|Distance||105.61 kms||65.87 miles|
|Climbed||598 meters||1,962 feet|
|Ride time (hours)||5.85||-|
|Avg speed||18.05 kph||-|
|Distance||352.04 kms||218.72 miles|
|Climbed||1,425 meters||4,675 feet|
|Ride time (hours)||21.85||-|
Friday, March 10th, 2017
I'm up at the crack of dawn and it is not warm. I lay in the tent for 10 minutes avoiding the inevitably frigid pack-up routine. When I do get going I realize that the tent is soaking wet from the morning fog. I decide to just strap it to the back bag with the cargo net and start riding anyways; I can stop later to let things dry out when the sun burns off the mist.
I'm wearing just about every article of clothing I have as I start down the canal path, including heavy gloves with inserts. The cold doesn't last long though, as soon as the sun reaches a reasonable height I'm stripping off the layers. The morning light is beautiful, mixing with mist on the canal, painting the church steeples of nearby villages light orange. A cyclist who is kitted out for a full expedition (four panniers plus oversized rack bag) passes me in the other direction. He grunts when I say hello so I don't stop to find out what he's up to.
I get off the canal in Pompignan for a coffee (okay, a double espresso) and something to eat (a pain au chocolat). The caffeine does wonders for my pace. In Montech I get off the canal again to buy water and a sandwich for lunch. By Castelsarassin the sandwich is burning a hole in my pannier, I've got to stop and eat it. A good opportunity to unpack the tent for drying now that the sun is high in the sky. I chat with a couple of Arab women who don't speak much French, I suspect they are recently resettled refugees but I don't dare ask the question. I give them a few pointers on how to talk about the weather in French. It must be tough for them here in a small town in France, I doubt there is much work around or much to do in general. At least it's a pretty setting.
At Moissac the canal path and I have to part ways, it is turning to the northeast but I need to go north. I get on to the départementale that doubles as the Camino de Santiago in this area. I don't see any pilgrims; still too early in the season I guess.
I've got some climbing ahead of me. Having done this route so many times I know the turns to make to get away from the traffic (not that there is much to begin with). A couple of hours of climbing through the hills of Quercy brings me into le Lot, then I'm home free for a downhill to my friends' place.
Hugs, a hot shower, and a stroll along the hill to see the sunset. An excellent dinner of foie gras and homemade pasta, then it's lights out. The bed feels delicious after two nights in the tent. Not that two nights is anything to brag about, but it's been almost a year since I've camped so it will take some getting used to. My legs are quite sore, probably a mix of not being used to carrying so much weight on the bike and the camping on cold nights.