Day 4 – Domfront to Chateau Gontier

Yesterday was pretty tough (I think I’ve said that every day). Suisse Normandy in the rain finished me off. I slept well in two bites – once until 4am and then again until 8.10 am. When I woke a 4, I had a searing pain in my thighs – I think that’s what woke me up. I paid a visit (as you do). As I walked the 3 paces to the bathroom my legs had the flexibility of one of those display models that you get in a shop window – basically none. When I woke at 8 I felt well rested but my legs still weren’t keen on bending. 

I spoke to H early on just to show off that I’d had a pretty good nights sleep. It was just a quick check in to see how things were. I did a few bits and pieces and went for “petit déjeuner”. As much as we can learn from the French, breakfast is definitely not going to make the top 10 list. Croissant and two chunks of bread with plenty of coffee. 

It was then that I got the killer text – “I know it’s the last thing on your mind – Happy Anniversary 19 years x”. I’d forgotten to wish H happy anniversary. 19 years ago today we got married in Las Vegas. Not a great start to the day!

I got my stuff together and headed off. The roads out of Domfort were good. I was in to the countryside quickly. Field upon fields of sweet corn. The terrain was pretty flat and I picked up speed well. As I headed south I followed a lovely river and came across a deserted canoe school (see the pictures on Twitter). Really lovely area. I’d had a relaxed start and didn’t leave until 10.30. By 12.30 I was ready for coffee and found a small village and bar where I enjoyed coffee poured from a traditional pot. I had a bar of chocolate which just to remind me of the previous day was Swiss Milka. Ironic I thought. I was on the bike again. More sweet corn fields. These things must have gone on for 30 miles or so. There was so much sweet corn growing that I thought the Jolly Green Giant would jump out at some point holding a can singing “green giant”. I crossed the route of the Tour de France and on to St Mars Sur Colmont. Something looked odd. As I got closer I could see that armed police had the road blocked. It won’t apply to Cyclists or Brits I thought but the Gendameres found one that could speak “un petit” and he explained that “zare iz a dangerooss man in the howse”. I thought about asking if it was the green giant but thought better of it, turned round and followed his detour. When I said I was going to Chateau Gontier he looked at me as though I was nuts.  I pushed on and by about 3pm I was starving. Luckily I came across a larger village with a carfourre store and had a great tuna sandwich and half a litre of orange juice. I also replenished my cereal bar stash. 

The garmin was earning it’s Spurs and by now had lost its “bloody” prefix. I know I’m going to have a love hate relationship with that thing but for now all was well. I ignored it as I headed towards Lapal (spelling will be wrong). It was a busy but ancient town with lots of old architecture. Probably a nice place to go but I  couldn’t be bothered to stop. On the way out of town I was joined by a local cyclist who like so many people here speak very little English. He indicated that the route ahead was quite hilly – which it was – but by now I’m starting to realise that if you know what’s ahead your mind starts playing tricks on you. It’s amazing that if you don’t know, you just get on with it. As an example, at home. I wouldn’t ride hills out of choice and rarely go out in the rain. Over here, I’ve a destination to reach each night so I just “ride it”

Chateau Gontier was a welcome site as I rode in. It’s seems quite a big place. I arrived at the hotel – downed 2 pints and went and sat in a freezing cold bath. Pete Boyle physio at the cricket club said its what all professional sportsman do. I did point out to him that I was neither of those – but I’d give it a go. That was about 6.30. As I sat in the freezing cold water, my nuts headed north taking refuge In the warmth somewhere behind my stomach. It’s now 9pm and they show no sign of reappearing anytime soon. I feel how a castrated dog looks. That said my legs feel ok and I can bend them which is more than last night. 

I’ve just devoured a tuna pizza (yes Seb – it had a soft egg in the middle) and I’m about to walk into the “centre Ville”. 

It’s all change at home. Seb finished school today and Lou does the same tomorrow. Meanwhile I haven’t got a clue what day of the week it is but know that it’s off to Bressuire tomorrow – riding the first of the routes that I have had from the Hadlow Bikers. From memory it’s 94 miles so an early start tomorrow

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