At last the technology seems to have a relatively good day. Just one minor wobble, when it decided that we’d traveled about 10 miles off the route and back for the fun of it. Please ignore!
Today was our first day of rain. Last night there were showers before we got to bed, and overnight there was some reasonably heavy rain that work us up from time to time. Enough so that when the alarm went off at 8am we decided that we could have a lie in, as the forecast suggested it might clear. By 9am it had lightened so we got up and packed, then recovered the bikes and headed off to the nearest supermarket. This seemed to be the favourite haunt for the towns winos, there were scenes reminiscent of the Night of the Living Dead at times. Anyway, we got stocked up and off we went. Sorry Nantes for not paying you much attention. All I can say is that your beer and food are sufficient distraction to avoid sightseeing, and the rain had the same effect.
Most of the morning it continued to drizzle, not too uncomfortable to ride in, just a mild inconvenience. Mind you, today I have at last not any any pains of my own. Finally my saddle and my arse seem to be getting on together, and my legs were quite happy to keep going without any quibbles. That might have been helped by the virtual lack of hills on today’s leg. We were present with mile after mile of quality cycle track and small country lanes, largely along the edge of the Loire, which as we travelled upstream lost it’s estuary like qualities, turned into various types of ribbon (I’m sure someone can tell the proper term) and then settled down into a much more conventional river.
Our only notable port of call along the route was the town of Champtoceaux which I’m sure I’d read had a remarkable chateau, and had been recommended to us the day before as a very pretty town. On arriving at the edge of the town we followed the signs to the chateau, only to arrive in the town of Oudon on the other side of the river, to find an old castle like building which was closed for lunch. We stopped for coffee and a glass of wine whilst we considered what we might be missing. Some enquiries with the cafe staff revealed that there was a very fine chateau in Champtoceaux, but that it was private and you couldn’t visit. You could see it from the edge of the river on the hill above, and perhaps from closer to if you wanted to cycle 1.5kms up the hill. So out we went again and back tracked, took a picture from the bridge and then cycled up the hill for a closer look. Unfortunately it was not possible to get closer than the front gate, and a rather obscured view, so a bit of a wasted journey. The town itself was also unremarkable. Back down the hill and onward along the route then.
As I said before, the cycling was pretty blissful for the most part. The rain died away and although the sun never made an appearance, it got dry enough and warm enough to shed the waterproofs and enjoy the ride. It even warmed up a few degrees mid afternoon. Once we had decided that progress was good enough to reach Angers for the evening, we both put the boot down and sped along. Respectful glances were received from the day cyclists on their road bikes as we shot past in the other direction at full tilt with full panniers. They probably thought us mad for missing the views, but actually we saw plenty and really enjoyed the ride. The last 10miles into Anger were particularly enjoyable, especially the ride up through parkland on gravel cycle paths – quick and exhilarating!
We finally made the main square and immediately stopped for a well earned pint before time was getting on and it was critical to get some accommodation sorted. A nice 2 star hotel just off the square, and the first to display with pride its association as a hotel catering for cyclists.
Evening meals are turning into two meals, as we are getting into eating a main course sized salad as as entreé, followed by a regular main course. Tonight we didn’t feel the need for a dessert as well, which is probably just as well.
Miles covered today: 73
Executive Summary: Don’t let a rainy day spoil the ride