Friday, May 24, 2019
Thursday, May 23, 2019
Wednesday, May 22, 2019
The weather forecast for today was perfect so we wore our tour jerseys this morning. The bright tri-colours looked great. After the required photo ops we rolled off. I had set the start time at 8:30 Am but we managed to get rolling at 8:20 am. Such a punctual crew.
A few lefts, a few rights, a couple of bridges and we on the canal path out of Toulouse. The streets were busy with commuters and the canal path had a lot of bikes going both ways. The place was alive with people hurrying off to work. Within a few kilometers we were in the country and the only people we saw were those out for a morning walk or bike ride. The canal path was very smooth and we made great time. We were headed north along the left bank of the canal for most of the way. This put the sun on our right and was shining across the fields and through the trees making the canal just shimmer. It was so pretty.
At the 44 kms mark there was loud bang behind me. Sure enough Ken had a blowout. The blow out in his tire was right in the center of the tire and at least 4 cm long. Looking at the condition of the tire I am surprised that it lasted as long as it did. The cords were showing in several places around the tire. The section which blew out was right in the middle of a place where there was no rubber left. I had some duck-tape which I put on the inside of the tire and Ken had a good heavy boot cut from an old tire. We carefully centered the boot and off we went. The route followed the canal to the 55 km mark and then we turned on to some secondary roads which took us into a town at the 60 km mark. By now Ken’s tire is bulging quite badly. Being half way and about 11:30 we had lunch and weighted our options. We rode over to the train station to see if Ken could get a train in but as it was an un-manned station there was no-one to help us so we decided to have Ken call Agnes and catch a sag. Bob and I rode on.
The road had a center line but almost zero traffic. The odd car maybe once every 20 minutes or so. This made for a very nice ride as the sun was warming us and there wasn’t a breath of wind anywhere. The kilometers dropped off quite quickly and before we knew it we were at the first climb of the day. It was 1.5 kms of 7% at the 67 kms mark. Not a killer climb but it did get our attention.
From the top of the hill there was a great downhill followed by some very nice rolling hills. The country side was mostly grain farms with the odd vine yard and orchard. It looks like cherries might be ready soon. We came around a corner and there was a huge cathedral on top of a very large hill and we knew that we had come to the second climb of the day. There were a total of 6 switchbacks to get to the top. It was 1.8 kms of 6 %. As we chugged to the top there was a little village there an Bob said “If I don’t get some Ice Cream I am going to bonk”. I laughed and we rode off course towards the huge Cathedral and into a beautiful town square. Low and behold there was an ice cream shop. Hi fives were handed out.
From the top of the second climb it was 20 kms into Cahors. There was about 12 kms of rolling ups and downs but mostly downs and the last 5 kms was a huge downhill before entering Cahors.
Just as were we crossing the bridge into Cahors there was Agnes with Ken and the bike rolling into town. Yes it is true behind every great tour director is the people who do the work. Big Thanks to Agnes for rescuing Ken.
Tonight we are in the Terminus Hotel in Cahors. It is an 18 century hotel which is absolutely stunning. Set your watch back 300 years and you are in the lobby. Beautiful antique furniture, stained glass windows, huge wall paintings. WOW! Tonight we are dinning in the hotel dining room which has a huge list of glowing reviews. Peaking in the windows of the dining room and it does look special.
What a great day! Total of 122 kms and 532 meters of climb. It could be any better.
Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Monday, May 20, 2019
Once out of the castle and into Carcassonne the route was real easy and had us on the outskirts of town but no breakfast. Luckily we spotted a grocery store just as we were about to leave the city. I grabbed a few apricots, a baguette, some cheese and a two liter jug of orange juice. Baguette and cheese made a fine breakfast and the orange juice filled my water bottles.