Saturday 24. 09.16 La Barre de Monts – St. Gilles la Croix de Vie (35kms)
After checking into the hotel, I changed into a cyclist and we piled into the car to set off to locate the cycle route. We found a car park not a great distance from where the map indicated the cycle route should pass. Leaving Al to explore the area or go back to the hotel, I confidently and enthusiastically shot off in the direction of the sea. ( after all this is a route which follows the ocean – more of that later.) As I was to discover during much of this ride, the sea was often obscured by trees as was the case on this inauspicious commencement. I found myself confronting a dead end, or so I thought, until the usual helpful locals arrived and walked me 5 metres to show me a sign clearly indicating my chosen path! My profuse thanks were accepted with a gentle headshake such that one would accord an ignorant six year old. (and a 70yr old!!! – Ed.)
The woodland track wove and undulated its way along an invisible coast with the trees markedly reducing the force of my old favourite, the nostril wind! The sea front towns I passed through could have been on another planet the wind being only one of the differences.
Admittedly it was Saturday, the sun was shining and the temperature was around 25 degrees C but……………….. there was an ever present danger of killing a pedestrian sauntering along oblivious of the rest of the world, bumping into a vehicle looking for a parking spot on the cycle path or worst of all, being run down by a fellow cyclist. These weekenders had all the appearance of focussed beach worshippers and had left at home their general awareness of the population in general. Thankfully, I avoided killing anyone or colliding with a vehicle but it was vital to remain alert and vigilant, so admiration of the sea itself was a definite no no.
Despite having to avoid the numpties, I made good time. I crossed the final bridge and nearly came to an unfortunate end on hearing a voice in my left ear say “Well done.” It was Al intending encouragement and support.