One of my favourite new words: Boulodrome.
After another three days in the saddle, I reached Rochefort.
The first day I cycled from Chatellerault to Parthenay. It was a hard day. First some steep hills and rain. The latter came mostly from above, but some lorry drivers added some variety by spraying me from the side, leaving me with flapping raingear and wet glasses. Then the weather improved, but I started suffering from a strong headwind. I won’t easily forget the D738: a road disappearing to the horizon where I couldn’t manage more than 9 or 10 km / hour. With aching legs…
In Parthenay it started to rain as I was erecting my tent, but I managed quite well and kept most of my things dry. After doing so I cycled into town to get some groceries. On the way back I was overtaken by a devastating deluge which left me drenched. As I came to the campsite, I feared for my tent but it had withstood the downpour miraculously. In the toilet blocks I startled an elderly couple when I was standing in my underwear, laying out my dripping clothes to dry.
The second day I travelled (the verb travelling, derives, deservedly so, from travaille) from Parthenay to Coulon. I followed a signposted route for cyclists from Parthenay to Niort (which doesn’t sound very French) and it directed me over every spine breaking little hill they had. Just to show me a Roman church, or whatever they thought might be of interest, to the casual passer-by. Ever forgetting that some cyclists carry fully loaded panniers that are almost impossible to carry up those hills.
That night I camped at the Camping Municipal. It was deserted, and there was a notice at the entrance that said I could transfer money to their account if I made use of the municipal services. I didn’t understand.
The third day was a breeze. No rain. Nicely undulating hills. Lightly trafficked roads. Why couldn’t every day be like this?
In Rochefort I reached the first signposts of the Vélodyssée and enthusiastically started to follow them. Until it dawned on me that I was following them in the wrong direction.
The photo above was taken in Rochefort, close to the Atlantic coast.
I decided to have a resting day.