After a good breakfast, which included a fine selection of preserves made by our charming host, Catherine, we headed out into a cold, bright morning to make our way to the Canal de Garonne, and the veloroute Vers Duex Mers.
After around 10 miles, we joined the canal path, which would take us along a 100-mile almost traffic-free route to Toulouse, our destination for the day. Progress was good in the morning with our average speed over 30% more than in previous days. The scenery was varied and spectacular, accompanied by birdsong and the drilling of a spotted woodpecker. What a change from cars and trucks thundering past.
I have to confess that I’m now back on performance-enhancing drugs. Three days ago I decided to copy Wiggo and I applied to Richard for a Theraputic Use Exception (TUE) for Ibuprophen. Unlike Wiggo, I do acknowledge the performance improvements these enable. They’re for nagging knee pain and eliminate my need to stop every 30 minutes and burst into tears, boosting my average speed significantly.
We stopped frequently to refuel with pastries and chocolate bars, as part of a calorie-controlled diet. Lunch was a freshly prepared baguette at a bar in one of the villages along the route.
The weather was great – sunny but not too warm – but cycling on the flat has one disadvantage. Because you’re in the saddle and pedalling all the time, you don’t get the relief of standing out of the saddle as you climb, or resting your legs on long descents. Richard had a severe bout of bum pain for the first time on the trip, so we stopped for short rests more frequently than on previous days.
I had a puncture in the afternoon, the first of the trip, which added another 30 minutes to our journey.
It was therefore around 9pm before we arrived at our Best Western hotel in the centre of Toulouse. We had a late dinner at a recommended restuarant a few minutes’ walk from the hotel. By the time we got back to the room, I couldn’t keep my eyes open, hence the blog being posted this morning, rather than yesterday.
We covered 114 miles, our longest day yet, enabling us to set off towards Narbonne on the Canal du Midi this morning with 7 miles in credit against our 100 miles-per-day target.