Day 9: Poitiers to Angers

Yesterday was really hard. It rained and rained but I also felt rubbish, tired and was all aches. I was nervous about today, it was a long day according to the ASO road book, with nearly 90 miles ahead. After a good night’s sleep (the eternal panacea) and lots of food, I felt vaguely ok. The emerging sunshine was the definitive factor though. That’s all you need, anything that isn’t a block headwind (preferably a block tailwind) and copious amounts of sun. Everything is better.

Poitiers is nice. I wasn’t sad to leave, but like everywhere I’ve visited, my time has been brief and my experience of the city or town a superficial scratch at best, a photo taken of something old, a trip to Mie En Caline and a desperate search for acceptable food. It’s luck rather than judgement when I stumble across something unusual. At the same time, I’m immersed in the entirety of France (well, a 2 metre wide strip running across it like a surgical incision) feeling the cultural, demographic and topographic change around me as I move through in a liminal way. Like I said, living the dream.

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Yesterday’s ride
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Utterly gratuitous French touring baguette strap action

Pre-loading maps as a breadcrumb trail has been useful, but it’s also not always necessary. You don’t do anything different with or without a Garmin. I’ve frequently opted for place to place navigation, working out where I need to go and the towns en route then going there. It’s worked out more reliable in terms of keeping me on a metalled road, rather than a French track with a hooning great dog and old Leatherface and his Stihl. There are still dogs everywhere.

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The dogs that live here respect the cyclists they have eaten by adding their leftover and inedible bike bits to this elaborate sculpture. I took immense risks to take this photo.

I went for the main road out of Poitiers. It was the straightest road I’ve ever been on. It was straight as an arrow pointing toward to horizon like a very precise and photorealist version of a child’s first perspective drawing in CDT. After yesterday’s tribulations it was perfect, it meant steady progress, tap tap tap. It was what I needed. I made a brief pause at Leudon for coffee then headed straight for the Loire at Saumur. There was a minor detour.

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I like adventure but not those involving tir de guerre. Maybe that makes me old fashioned. I dunno.

I had a brief pause for lunch. It was inventive. An Emmental and chips baguette by the sunny, tapering banks of the McDonald’s car park.

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The Loire is way bigger than any of our rivers. Well, the ones I’ve seen, and I mean inland, away from the sea. It’s a huge swirling brown mass with islands in the middle. I found it hard to work out where the water comes from. I mean, I know the answer, but it still seemed like a ridiculous volume. I rode along the levée from Saumur to Angers, some 32 miles. There was an alleged cycle path but it was a mess of gravel and dog shit so I left the loose gravel and the decomposing dog shit to their strange relationship and went back to the road.

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Exciting animal spot of the day… I saw what looked like a slimy brown bag in a field. I assumed it was dead sanglier, until it moved and unfurled a cricket bat tail. It was a beaver. It slipped into the murky pond and disappeared. I saw another one a while back, this time he hurtled into his beaver house. My mum said they might be Coypu. She always has to piss on the strawberries. It’s because she once saw a coypu somewhere in France. Anyway, I soon put her right, “No mum, it was 100% beaver. It was massive, glistening and wet.” There was an awkward silence. I wished her a happy birthday. Her present is some free advice on cleat position.

By the time I got to Angers I was all but 90 miles up and ready for a rest. Two shorter days to go and the weather looks ok. On y va!

 

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8 thoughts on “Day 9: Poitiers to Angers

  1. John March 13, 2018 / 8:21 pm

    Your blog of this trip has been a very good read, so much so that I have been looking forward to the daily instalment

  2. traumfahrrad March 13, 2018 / 8:40 pm

    You got a BOGOF the other day. Never had it so good.

  3. Mark Jerzak March 13, 2018 / 10:30 pm

    What’s the French for ‘chip butty’!

  4. DAVID SAGE March 14, 2018 / 4:56 pm

    Another entertaining read. If Cycling Weekly ever need a replacement for Dr Hutch, they should look no further.

    • traumfahrrad March 14, 2018 / 7:01 pm

      Ooh. Controversial. With all that history between me and the doctor those are bold words…

  5. DAVID SAGE March 14, 2018 / 9:56 pm

    I had no idea there was ‘history’, it was just a straightforward comment! I see he’s been at Cycling Weekly since 2006 and in any case is he a real doctor?

    • traumfahrrad March 15, 2018 / 1:59 am

      I know, just joking. He took offence to a picture caption in my book. We’re on speaking terms after the CTT dinner where wine was drunk. I think he has a PhD.

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