Rather than breakfast at the hotel, we perched outside of a cafe in the centre of Rochefort and shared a huge almond croissant. A couple of double espressos each kicked started us into riding North again and we enjoyed two benefits over the last couple of days: it wasn’t raining (well, not more than a few drops here and there) and we had a tailwind most of the time. We had about 230 miles to go to our final destination of Saint-Malo, so only needed to cover around 50 miles each day.
Most of the morning was spent on long, straight D roads with relatively light traffic so we made great progress, averaging 14.5 miles an hour by the time we reached our lunch stop. It was agreed that we’d follow my Komoot navigation and the previously evening I had carefully plotted a route that was reasonably direct but avoided major roads.
We rode several sections on dedicated cycleways, some alongside rivers and canals, and passed through lovely villages and towns in the Vendée.
At one point, Andy noticed a huge bicycle frame attached to the side of a building so we went back to photograph it. We’ve no idea who built it or why, and the local guard dog had no intention of letting us in to find out.
As we continued North, the terrain became hillier after the first 50 miles and just after 3pm it started to rain again. It wasn’t heavy but it was persistent. Despite this, we decided to carry on to the next major town, Les Herbiers, so that we would have miles in hand. It would give us the option of shorter days ahead, or exploring a little more.
We had a sufficient break from the rain to dry out whilst riding but as as came into Led Herbiers, with 80 miles covered, it started to rain again. We took immediate shelter in a hotel doorway, then we went inside and booked a room at Hotel de Relais. It had its own restaurant so after showering and changing we took dinner there. We were tired and it was raining again, so there was little temptation to explore the town.