Tuesday, 28 August 2012

SBCC tour 2012 - 7

Recovery ride.

After yesterday's exertions we elected to have an easy day so offed to Carhaix for a return visit to Decathalon where I made some more impulse purchases. So only 50 km today, via café au lait and biere stops. Last night at Huelgoat so we are off out for a good feed.

Monday, 27 August 2012

SBCC tour 2012 - 6

Another day at the seaside. The wind blew us there up hill and down to the north Brittany coast where we refuelled with Breton Far (flan). The return was not so much fun into a 30 mph headwind for 50 km. Legs completely knackered now.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

SBCC tour 2012 - 5

La Plage

Today we went to the seaside. But not before we watched the start of the Huelgoat triathalon - the girls at home missed out bigtime as 200 finely honed male triathaletes passed us in wet skintight lycra (there were a few female entrants too . . .) As it turned out JJ decided not to run and elected instead to take a rest day as we departed for the coast via Sizun and Daoulas. The sun shone most of the time for a 109 km lumpy ride which included the last part of the tri course on our return, though alas for us we did not win a prize

Saturday, 25 August 2012

SBCC tour 2012 - 4

Put arm warmers and jacket on and set forth. Took jacket off, took arm warmers off and put jacket back on. Took jacket off, put arm warmers back on. Took arm warmers off. Put arm warmers on. Rolled arm warmers down, rolled arm warmers up, rolled them down, rolled them up. Took arm warmers off and put jacket on. Took jacket off. Arrived back home. This in beteen a ride down to Chateauneuf du faou and along the Nantes-Brest canal for a few miles. In fact it hardly rained, just threatened to constantly and the sun shone simultaneously with showers and 25 mph wind.

Subsequently had a great meal of potage de lgumes, moules et frites, and tarte tatin at the Hotel du Lac. There is a triathalon here tomorrow so we have entered JJ in the super-vets category after preparing him with a special high carbohydrate meal accompanied by 'secret supplements' - fingers crossed he will not be stripped of his title several years hence.

Bon soir

Friday, 24 August 2012

SBCC tour 2012 - 3

Today the plan was to go to the beach. Light rain when we left, 10 miles up the road in the teeth of a gale and downpour we turned back and are now drying out with the heater on, watching the force 8 gale and driving rain while playing cards, eating snacks and trying to delay the first beer for as long as possible.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

SBCC tour 2012 - 2

100 km tour round central Bretagne. JJ wanted to go to the Decathalon store in Carhaix to buy some cycling gloves so we went there first - no gloves to be had but I came out with a travel towel and MdaC with some sunglasses. Thence up the road for a cafe/beer/cola break with lunch where we got talking to an English chap who was restoring houses out here for the last 10 y. Next we went to see the Gorges du Corong but didn't see it because we couldn't be arsed to cycle down the lane to it. No matter, after many lumpy miles it was worth it to see JJ being drafted by a combined harvester. Settled down with a glass of Sauternes ce soir.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

SBCC tour 2012 - 1

Once again we avail ourselves of the cheap accomodation in Huelgoat. An overnight crossing from Plymouth saw us arrive early and cycle to Morlaix for the traditional cafe au lait at the 'Europe' and then the remaining 15 uphill miles - now why is it that it's all uphill on the road and the route on the voie verte is uphill on the return? So, we arrive at the lake only to see Terry the butcher cycle up to meet us from his holiday gaff in St Brieuc (70 miles).

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Tour d'Evans: the cycle routes

You can see the routes we took ,while staying near Bordeaux and cycling back up through Brittany. We clocked up the 500th mile as we rolled on to the return ferry.

Tour d'Evans: day 15 and home

H gets his moules

An easy last day from Morlaix to Roscoff via St Pol de Leon for the customary cafe stop. We passed a leisurely lunch at Roscoff where I partook of the traditional moules et frites washed down with a nice glass or two of the vin de maison. The trip home was notable only for the sighting of a whale off the port astern (apart from 'Magic Dave' who was still at it). Arrived home to find e house still standing though smelling of stale beer and laundry - oh we'll, back to being a house elf.


Thursday, 9 August 2012

Tour d'Evans: day 14

The hill at Luzivilly

We left Guingcamp for the penultimate leg to Morlaix. Now, if you are like me, you will have had those cycling moments when youknow that you've made the wrong turn but carry on regardless - such was the case at Luzivilly . . . You know the score; the road forks and' confused by the french proclivity for numbering two quite different routes with the same designation, you have to decide which to take in that split second before necessitating the ritual of having to stop, unclip, waddle to side of road and then get going again. So, I went left, and instantly knew it was the wrong choice when I saw 'the wall' of Luzivilly which I laboured up with cursing and swearing, noting all the while the numbers painted at the roadside as if counting down the climb, and the great big white line painted across the road at the crest (more of that later). Now, I know that you are waiting in breathless anticipation for me to relate what happened to S . . . Well, I think she's still back there somewhere . . . No, I jest, and this is the most astounding part of the tale - she got to the top WITHOUT GETTING OFF. Chapeau to S.

It turns out that the hill at Luzivilly ws the finish for the Breton cycling champipnship a few years back, and you can see the competitors tackling the horrific gradient sans panniers here (wimps):


The expression on S's face is less triumphant than it might have been given that I had just informed her that there was an alternate route around the hill!

