regained in the heat, and although I didn't linger long enough to get full value out of my 14euro entry fee I took some comfort in knowing that I had helped finance an imaginative project that will span upwards of 15-20 years to complete.
I did, however, lose over an hour and lots
of sweat in the process. Following the drop into Treigny (I hadn't appreciated just how much we had climbed previously) there followed expansive views that accompanied long, slow climbs followed by 'bucking bronco' descents over the rough pavement
The water bottle reunited with its grateful owner
that is typical of secondary roads in France. As a few sprinkles occasionally fell, I could see showers and thunderstorms popping up in all directions, and frankly the prospect of cooling off in the rain at that point did have a certain allure. Just before Andryes I did hit some wet roads where one of the storms had just passed, and given the weather conditions and the fact that I had been passed by our van (meaning it was likely to be at the hotel when I arrived) I elected to forego doing the optional extra 16km and headed directly to Vezelay. The sun, however, did reappear in time to bake me on the climb towards Coulange-sur-Yonne and beyond.
To fully bring home the complete French riding experience the end of today's route offered our first true switchback descent (even if it was just a single switchback) and, unfortunately, our first taste of gravillon - the fresh spreading of loose gravel over tar that will eventually be embedded to form pavement (just like back home, summer is construction season). It's a challenge to negotiate with narrow bicycle tires, and can be downright scary (as well as frustrating) on descents
Gotta love the helmet tan I am working on
as it's prudent to moderate your speed to avoid the potential for the front wheel to 'wash out'.
Dinner, although late (we first hiked up even further up the hill to visit the cathedral), was fabulous (see photos) - beet (yes beet with a T) tartare, ham with Chablis sauce, and a very rich chocolate mousse that I was too busy enjoying to photograph.
Tot: 1.476s; Tpl: 0.044s; cc: 5; qc: 45; dbt: 0.0241s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb