We have just returned from another visit to Matt and Judy at Laveyssière where last August I was inspired to get back into cycling again after a long break of 25 or more years and a long slide into obesity and unfitness. That trip was mentioned in the first post to this blog last October, Starting Again. That post describes the 4.5 mile circuit from their house and how I got on. My best time then was 28 minutes. One year later, 3 stone lighter, my best time was 20 minutes and 40 seconds. The route and stats can be viewed at http://connect.garmin.com/activity/354007481. I also uploaded the data to Strava to get the additional information on gradients and power outputs. At the same time I defined the climb from Matt and Judy’s house to the D4 as a segment. This means if any other Strava users do the same climb it will create a leader board that records other times for comparison. At the moment I am the only one to have done this so I am top of the leader board for the Laveyssiere climb and therefore King of the Mountain!
I managed to put on about 4 lbs over the 2 weeks of our holiday but this is not as bad as I feared, given the drink and the great hospitality we received. I did the route 5 times in all burning about 1500 calories – less than 0.5 lb! – and would have done more but it was mostly too hot for me. Daily temperatures peaked between 35 and 38 and made cycling after 9.00am uncomfortable on the hills especially. We hope to return, perhaps a bit earlier in the year, and do some longer rides with Judy and Matt if possible. Their house is in a fantastic area for cycling and it would be great to work out and explore some routes. This might be of interest to other visitors as well.
On the way back to Dieppe we stayed over night at Tours, a fantastic town to visit and spend more time at. We stayed in the Hotel Mirabeau where there was a lock-up garage to keep our bikes. This had quite a few others as well and we discovered that the Mirabeau, like many others in the Loire, had geared up for cyclists riding the Loire à Vélo paths and routes. This is a route made up of dedicated cycles paths and minor roads along the Loire for 800 kilometres, designed for exploring the beautiful Loire area and easy family friendly cycling. It is the westward part of the bigger Eurovélo 6 route from the Atlantic to the Black Sea that follows 3 major rivers, crosses 10 countries and extends 3,600 kilometres. Julia and I will certainly be returning to Tours to do some of this route. From mid June to mid September there is train service along the route that will carry bikes free and without having to make reservations. So, for instance, an ideal trip for a few days would be by train from Tours to Orleans and cycle back to Tours. There are also a range or pre-packaged tours with full accommodation and support if required.