Day 5 – Chateau Gontier to Bresseuire 

I fell asleep before 10 last night my thighs throbbing like a blind coblers thumb. I’m a bit of a light sleeper when I’m not in my own bed. It’s so quiet at home that any noise tends to wake me up.

In hotels you get people entering their rooms at all hours of the night. That’s just the way it works but during the night I was aware of a noise that was like a key going in a lock. It happened again and again. I was awake by now. Then I thought that’s my door. I jumped up and opened my door only to find some French guy trying to get in my room. I speak very little French. I didn’t study it at school; languages bored me so in the lessons that I did attend up to about age 13 – I didn’t pay attention.

It was 1.45 am and I was about to test of the theory that the vast majority of communication is not what you say (the words). c50% is your body language and c35% is the tone of delivery.

‘What the f**k are you doing?’. I yelled. Swaying gently in the zero breeze of the corridor came the response “zorrie”.

“Vous Grand Twat” was all I could come up with before offering the suggestion that he should “go forth and multiply”. All of a sudden I remembered what I was wearing. A Pound Shop eye mask to keep out the light and a single orange ear plug so I can sleep through most night time noise. I offered my advice again and shut the door. Now who is “Le grand twat” I thought I must have looked a picture. it’s a good job that my hotel door was locked.

It’s one of the things that I religiously do after a spooky incident at the Hotel du Vin in Edinburgh.

There’s a similar start to the story. It’s the middle of the night (or so it felt). I was aware that a door had been opened. I rolled over. The next thing I knew was my door opening. Lit by the lights from the corridor outside, a young blonde haired girl walked into my room. Dressed in grey and yellow stripped shorts pyjamas she headed for the bathroom, opened the door, went into the bathroom, used the loo , flushed and left. It was incredulous. I just lay there pretending to be asleep before jumping out of bed to lock the door as she left. I’m reported it next morning and it wasn’t the first time she’d done it. Another guest had reported something similar the night before. After that, I’ve always locked my hotel door.

I was awake for about an our after the visit of “Le grand twat”. I was looking forward to seeing the pillock at breakfast.

Breakfast was much better. Decent choice of eggs and croissants washed down with gallons of coffee. I sat with about 5 French people just adjacent to the reception. Then he appeared!!  He looked sheepish and the manager chatted to him in what appeared to be an inquizative manner. Le Grand Twat looked most uncomfortable and keen to disappear. The French in the restaurant appeared to stop what they were doing and were listening in attentively.

When he left I asked if he was in room 8. With that all the French joined in with a gibberish chorus of disapproval. Tres bien or however you spell it was all I could make out although one did say “we ‘erd you”. I apologised that the queens english was less than perfect. Whether “Tres Bien” was for waking up the Englishman or for my protestations will remain a mystery.

I eventually got moving about 9.30 after one of my fellow diners lent me a pump to do my tyres. I must say that everyone that I have met in France have been really friendly. I wasn’t really on top form but eventually stopped after a slow couple of hours pedalling through more sweet corn fields. As bizarre as this place is I stopped In a deserted village and found the bar.

I walked in  and noticed the pictures of Jim Morrison, Bob Marley, and Jimmy Hendrix on the walls with Ibiza style tunes playing out in the background. It was some sort of hedonistic bar in the middle on no where – no clientele but with the obligatory PNU terminal and racing on the TV. 2 coffees bought me round and I ploughed on. For a while the sweet corn was replaced by cows in the fields but that didn’t last long.

The garmin beeped and said it was full again so I stopped right by the Loire, had lunch, reset it back to the factory settings while I devoured a foot long baguette with more coffee. The next 10 or so miles were lovely along the Loire. It’s sand banks were like a massive sandy beach. There were lots of touring cyclists laden up to the max. It takes me a while to get set in the morning – they must only move about 10 miles a day given the time it must take to pack up. That said it would be a great way to see the Loire.

I left the relative flat of the river cycle route and headed for Bressuire. No sweet corn here. Just miles and miles of vines growing future vintages. The journey to Bressuire went on for ever. It got progressively hot peaking at about 3.30-4pm at about 31 degrees. I was stopping anywhere I could for water – the oddest place was a hairdressers who duly obliged breaking away from their only client to fill my bottles.

The garmin kept beeping and telling me that it was full – which was odd as I’d stripped it and in a moment of pure genius I remembered that I had a micro SD card in my tablet so had put it in (when you are knackered any useful thought counts a genius in my book). I saved the data at that point – but it transpires that it didn’t save – which really pissed me off. I’ve lost 2 segments now. For the rest of the afternoon it was a constant climb up hill to my destination.  All I could think about was what I was going to do with the garmin – Smash it, throw it away buy a new one etc

I got to the hotel at 7.30. Ordered 2 pints which disappeared in about 6 mouthfuls. I lay on my bed stinking (think dead fox again). I then remembered I had to sleep there so showered in the 1960’s bathroom. (It really is a  pit; a clean pit but what do you expect for 38 euros?).

I need to refuel for my 104 miles tomorrow to Royan so I went in search of food. I found a great pizza take away and sat in a square drinking a can of beer while they cooked the tuna pizza. I ate it and wandered down the street to where I’d seen a band setting up. They were fantastic – but before long I was ready for bed.

104 flatter miles tomorrow.

3 thoughts on “Day 5 – Chateau Gontier to Bresseuire 

  1. Great blog Jon. I laughed out loud reading your paragraph on the ice bath. I remember it well from our America ride!! Sounds like your going well.


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