Saturday, October 13, 2012

London to Paris, day 3

Well. Day three. This time we were riding from our hotel just outside of Arras down to Thourotte near Compiegne. It was the North side of Compiegne meaning we had further to go on day four but let's not worry about that yet. The day wasn't off to a great start with our support driver Colleen having succumbed to a bug of some sort and being very ill. No one else was affected but it meant that the mood was pretty low for a start. Still, we had a day to do. I think that attitude really helped me all the way through; any problem would be overcome because we were going to cycle to Paris. That was the plan and that was what was going to happen. Mick took the lead from the off
and we were away.
The peloton was definitely more hushed today. As the day warmed up we cut through the countryside but talk was minimal. The route today passed through the Somme and soon we were seeing signs for the military cemeteries. Sure enough we came to a British memorial cemetery and stopped for some thoughts .
Immaculately kept amongst the rolling golds and dry greens of the surrounding fields, it certainly brought home the emotions.
I think this sums it up:
Time and thoughts passed and we had an update from Michelle on Colleen, still not well. Their plan now was to stay as long as possible in the Arras hotel and then press straight on to the Thourotte hotel. Kim was with us in her car but all our supplies including lunch, drinks etc. were in the van. We consulted maps and roadbooks to get a measure for how the day would pan out

and then time to pedal again.
The roads were still smooth and a pleasure to pedal on as our cranks turned. It was getting warmer and warmer though. Sunglasses were definitely a good move and I was glad of having shorts and not bibs on. The application of suncream first thing had also been a great idea! My poor ginger skin would have suffered otherwise. He he.

Our bellies were grumbling soon enough despite munching on whatever was stored in the jersey pockets, our route took us through Ham and sure enough we were seeing signs for Ham, and if that wasn't enough of a taunt there was also the town of Brie to contend with! Argh! Knowing that we didn't have our lunch to rely on due to the absence of the van we were happy to see Kim in a layby as twelve o'clock came and went. Thinking of how tough it was going to be to find a grocers or market open at lunchtime on a Sunday in France we asked if she could grab some bread, meat, cheese and milk for us and we would meet her in Ham. Kim took off like a scalded cat and we resumed pedalling. 

Passing a small town with a thermometer on the Pharmacy, we could see it was 30'C. That's quite warm. Plenty warm enough to be pedalling in on low supplies and an emptying belly. We had a call from Kim to say that there were no shops open, but that there was a market running in Ham, and there were food vendors. Result. So hungry right now.
After circling Ham and passing through the busy streets of traders and buyers we found Kim and shortly after found the first available food stall and began eating.
I can't describe how ready I was for mystery meat in a wrap. Once the first course was consumed we wandered through a little more and found another bar selling possibly the best chip butties ever; baguette with sausages and then chips on top.
Blooming lovely and so needed.
Off again, but not for too long as all the water and pop consumed at lunchtime had to make an exit again in short time.

As we were moving further South the countryside was changing. Although there were still plenty of fields, the built up areas were turning up quicker each time with less space between them.
Noyon was the last big town on our list before we got to our destination for the day, and once through it the countryside was a little greener, hinting at what we would experience the next day. It was getting harder though, no doubt about that. A day of riding in sun, with limited supplies really took its toll on me and as we approached the hotel I was pretty much spent for the day.
Once at the hotel and sorted out we had a quick meeting in the foyer to talk through how Colleen was doing (getting better) and how we were going to approach tomorrow, the final day. With plans made and bellies rumbling we headed into town to get some grub.
Sunday night wasn't the ideal night to find somewhere to eat, especially in a small town. The pizzeria we had expected to find was missing, presumed closed. Luckily there was a small bar with a takeaway pizzeria attached. We got beers in and consulted the menu, wrote down our orders and presented it to the lady running the pizza ovens. The poor lady had a look of shock at the order for seven pizzas and three salads, as well as dealing with the normal clientele orders. Beers were drunk, and plenty of water in my case, and soon enough our table was awash with pizzas with silence descending as we dived in.
So good to eat! Jay, Aidan and myself had the largest pizzas and despite best efforts we still had a slice each remaining after our stints. Back to the hotel with pizza baby bellies. Kit was laid out for the next morning, food and drinks were prepared and alarms were set as it was going to be an early start...
Mileage for the day was 65
Route here

No comments:

Post a Comment