Sunday 25. 09. 2016 St. Gilles Croix de Vie – La Tranche sur Mer (81kms and a bit)
It is early days and I had not quite got into the swing of things so this morning could be described as a little tense and disorganised. (No lists, you see). My bike was retrieved from the back of the car and my trailer unceremoniously dumped and opened in order that I might check I had packed all the ‘stuff’ I would need for my onward journey. Despite the time taken to check and recheck I was ready to pedal away by 10.00.
It was my first proper day and what a wonderful day on which to recommence the Velodysee. The weather was unseasonably warm- not hot- and sunny and the wind had come round so that, although not exactly behind me, it was certainly not in front! After a good few kms through the forest, the track ran along next to the coast and a blue and foaming sea was actually visible. This was followed by the marais – an astonishing area of marshy ground where there were times when it felt as though only me and my bike were above the water and that on a narrow causeway – (wobbling became a serious concern, not that drowning was a worry but the smelly water was hardly enticing for taking a dip.) Despite all this bog and water, enterprising folk had actually built homesteads on small plots of raised ground – no accounting for taste.
Civilisation reinstated itself (and how!) in the form of Les Sables d’Olonne where it seemed that yesterdays’ teeming crowds from St. Gilles had descended on this, a different town. For me it was a return to dodging people, cars and bikes. As is so often the case, when the signs are most needed, they disappear among all the other roadside furniture. In my anxiety to avoid getting lost, I suspect I irritated a few drivers and pedestrians with my little indecisions and subsequent dithers. The solution, it seemed, was to continue as far as was possible without falling into the sea and then carry on following the coast.
Relieved to have located my route I was moved to greet fellow travellers with a cheery bonjour. As I think I may have mentioned in previous blogs, I have noted a reluctance among my fellow travellers to recognise my call as a greeting – middle aged male cyclists in particular. Methinks I shall continue to annoy them.
As with the weather, the sea conditions for the sports people were excellent with an abundance of surf for kites, boards and canoes but possibly not so good for actually swimming.
So the old legs of one Old Bones lasted the 80 kms and by 15.30 I had found an adequate hotel with a restaurant which I was assured would be open’ ce soir’. It had been an encouraging start and my confidence was markedly increased. I didn’t hurt, I had got lost only momentarily and I had checked into a suitable hotel for the night.
Tomorrow will require a traverse of La Rochelle but hopefully Monday will signal a return to work for at least some of the pleasure seekers.