…started with one man down and ended with one man down, but for very different reasons!
It rained during the night and was still raining as we got up and packed everything wet. I have many memories of this from last year, I just hope it isn’t the pattern for 8 days like then. We were one man down because Pete got taken to get his back wheel fixed and we were to meet him in town. So five of us set out getting soaking wet. We were set to cross the bridge in St. Nazaire, which we did but with zero visibility either side so not as impressive as it might have been. Although we were meant to meet Pete before the bridge we found ourselves there and before we knew it were on the bridge, so instead we looked for a cafe on the other side.
After a hot chocolate Pete rejoined us and we set off again. The short break in the rain was short lived and any drying that had taken place was wasted.
The cycling was much easier going, now following EuroVelo 1 or the Velocean Route along the coast and the back lanes. The goal was 60km, which is much more my style, and we had had a big break after 15km so the second quarter was no problem, despite the rain.
Pornic looked to be a delightful town for lunch, but the rain kept us huddled under a shop awning imagining sitting on the dockside watching the yachts pass by.
Cold and wet we abandoned the cycle route’s scenic twists and turns in favour of a straight, fast road to our destination.
Still in the rain we put our heads down and pedalled, wiping away the kms. With only 8kms to go we hit a queue of traffic, which turned out to be quite good fun as we weaved in and out. The queue died down through Bouin and as we started to pick up speed again everything turned upside down.
Well, Pete did, anyway. He slipped on some gravel and flipped, thankfully away from the traffic. We picked him up, and his bike, and assessed the damage. The bike was fine, but a large amount of gravel was now embedded in Pete’s hand, one very large sharp stone in particular. Thankfully a pair of tweezers was a hand and he valiantly removed it (I couldn’t watch.) However, a trip into the adjacent Sports Centre resulted in them calling an ambulance.
For those who don’t know, a couple of years ago Pete set off for Barcelona with The Major and another mate. After about a week he ended up in hospital after setting fire to his legs, so if you had to guess who this happened too, you would guess Pete!
Much to the assembled sport’s teams interest and our amusement, the ambulance arrived. Apparently in France they have a joint fire/paramedic team so the device was also a fire engine! Facebook was updated and friends texted whilst plans were made, and I set off with Pete in the fire engine/ambulance sirens and all!!
The Urgences department is much the same as A&E so there we were 4hrs later. Many have come and gone and there are now quite few people we have almost gotten to know by looking at each other for hours. Pete was finally seen, stitched up and released about 9pm; just as another British family arrived with a young boy screaming with a broken arm!!
The others had all had their own adventures and so we arrived at our campsite in St. Gervaise, at 930pm as it was getting dark, to find dinner just cooked (thanks girls) and it starting to rain again.
Being wet is not my favourite thing in the world and right now I have no idea if I have any dry clothes or not, but that will have to wait for the morning because I am tucked up in my tent with heavy eyes.
12 o’Clock Photos