Sunday, April 10, 2016

Preparing for La Sarthe a Vélo

Golden yellow fields and a turreted chateau 

We have been out and about on our bikes today, finally clocking up some kilometres to practice for our trip to La Sarthe, and not before time, as next Sunday (also our 18th Wedding Anniversary) we will be on our way. A few months ago I was sure that by the time we reached 'one week to go' our legs and sitting bones would be bike and saddle ready, however things haven't quite gone to plan. Cycling has had to be squeezed in around Adrian going away for work, cold and flu bugs that kept us tucked up indoors and weather that wasn't too wet, too cold or too windy. Last weekend we managed three bike rides, this weekend it's only been one, but despite a busy schedule, this week we will have to be out on the bikes - whatever the weather.

On my bike

We have also been playing with our panniers. As you can see, Adrian will be carrying the bulk of the gear, which is very generous of him, although I think he is worried I'd be slower than a snail if I was cycling fully loaded and he is probably quite right. If you look closely you will spot an unusual bottle carrier that we will be taking with us. The plan is to find a local bottle of wine (possibly direct from a vineyard) during the afternoons that we can enjoy as our reward when we get to the hotel each evening, assuming we remember to pack the bottle opener. One of our bike rides this week will be a practice run with the panniers, just to make sure the extra weight isn't going to cause any problems.

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I'm really looking forward to exploring La Sarthe by bike and discovering the delicious delights this region (and its patisseries) have to offer. We have become quite the talk of the village with most people thinking we are slightly mad setting off to cycle 420 km in a week. There has been lots of sniggering about sore bottoms and the wet and hilly north, but I've also been told that the area is famous for its rillettes (rich pâte meat) that I'm sure with a baguette will make a tasty lunch. The final countdown is on, I've just got to finish the quarter end accounts, spring clean the house, post a book review and an author interview and write my monthly column for The Deux Servres Monthly magazine, then Adrian's parents will be arriving and we will be ready for the off.