Vezelay to Saulieu 101 km (2 of them walking the bike)

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June 16th 2017
Published: June 16th 2017
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Look up to see the reason for the sheet
The day dawned surprisingly cool and cloudy, which was actually not unwelcome. The first order of business, however, was foraging for breakfast inasmuch as most (perhaps even all) of us decided that the 14 euros it would cost at the hotel was a bit pricey. And so we descended en masse to the boulangerie and emerged with croissants, quiches, and sandwiches for later in the day.

Prior to setting out I noticed that yesterday's pounding had loosened my headset, so I spent a few minutes rectifying that before heading off. The initial ride wasn't bad: a full 2km of pure descent before we turned south to resume our progress towards Nice. And that wasn't too hard to take either: rolling terrain featuring long gradual climbs that yielded sweeping panoramas followed by highly enjoyable downhill runs. Just before one major climb the road surface actually improved to make things easier and it stayed that way for the almost interminably long descent that followed - pure cycling bliss on possibly the smoothest road I have ever encountered anywhere.

Thus encouraged, as the clouds started to burn off I decided this was a day to take it easy and let my legs

Lining up at the boulangerie
recover, so I pulled over near the top of the next climb and simply looked out over the valley while I ate half a banana. My mind was made up: I was not going to ride the longer alternate route. but would relax as somewhat of a tourist. Well that was the plan, anyway.

And so it was that I wandered through the market stalls in Corbigny, bought a few things to eat at the supermarket (this was where the '2 walking the bike' kms came from - what were you thinking?), and sat down for a snack by the river. I waved to Tom and Caroline as they rode by.

Not much later I collected my refuse (I'm that kind of responsible guy; I didn't see a trash bin) and resumed the ride, soon meeting up with Tom and Caroline who, after having just turned off the main road, had pulled over to discuss the route. After exchanging pleasantries I left them and set off for Lormes.

That was when reality started to assert itself. As if to make up for the morning's bliss, parts of today's route made yesterday's roads seem positively smooth in comparison,

Like it says
and the climbs were such that even in my lowest gear (which admittedly isn't really all that low) it still required some effort to progress. So much for taking it easy. At least things improved just before town, as the road snaked through the shade of a forest replete with the sound of birds chirping and water flowing.

Relief, alas, was short-lived and the rest of the day was spent dealing with the usual D road crap interspersed with occasional nicer bits of pavement. I began to wonder if I would actually have fared better on the alternate route even with its increased amount climbing. I also wondered if perhaps I should have just stayed on the main road to Saulieu (a shorter, more direct route that was not one of our 'official' options) rather than having turned off with Tom and Caroline.

All of this was academic, of course, so I just tried to take it as easy as possible and after another tumultuous descent pulled over to enjoy a pleasant picnic by the Chaumecon dam, serenaded by the sound of water coursing down the sluiceway. Thus refueled I set off for more ups and downs. I

Scenic views had us frequently reaching for our cameras
would have enjoyed one of the latter more had there not been a truck ahead of me that slowed for every corner, forcing me to brake as well when I otherwise wouldn't have had to.

Eventually, though, I finally made it to a junction with a smooth road just as Mesfin and Nora came riding by, lost. I assured them they had indeed stumbled back onto the designated route, and successfully led them to the road into Saulieu despite it being a left turn and not right as printed on our cue sheets. Then, after a bit of in-town confusion I located the hotel (and some other cyclists), only to learn it didn't open until 4:00.

But eventually it did and we got settled before going out for dinner (no photos because it was nothing special, just pizza - but way more affordable than the hotel restaurant's 39 euro menu, which wasn't very appealing in any case).

Two things I learned today:

• Many restaurants close in June for their annual vacations (so they can stay open to serve everyone else in August when they take theirs).
• I will definitely be moving to the more heavily-padded

Market day in Corbigny
cycling gloves I brought with me.

Additional photos below
Photos: 9, Displayed: 9



The terrain got more forested after lunch

Lavender or lupins? You decide.

What - the hotel only opens at 4:00?

Pompon meets Orlinski right outside our hotel

Tot: 0.117s; Tpl: 0.044s; cc: 6; qc: 24; dbt: 0.0135s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.2mb