COVID stopped me…

Day 108, Nouan Le Fuzelier, 8.628 km

Confucius used to say that a picture speaks more than 1000 words … Here is my picture for today:

Cycling during a lockdown…

But since I have to find new occupations for the 8 hours of cycling a day that I will not be doing for the next month, I will start by writing a real article.

Departure from Nouan last Wednesday. Régis joined me with Candide (apparently giving a name to a bike has become the norm, Jay is feeling less and less alone…) and we will go down the Loire to Nantes. The government announcements planned for the same evening do not worry us, for my part I am convinced that there will not be a new lockdown… The start of the stage is very typical of the Sologne region: small pond, small forest, large forest, large pond, pretty houses, small pond, large forest… We are witnessing a real battle of colors, between the green of the pines, the yellow and the brown of the oaks, the rusty red of the ferns, the blue of the sky and the black of the road, it is magnificent.

First stop: Chambord! I also celebrate my 8,000 km on the bike and Bob suggests to add a few turrets to the castle to reach a total of 8,000 turrets, which would be more in line with its status as a thousand marker. I have written to the Elysee to make a request, I will keep you posted on the follow-up.

Régis and Candide
Chambord, 8th thousand marker
The forest in its autumn outfit

We reach the Loire a little after Blois, and with the Loire comes the wind. From the front of course, otherwise it wouldn’t be funny. Fortunately, we are from time to time protected by the trees. We also go through the vineyards, which also offer a hell of a palette of colors: green, red, orange, yellow, a feast for the eyes… We are almost at kilometer 100 for this stage and I want to do a little staging for Régis. I come near him and start to do a little teasing: « Something’s going to happen soon – Oh yeah, what? – Do you know how many kilometers we did today?” I look up and see a car coming. I am in the middle of the road and try to fall back to the side. But Régis is on the side. So I fall back on Régis (very logical as you can see). What happens then is what I imagine happens when a scooter and a truck collide: I continue with a slight bump and Regis falls on the ground. Fortunately, neither Regis nor Candide is angry with me in the end. I promise I will retake a bike license as soon as I have the time (did you say lockdown??).

The road along the Loire is superb, between the vineyards, the troglodyte houses, the forest or the sandbanks. And it ends up taking us to Tours at nightfall, where one of my aunts welcomes us for an aperitif and a cousin of Régis for dinner and overnight. Macron announces the lockdown. Great.

Sunset when arriving in Tours
We didn’t learn from the collision, we are living dangerously!!

We decide to continue at least until Angers. The Loire, the wind, the beautiful houses… the ingredients of the day before are still present. Small lunch break in a restaurant, probably the last one before a little while. Saumur. Angers. Another beautiful day that ends. Régis prefers to return by train to Paris with his sister who welcomes us for the night, I continue to Nantes and then I will return to Nouan to go and spend the lockdown there with my parents. The farewells to Candide and Régis are full of emotions: these were two very beautiful days (at least from my point of view, if someone has another opinion on the question, speak now or be silent forever!!).

I am alone on the road to Nantes, facing the wind, but with a short stage in front of me. Apart from a small passage in the mud, nothing in particular to report on the day. I avoid the city center when I arrive in Nantes and go straight to Dodo. We defy confinement and we meet at Nico’s for a raclette to enjoy a little more being able to be together…

The next day, turn around and return to the parents. It’s sunny, the wind is still blowing, but now it’s pushing me. I change banks to go up the Loire and I try to savor all the kilometers I have left to cover. The road is beautiful, the Loire too, the wind is pushing me, all that’s missing is a ray of sunshine to make the day perfect. 2 minutes later my wish is granted. Let’s enjoy!

The Loire
Mont Jean-sur-Loire

I return to Angers and make a small detour to La Flèche, in memory of the 3 years I spent there at school. The weather is clouding over, it is even starting to rain but I almost come to like it because I can pedal a little longer. I find a small corner of the forest sheltered for the night. In the morning, I notice that my little corner is not so well sheltered: it is pouring and windy, all the equipment is soaked, me too, but I still enjoy. These are my last kilometers for a while. Especially the ones where I’m almost at a standstill because of the wind. The road goes by. A little too fast for my taste. It’s a long day but at the same time I don’t want to stop. Blois. The Loire again. Then I ride back the path we traveled with Régis. Forests, ponds, small villages. Then home. For a month. I will at least have time to clean and dry the equipment before leaving… Damn COVID…

Blois

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