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Tour d'Evans: days 12 & 13

Monday was a (sort of) rest day so we cycled in civvies along the Nantes-Brest canal down as far as Lac Guardelan, which is the man made lake that joins the various rivers that make the canal. The next day we set off for Guingcamp, an interesting old town, where we have checked inbto a rather nice Ibis hotel. On arrival I spent a jolly 20 min in Le Pharmacie publicly discussing possible treatments for a 'cycling related ailmnent' which had become uncomfortably apparent, which concluded with 'vous devez avoir un presctiptione pour la'. So on to la centre ville where S was detrrmined to have a traditional Breton crepe. The creperies opened at 7 so we were forced to kill time at various cafes around the town square, but it was worth the wait and we enjoyed some tasty and filling fare. Returning to the hotel we passed the communist party HQ of Guingcamp - I thought of calling in brandishing my copy of New Satesman but thought better of it remembering S's Mail on Sunday smudged fingers (which she professes to get only for the TV guide).

S has determined that she will NOT put on any weight during this trip. I can happily confirm a positive result because it has become apparent that S has morphed into the incredible shrinking woman and is now smaller than a candlestick and barely taller than an egg-cup.

Bon Soir

Monday, 6 August 2012

Tour d'Evans: days 10 & 11

Back to Bretagne

I have been remiss in updating the blog. Day 10 saw us leave our gite and cycle to Bordeaux where we had an extensive lunch at cafe Tupina once more, before boarding the train for the 6 h journey to Vannes - arrived at 9 pm to the typical Breton weather of . . . rain. Checked into the Formule 1, washed gear and changed to go and eat in the restaurant next door . . . 'ferme à 21.30' . . . so we repaired back to the room for our remaining banana and vending machine coffee, and watched Jessica Ennis win the gold.

The day dawned to more Breton weather, i.e. heaving it down. We sought our a patisserie (this being sunday) for breakfast cake to fortify us for the 50 lumpy miles to Lescouet-Gouarec. Now, I've said this before, S doesn't like lumpy and so it transpired once more, the only thing which got her the final miles being a giant bignet which I had foraged for lunch in Locminé but now donated to the cause - if Napoleon had access to such bignets on his campaign.in Russia he surely would not have failed because, apart from being highly nutritious they can provide shelter from the elements or in a pinch dehydrated to make sturdy buttons. So we arrived to the deluxe chambre d'hôte of Peter and Keith where we reside for 2 days to allow S to recuperate.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Tour d'Evans: day 9

Domaine Martet

On this holiday I have been reading 'How I won the yellow jumper' by Ned Boulting, one of the ITV4 correspondents for Le Tour. Amongst various other motifs of his 3 week annual bike-fest is the car journeys that he and the production team take through the various parts of France while following the race. Unfailingly, they set off in the Peugot rental and, upon reaching any part with remotely good weather/food/wine/historical interest (which is pretty much, seemingly, the whole of France) they exclaim: 'lucky bastards!'

So it always seems when on vacation in another part of the world, but I'm sure it's just as good in 'ole blighty' when the sun shines . . . errm, so not this year then.

Anyway, we off back to Bordeaux tomorrow for the return train leg to Vannes and a cycle through the the 'partly showers' of Bretagne. We will be quite sad to leave Domaine Martet: Monsieur Martet gave us a bottle of their own wine, produced on the premises from their vineyard, last night; sadly though they have stopped producing it, and it was a bottle from their last harvest in 2009 - what can you say to a lifetime in a bottle, but thank you so much!

Bon Soir

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Tour d'Evans: day 8

Le Pump

Today we did a big circuit of the South, down to Bazas to see the cathedral. While there H was fascinated by the interesting water pump you can see in the picture, where you had to rotate the handle to make the water flow. It was only afterwards that we noticed the penalty for unauthorised use was emblazoned on the coat of arms (scrutinize close up). Nevertheless, we survived and carried on for a 90 km circuit, knowing that tonight was the night when we were to enjoy the sirloin steak and bottle of posh wine bought as per earlier post. Returning completely knackered S repaired to the pool while I, man the hunter, prepared the bbq. To cut a long story short, the courgettes were perfect, the baked potato was great, the salad and wine were exceptional, but

S: 'my steak tastes of meths'

wasn't a comment liklely to garner me a Michelin star. Well, I scoffed mine and my friend scoffed most of S's so at least two out of three of us were happy with the nosh.

Bon Soir

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Tour d'Evans

La Tupina

So to Bordeaux. S was determined to have lunch at La Tupina, a fantastically good restaurant recommended by a friend at work. This involved a fair old trudge across the R. Garonne to la gare in Cerons so we set off at the crack of, togged in our 'going out' south of France style linen ensembles. Being super efficient I google mapped the route which said '59 min' to walk; no problem, allowed 1h 45 min, memorised the route and off we went . . . cut to edge of ring-road by the river . . .

H: 'this road is new, we seem to be going in a large circle'

S: 'yes, so it seems . . .'

H: 'let's try this track between the river and the corn field, I'm sure it will take us in the right direction . . .'

Well, you get the idea. We passed the fella in the picture twice, separated by 30 mins of sweaty slogging, and got to the station with 1 min to spare, so all was well, and we arrived in Bordeaux sweating like Billy Bunter doing the ten tors, and made straight for the café.

So, now to recce la restaurant. Google maps informed me it was not too far away, and indeed we fetched up at Tupina which looked, seemed, was in fact, a bog standard caf' . . .

S: are you sure this is the right street?

H: yes, positive

S: are you absolutely sure?

H: yes; look, I'll try my other gps . . .yes, all it checks out fine.

Both: stuff that, let's find somewhere else.

Cut to 2 h later of trudging round Bordeaux and getting close to lunch. . .

Both: actually, that La Tupina doesn't look too bad now . . . let's go back there for lunch

Cut to the approach from the other end of the street . . .

H: hey, isn't that posh looking place with the tablecloths, maitre de and braying hedge fund owning customer also called La Tupina?

S: so it is, lets look at the menu

. . . silence while we peruse the menu, never getting further than the €25 starters . . .

Both: ok, the other place it is then

So we had an excellent four course lunch at CAFE Tupina for €14 per head!

Bon Soir