Saturday, October 28, 2006

Rest Day

Today was supposed to be a day of rest.

Having spent two days driving from Dunkerque down to near Lourdes, we were all knackered either from the driving, or the stresses of being couped up for two days. The driving was beyond boring, and I suppose the kids didn't think much of it either.

The original plan was to stay at a campsite near Futuroscope (sp) for a couple of days, though after racing to get there before 10pm, we found it at 9:15, all shut up. So back to the nearby autoroute, a few miles further done, and a night at the services instead.

The campsite we have found is pleasant, as are the peeps who run it. When we arrived they kindly offered their services for a lift to the nearest villages should we need provisions . Of course knowing nothing of where the nearest bakery was this morning, we set off (albeit belatedly), and walked the best part of 4 miles, before we found a boulangerie, and breakfast, and of course the walk back again.

Once returned it was lunchtime. The hour of day, I knew not, though suffice to say any calories I'd taken on at breakfast were long gone. Whilst Ann sorted lunch, I got the bikes out ready for an afternoon jaunt, and the kids played in the adjacent playground.

We'd noticed a cycleway earlier, which was to be the afternoon's entertainment.

Tom nearly put an end to our plans for the afternoon just then, by jumping off the top of the slide without using the normal route from the apparatus. Only about 4 foot to the ground, but he did have a bit of a limp for a while, and a graze on his nose. Skye told him off, and advised him to be more careful next time.

Our ride started off innocently enough. A pleasant afternoon, the temperature nudging 25 degrees C, and the route a disused railway line. 10 kilometres passed before we reached the disused grand station at Pierrefitte-Nestelas. No far enough yet to turn back, so we elected to head on towards Cauterets.

Cauterets, a quaint French ski resort is not far from Pierrefitte, maybe 10 km, though as we were soon to find out it was all uphill.

I on my Bullit, had Skye on her tag-along. Ann on her Poprad, had Tom in his Burley trailer.

Our route was, great in as much as it ran parallel to the road on the ascent. However it was covered for the most part in a fine gravel, that made progress difficult for Ann and her narrower tyres.. There was one nice steep section that, previously a metalled road, now sported some nice course gravel. Progress was akin to it being surfaced in ball bearings. Bearings of course would have rolled down the hill.

Cunning these French cycle path builders.

We'd hoped to bask in the last rays of sunshine whilst drinking an aperitif in Cauterets at the summit of our route before descending.

Instead a quick visit to the shop aka "SHOPI", some cake, water, and some bin liners to shove up the front of our shirts to keep the chill off on the high speed descent.

What had taken us maybe 1 1/2 hours to ascend, took about 10 minutes on the road to descend.

10 minutes of HIGH SPEED fun though. Skye as always shouting faster Daddy. Daddy being very glad he'd bought the bin liners.

Back home, and I washed the bikes which though no mud today were looking neglected. Ann's looking particularly shoddy since the 3 peaks have passed since the bike had any attention.

Worthy of mention is Skye having walked 8 miles first thing today, and then cycling 40Km this afternoon.

She'll be 5 soon

Tomorrow the Tourmalet.

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