A beautiful, sunny morning and very little wind. Perfect conditions for our 50 km ride. Fast downhill start and then a steady ride through the woods. A car passes us, the elderly occupants waving and tooting. We are both a bit nonplussed until we realise it is a couple who we often meet when they are out walking. Another rapid descent downhill and then onto the chemin rural, a rough cross country track. The surface of the track isn’t too bad but we have to swerve and duck to miss the overgrown brambles and nettles.
Out on to the main road we make good progress until we have to do an emergency stop after a white van shoots out of a side road. The driver is very apologetic, it was a near miss. Apart from being attacked by an angry wasp the ride is uneventful as we continue our journey. We stop in the town of Prayssac for coffee and croissants; for once I can justify the calories.
From Prayssac we follow the River Lot and cycle through the vineyards towards Grézels. High up in the hills the ruined Chateau de La Coste looks down over the valley.
|Chateau de La Coste|
We cycle down a pretty, leafy lane and cross a narrow bridge over the river before heading back towards Puy l’Evêque (Bishop’s Hill).
Puy l’Evêque is a picturesque medieval town built around the Bishops' castle on the cliffs above the river. Beneath it is the wharf where the river barges used to transport the region's wine to Bordeaux for export. We cycle through the town before turning off the main route onto a quieter road to start the slow climb up the valley towards Loupiac. My pace slows and I’m starting to feel the heat of the day. I try to concentrate on the flora and fauna as I ride. The crickets are chirruping and wild chicory is abundant along the verges. I envisage Chris Froome with his rhythmic style of hill climbing. I think about what I’m going to write on my blog. Before I know it we have reached the crossroads at the summit of the hill and I have qualified for the polka dot jersey – King of the Mountains.
We turn left and head towards Cassagnes, taking a twisty but mostly downhill route through the woods, arriving at the lake just six kilometres from home. We stop at the lake for a rest before climbing another long hill, one that we tackle on a fairly regular basis. Paul breaks away and reaches the top way ahead of me. He is pleased because he has just achieved his personal best. I’m just pleased because I’ve reached the top. An easy ride home now. A long, leisurely lunch and an afternoon watching the Tour de France.