Sunday 11 November 2012

Barclays ATP Finals at the O2

Let the tennis begin.

Saturday 1 September 2012

The Long Drive

Breakfast at 8 and then time for a quick ride along the Marne canal. This time we road towards Chalons en Champange but had to turn around after 5 miles to get back to the Auberge in time to check out at 11.00am. A good ride next time we will try and go further. Lyn’s wine book recommended a champagne cooperative in Sur en Ogey. Kate said it was a 30 minute drive away so we should just have time. On entering the village the COOP was sign but they then disappeared so we resorted to driving round the village. Eventually we asked in a boulangerie and received some excellent directions in both French and English. We took the opportunity to purchase some lunch and we were off. The directions we spot on but unfortunately it was closed! Perhaps on our next visit.
Kate took us on the minor road to Reims and then it was the Motorway. The next turning was 156 mile away when we started! We diverted of at St Omer and for the commercial centre we had visited in previous years. The toll from Reims to St Omer was just under 15 euros. Taking the opportunity to fill up with diesel and then get some beer. It was then onto the port and we arrived in time for a cup of tea whilst we waited for the ferry.


We awoke to a temperature of around 14 degrees and a forecast of rain. The breakfast made a good start to the day and was worth the additional 9 euros. Robert avoided man trap that had been carefully laid outside the room and attempted to show the receptionist a picture so she could appreciate the danger.
The drive to Matouges was around 1 and 40 minutes hours so rather than do a bike ride from Chaource we decide to set up and visit the Decathlon in Troyes en route. The choice of cycling tops proved disappointing but Lyn did manage to buy a bargain pair of cycling glasses and a bag to store our table tennis balls in.
It was then onto Matouges first stopping at the Hyper market to stock up peaches , green gauges and other French produce. The weather had improved. The temperature increased and the threatened rain did not materialise so when we arrived at the hotel it was time for a quick ride along the Canal Du Marne before dinner. Lyn picked up a puncture, the first on the bike after around 2500 miles of cycling. Fortunately she had brought her mechanic on holiday with her. The Swable Marthon Pro tyres are very good and mine have never punctured but they are not totally puncher proof. The diner was excellent again. Althought ours was a set meal they told us what it was going to be and allowed us to change the Calf’s liver for Guini fowl. My only criticism would be the lack of vegetable’s but then we are in France. To accompany the meal we started with a coup de Champagne and then spotted an offer of a coupe de Champagne and a glass of red, a white wine and coffee which we decided to share.

Ferry Home

A busy day

Breakfast in Matougres ,a 10 mile bike ride along the Canal Du Marne , Champagne tasting, a long drive, a stop on St Omer to buy beer and onto the port at Dunkirk .Now waiting for the ferry to dock.Fish and chip in Dover here we come.

Thursday 30 August 2012

The road to Chauorce

The drive from Baron to Chaource was just under 4 hours. When we checked Kate’s suggested route we saw she was taking us within 10 minute of the Velo Vert at Buxy around 50 minute away. It’s an excellent bike path we had cycled around 6 years previously and there was the added advantage of having a cooperative wine cave in Buxy. First stop was the wine cellar for a tasting and then it was off on the Velo Vert. We headed south in the direction on Macon. Making it to Cormatin to purchase yet another quiche and bread for lunch.
For the drive to Chaource we decided to avoid the motorway. Kate helpfully tried to direct us back onto the correct route and evens Lyn’s attempts to exclude a section of the motorway failed to have the desired result. Eventually she excluded all motorways, Kate replanned the route and everyone was happy.
The hotel in Chaource was modern, clean, efficient but lacking in the eccentric collection of objects of our previous B&B. We had a walked around the town but decide to eat in the hotel. The set menu at 17.50 euros for 3 courses was simple but tasty and offered good value.

