That wasn’t climbing

Exceedingly cool weather and stormy skies worried me about the day ahead. I packed up and headed out, my clothes washed the night before not quite dry. The sky loomed with dark clouds, and a few scattered showers gave me occasional pause without consequence across the day. 

When I left Toulouse, 200 km separated me from Pau. Crossing the foothills laterally meant climbing up to the ridge, and then back down to the valley. Today I expected the same thing, not taking into account I cycled 100 km yesterday, so I find myself 100 km closer to the Pyrenees. I spent the first 85 km of today struggling up long 10% grades to the ridge, and then careening back down to the valley far below. Arriving at the other side of the valley, repeating that process. Over and over. 

I messaged back and forth today with Fabrice. During that process I learned Fabrice doesn’t actually live in Pau, but in a town 25 km from Pau … on the other side. I can cycle 25 km almost in my sleep at this point, although after an already planned 100 km adding 25 km still gives me pause when struggling with the hills. Directions to Fabrice’s house entailed Fabrice meeting me at a local church, and cycling behind his car 2 km back to his house. Estimates for my arrival changed through the day, initially based on my expected speed, then revising to take into account the recurring vertical, and then again when I crossed the crux of that range, and started heading down the other side to the Atlantic for the last 30 km.

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After storing my bike safely in Fabrice’s garage, I met his wife Stephanie, and two of his children, Matteo and Camille, Fabrice grilled pork barbeque afor dinner, and we spent the evening viewing trip photos (at Fabrice’s insistence, honest!).

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Fabrice also backed up all of my photos to his server, in case I had any issues with the SD card. Given that the battery indicator still read 100%, I had concerns that the indicator didn’t work, and the camera would fail mid-write, so I welcomed the opportunity to back the data up.

The vacation season in France directly correlates to weather. Starting the tail end of August I started seeing rain. Thunder crackles outside, and water pours from the sky, but I’m safely tucked into an actual bed, in an actual house. 

Fabrice pointed me to a local newly-restored castle, and Stephanie looked up the details for me. I added a visit to the castle to the agenda tomorrow, along with planning how to get from here to there, and rest and relaxation.

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