I feel like I’ve missed a day somewhere and it should be eleven days. I’ll cross check the details. (Edit: Belle spotted there were two day 8s) It’s indicative of how time and space has slipped by and merged into a flow of movement with no discernible parameters, bar time on or time off the bike. I felt a vague sense of melancholy yesterday, that underlying feeling of slight indefinable sadness that the adventure was finite. Today I felt excited and keen to smash through the last few miles, get sight of the sea and mark the completion.
Rather than hitting up the road by 8am I had to dilly dally for a while in Vitré. There are worst things to do. It was all to avoid one possible outcome; standing around at the ferry port trying to avoid the slightly scary and sinister lorry drivers. Sometimes when standing around in Lycra I feel like a pervert magnet. It’s not grounded in reality, just self consciousness, stood there in skin tight Lycra with a massive sweaty gusset. Some people like that sort of thing. I’ve heard. It didn’t help that the metal chair in the terminal have me a grid pattern on my ass, all it needed was a bingo board corresponding to the grid and a set of darts and they could have raffled it off like a cowpat funday. Or not.
I headed out at 11am after slowly and deliberately packing all my stuff. I had a few extra things to squeak in, some treats for the rotters, that sort of thing. It absolutely threw it down moments before leaving and I had a bad feeling about it. The weather forecast gave it to rain, it gave it a lot to rain. I had to suck it up, it was the last day of the tour, and a few encouraging words from belle on the watzap were enough to get me rolling. I paid a final solemn visit to La Mie en Caline and was off.
Today was somewhat fortuitously the biggest tailwind of the day. I fought a few battles with my Garmin and then with the Google lady over what constituted an acceptable road surface.
I went back to manual and rolled along the main road, thoroughly enjoying the hefty tailwind. Brittany was sombre and a bit grey, square buildings of grey stone, with lots of dilapidated ruins. Away from the coast it is heavily agricultural and isn’t awash with money. It reminded me of growing up in North Devon, where the idyllic beaches and full occupancy in summer disguise a bleak and desolate winter.
I stopped for lunch in Combourg. It was a strategic decision, I had some bread and cheese and there was a dry porch providing shelter ahead of the encroaching clouds and spots of rain.
It left around 25 miles to go. The rain abated, on cue. I was moving quickly, too quickly in one sense, but arriving early was preferable to being caught in the rain. I figured I could find somewhere quiet at St Malo and nurse a café crême for a while, which is exactly what happened. There was a road side sign which I had intended to photograph, but it was really dirty and by the side of a big trunk route so I left it.
I ate what I think is my tenth eclair of the trip. I’m proud of this fact. I’ve really got a liking for the tasty choux buns and chocolate ganache. Today’s was one of the best ones.
The riding is done, just the vagaries of transport to go. I’ve ridden 741 miles since Monday, averaging 75 miles per day, with a longest ride of 89 miles and one outlier at 36 miles when I felt awful and it was cold and wet. It rained once in that respect, which is incredible really and hard to believe. As Dion Smith said to me on the very first evening; “you make your own luck”.