Canal Du Centre

Wednesday 29th August
The Domaine de la Vallée has a wonderful setting on the outskirts of the small village of Baron. The owners are most welcoming hosts with an eclectic taste in objects and decoration. They reserved us a table at the local bar restaurant in Baron the previous evening. A half mile walk from the house. The bar can cater for 120 people and they could probably feed the entire village in one sitting if they chose to attend. The menu consisted of a choice of 4 set meals with no individual dishes available to order. We opted to eat inside and sat opposite a group of 5 adults. We selected the 25 euro menu as we both wanted the salad to start and wanted to avoid the menu with the frogs legs. A huge plate arrived complete with fried ham and fried egg. The main course which we had hoped was a stew as we had not selected the Charollais streak turned out to be a massive piece of meat with a cream and onion sauce. The portion size would have feed two but it was rather on the tough side and proved challenging eating. Not wanting to offend our hosts we worked our way though as much as we could. The party on the next table meant that sliding a large quantity into a money belt was not a real option but was considered. The Legume course never arrived. It may have been the pasta included with the main course! After the meat we just had to finish the cheese course and then a pancake with plum jam arrived. An experience. The owners were friendly but portion sizes strange and vegetables sadly lacking. The group on the opposite table selected the raw ham for his starter and it would have feed Lyn and I for a week.
Breakfast in the morning wastaken the terrace overlooking the fields and Charlais cows. We decided to do a ride on the Canal du Centre. Our host gave us an updated map showing an extended Velo vert network from our old (2006?) guide. The Vert Vert route ran in the direction of the Canal Du Centre but was not directly alongside it all the way . As it was only 5 miles from the B&B we set off by bike We had a long decent into Saint Aubinen Charlolas and then after a couple of short climbs we were on the route. We headed south stopping in Paray-Le-Monial for provisions and the onto Digoin and its wonderful Pont Canal. After the Pont we returned to Paray-Le-Monial a for a quick tour around the town. The second most visited pilgrim town in France second only to Lourdes. We then followed the canal rather than the Velo Vert route and then left the canal for the “climb” back to Baron. A short shower briefly delayed our progress. Just long enough to eat half an apple while sitting in a conveniently located bus shelter. For the amount it rained we could have continued cycling. A 41 mile round trip. We played it safe and eat in Chorolles a 6km drive away. Selected a basic meal at a local hotel. We could have eat in the Michelin stared restaurant for only 3 euros more than me paid the previous evening. It had just stared raining as we returned to the car and we were treated to a spectacular thunder storm on our way back to the B&B.

Wednesday 29 August 2012

Tuesday 28 August 2012

Full Day Today

Bike ride,wine tasting and 3hour drive to our next accommodation.Free WIWI so will update blog later or in morning.

Sunday 26 August 2012

Updated postings

Added Text now to Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 23rd and photos added for today.

Col du Galibier

Robert climbed Col Du Galibier twice today and Lyn once.The later ascent being in the car.Images of the ride will appear once we have returned to England as I do not have adapter to down load the photos.

When we planned this trip I decided I wanted to attempt the classic climb up Col du Galibier. The Col du Galibier has been crossed 58 times by the Tour de France and has seen Tours won and lost on its slopes. The Col can be climbed from two sides. The “easier” climb is from Briancon but I wanted to do the classic route from St-Michael-De-Maurienne. The disadvantage of this choice was The Col De Telegraph with an ascent of around 840m has to be tackled first. It is then 5 km down hill to Valloire where the climb of the Galibier starts.The total assent on the climb is around 2400 m.
We struggled to find good accommodation in St-Michael-De-Maurienne so instead we opted to stay in Valloire. For my trip up the Galibier I first had to climb the Col du Telegraph from Valloire, descend to St-Michael-De-Maurienne and then start the climb. It’s not the gradients that are the real challenge but the length of the climb. The slope varies from 3 to 10 % and averages around 6.9%. My speed would not have set any records. I completed the trip in 5 hours including stopping at the top and taking photos on the descent. I did all of the climb without a break. Approximate timings were 40 minutes to St-Michael-De-Maurienne, 60 minutes back to Valloire, 2 hours to climb the Galibier and then 40 minutes back to the hotel. The last kilometres from the tunnel were a real challenge as my legs were getting tired and I had to resort to my lowest gear on a few of the hair pins. I started at 8:30 am and only saw a few cyclists on my ascent. The route appears more popular later in the day as we passed a steady stream of cyclists when I returned with Lyn for my second ascent of the day, this time in the car.
Lyn stayed in Valloire catching up with the blog, doing her nails and washing the Brexton set and exploring Valloire. She was hoping I would spend longer on the ride has she had not finished her list of thing she wanted to get done before I returned.

A photo Blog of the ride written in 2005 with some good pictures.

The Grand Depart

The elevation from Valloire

View climbing up to the tunnel

The climb up

Saturday 25 August 2012

Saturday 25th

Still behind with the text.Now in Valloire but starting with some pictures of last nights B&B up in the hill above Neufchateau.