Monday, October 15, 2018

100km in a day

French Village Diaries 100km in a day bike ride
Village art along the way
For the fourth consecutive year, I, Jacqui Brown, now aged 47 years old, have cycled my 100km in a day birthday challenge.

French Village Diaries 100km in a day bike ride
The clock tower in St Jean d'Angeley
Despite knowing I am less cycle-fit this year than last year, I was still determined to give it my best shot and think it’s worth celebrating my achievement, even if a lack of time to plan a new route meant we re-ran last year’s route to St Jean d’Angeley.

French Village Diaries 100km in a day bike ride
Homeward bound on tree-lined roads
You know life is busy and hectic when an event like this gets squeezed in around other commitments, seems like the easiest thing you’ve achieved in the last few weeks and then quickly becomes forgotten in the craziness of life.
French Village Diaries 100km in a day bike ride
Following (in the wrong direction) the Chemin de St Jacques
The weather was perfect; calm, sunny and not too hot, and taking the back roads through small villages meant there was always something to catch my eye and give me a good excuse to hop off the bike and take a photo or two.

French Village Diaries 100km in a day bike ride
Beer and pain aux raisin halfway there treat
As usual, our halfway point was marked with a beer and a patisserie, sat in a shady square in St Jean d’Angeley. Here we met another couple of cyclists out for one of their first rides on a pair of matching Brompton bikes. Adrian was rather excited to spot the Brompton’s as his beloved Brompton (Delila) lives in the UK and I think he misses her when he’s back with us in France. If I had a crystal ball, I’m sure I’d see a vision of the two of us cycling on Bromptons here in France in the not too distant future.

French Village Diaries 100km in a day bike ride
Look at these beauties!
I certainly hope to celebrate many more birthdays in this way with Adrian, my route planner, by my side, and have to credit our neighbour Pierrette who is a real inspiration to me. She will be having a hip replacement next month, but despite this, and being 78 years young, she is still out on her bike every weekend. She claims that although uncomfortable to walk, cycling doesn’t hurt her hip at all - until she gets off the bike. I may not be doing 100km in a day when I’m 78, but I do still hope to be cycling, just like Pierrette.

French Village Diaries 100km in a day bike ride
Home for a dip in the pool!

Cycling is more than good exercise, it is also a great way to clear your mind, focus on something different and escape the stresses of daily life. The past month or so has seen me drowning in dossiers of French paperwork, helping friends in situations that have tested my translation skills to the max, as well as learning a lot about friendship, compassion and what the important things in life really are. I’ve even had the excitement of a film crew in the village, interested in our worries and concerns as the Brexit nightmare looms ever closer.


Ed in Poitiers


I am slowly accepting that Ed is doing OK living on his own in Poitiers, hasn’t starved to death, and is occasionally cooking real food as well as opening tins and reheating the contents. In fact, Poitiers is becoming reassuringly familiar and from what I have seen, I am not at all surprised it is ranked in 2nd place in terms of quality of student life, for towns in France with up to 40,000 students. I still feel rather cheated that he had signed his first rental contract at only 17 years old, but this has probably helped me come to terms with the fact that by the time this week comes to an end my baby will be a child no more, but an 18-year-old adult who is already well on his way to an independent future.