Stage 12: Bourg-en-Bresse to Saint Etienne (197.5km)
True to form as a farmer, having complained about the weather being too cold and wet last week I am now complaining that it’s too hot. It was 34 degrees today as we cycled on a constantly undulating route through vineyards and past wine caves, (no chance of stopping for any sampling). Today’s climbs were long but steady – a constant 3% gradient which you can get into a rhythm with.
Like yesterday, there was hardly anybody about. Matt was a bit over-keen when adding salt to our waterbottles, (good for re-hydration on hot days), and we had quite a job trying to find a shop or bar which was open so we could top them up with water. When we did, the owner kindly let me use the hose he was watering his flowers with to hold over my head. Wildlife mention – loads of crickets everywhere – all over the roads, which adds to the concentration when trying not to run over them.
A very big thank you to Martin for the on-going loan of his spare bike. Was hoping that Matt could buy some bike parts/tools in St Etienne today since it is the former capital of the French bike industry, but when they arrived not only was there no bike shop but nothing else was open. Not even a small shop. We drove all round the town looking for somewhere to eat, (too late for the hotel restaurant), and all we found were two dodgy-looking kebab shops. So – opted to eat up the food we had left in the van – bread and pate and cheese.
Must say a big thank you to Marianne and Flo who are doing the milking between them back at Liberty Farm all the time I’m away. Hope the cows are behaving themselves.
Here is the link to the Radio Solent broadcast for anyone who wanted to hear it but couldn’t find it: