I will be braving hills, rain, wind, punctures, sore muscles etc so please make it worth my while by sponsoring me as generously as you can afford.
Today’s ride covered 68 miles with 347 feet of climbs.
Well, actually in the end it was 71 miles which I completed in 6 hours 54 minutes.
Got off to a later start than intended thanks to ferry delays. That was particularly galling as I got up at 5am and then had to stand in a queue of cars for a couple of hours in a freezing wind.
Took a while to get my bearings in Calais. I have pre-stored my routes on a Garmin Edge 800 and when you ask it to navigate to the start of the course it never actually believes you are there – telling you to go around in circles if you are not careful (my normal behaviour in cities).
Route out of Calais flat and straight with a tail wind. If it had been like that all the way I would have made short work of the journey. Unfortunately cities in the way slowed me down, especially Dunkerque which has an insane cycle route system.
French and Belgian drivers are noticeably more considerate than English drivers. One couple even stopped to point out to me that cycling the dual carriage way I was on was a bit unnecessarily dangerous given there was a perfectly adequate (hidden) cycle path by the side of the opposite carriage way. I was very grateful for that.
Belgium has amazing cycle paths and was a lot easier to navigate even in the cities. Bikeroutetoaster nonetheless threw in some surprises with an off-road route through some sand dunes (a crested newt sanctuary) and a hairy ride on a muddy path by a canal.
But, quick as they are, long, straight flat roads can get interminably dull. That, combined with stupidly not eating enough during the day, meant the last 10 miles were a slog.
Refreshed myself in Brugge old town with some traditional fayre, stocked up on sweet snacks (nougat and sugared almonds) for the next leg and then headed back for an early night at the B&B.
Exhausted. Don’t want to think about the next eight days.