…was the day we arrived in Biarritz!
It started slightly earlier than we have been, I think because it was the final push, and also because Jonny was shamed yesterday.
Packed up for the penultimate time we set off, again on the forest cycle paths. These were not all as well kept as some of them, but it was cooler in the woods and didn’t require any navigation.
Again we seemed to start slow and then the kms went quicker.
At one point, going through the woods we saw in the distance a man sitting on a log by the path, with a gun in his hand. It looked like he was asleep and we were worried what might happen of we startled him. He wasn’t asleep, but as we passed he just watched us, without smiling or responding to our ‘bonjour.’ About 20m later there was another, a bit further into the woods, facing the path, holding his gun. Then another, then another. for about 200m they we lined up ready to shoot something. Thankfully not us.
We then hit cycle hire territory. the paths were brilliant, but they were also littwr with children, ladies and ‘Sunday drivers.’ However, there were a few stretched of about 7km at a time where we got into the zone and flew. This pretty much confirmed what was happening in the magical forest. When we got in a line and cycled we just went faster and faster- it was great fun.
A particularly memorable point along this stretch was one where there were loads of tourists, and we heard the familiar call from behind to keep in because a proper cyclist was passing. Most of us pulled in, and as he passed he turned and said ‘Hello’ to each of us. Pete, who had delayed getting in and slowed him down, took his ‘Hello’ to be sarcastic and so decided to hot-tail him. He struggled to keep up, but then managed when the guy kindly stopped to help a lady at a map find her way. Pete took offense to the kindest man on the path!!
The day was getting hotter and hotter. Grace, in the support vehicle, had looked for campsites and had found one in Bidart, about 10km further than Biarritz. The prospect of adding 10km to our journey was not pleasant, especially considering the fact that we wanted to spend the evening in the city so it would mean cycling back in after setting up. A visit to the info office told us about a campsite in Anglet, right by the airport. This would be perfect for my going home tomorrow, and closer to the city, in fact on our way so no extra distance. Thankfully, when we arrived that had space.
We pitched, off loaded our bags and set off for the final stretch to the destination. For some reason, somewhere along the line, swimming in Biarritz became the destination. I need to get a few things like tape for packing my bike up, and we wanted a team-t-shirt so we went into town first, then got to the beach around 630pm. It was still baking and a dip in the sea was delightful; good waves.
Biarritz is nice, but I didn’t feel like I was missing out to leave tomorrow. As we sat having a take-away tea on an out-crop, I was very aware that the journey had been the holiday, not the destination.
The cycle back up to the campsite in Anglet was not as bad as we had feared, having rolled all the way down! There was just time to sit and reflect on the week over a cigar before heading into the tent for the last night this trip.
12 o’Clock Photos