Sunday 9 September 2012

DAY 1 Bordeaux Airport to La Reole Saturday 8th Sept

Joe’s flight arrived on time but Pierre was delayed so it was around 11.40 before the bikes were loaded and they were away. It was very hot and they were in full sun. They went astray in Bordeaux and although they got back on track, they’d added additional kilometres to an already tough first day.

Neither Joe nor Pierre had managed to get in the training that they’d hoped for prior to the trip so they both found this first day hard. The temperature displays on the chemist shops showed 38 degrees in the shade and the heat was reflecting back from the black tarmac. They had a snack at a café for lunch but it was thirst that was the main driver. They finished their water bottles, stopped for a panache at a bar and bought lemonade in a supermarket to keep up their liquid intake.

After being mainly on roads, thankfully the last 15-20 kms were on a cycle route along the Garonne. It was a wonderful cycle path alongside the water and led straight to the campsite. Finally there was some shade and it was good to cycle along. If they had had to continue on the roads, they may not have reached the campsite that evening.

The campsite was clean and basic and after putting up their tents, they headed off to a nearby brasserie for food. Whilst they were there, thousands of white insects exploded over them – like mayflies. The bar switched off their lights so that they wouldn’t attract the insects. The locals said that it happens from time to time. For 1-2 hours they hatch, fly then die.

So after that excitement, it was back to the campsite and to bed. It was an interesting run, but a hard first day, at 97 kms.

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