In this case the beast is Lazy Cat and 666 km is the distance travelled on the last day of my road trip. It was a long day, a proper full day’s ride and it was beautiful until almost the end. The last bit though was aweful 🙂 I hate highways, somehow it is much harder to travel 100 km/hour on highways than on roads, Lazy Cat doesn’t like it either, vibrates like hell and the wind buzz is deafening when trying to keep up a bit.
But let’s not linger with those boring bits, I had a good time, a grand finale of my two weeks of fantastic travelling. The Pyrinees are beautiful for riding and I avoided the highway as far as possible, returning on road 211 from Lleida, the same I started on, but that seems so long ago now. I have already planned for next year to follow the Pyrinees longer until Pamplona and then ride back through Sierra de la Demanda near Burgos. I look forward to next summer already!
But I am happy to be home, bike is stored away due to other travelling ahead and the washing machine is spinning – un-pack and re-pack. I’m going to Japan, life is sweet!
I spent a full day resting at La Grand Chaume and the following morning I started early for a very long ride south. I was heading to a small vilage near Carcassonne and the distance was 500 kilometres, on rather small roads. It was extremely hot and I had to make many stops during the day. I had to soak my jacket in water continuously to not get overheated. This is a trick I learnt in Australia when riding there in 2005, “you might feel stupid when soaking your jacket, but not nearly as stupid as you will feel when falling off your bike because of heat stroke” as my Aussie friend Jennifer said.
I also had to use both Coca-Cola and dextrosol to keep up the concentration but it was a beautiful ride. The landscape was changing as I rode south, some bits were on quite a high altitude, it was green fields that later changed for more brown fields and later forest. I passed so many pretty villages and if I ever move to France I have plenty of places to choose from. I almost regretted my plan due to low energy at the end but the hostel didn’t disappoint me. It was a lovely place next to a castle and it had a bar where the locals had a beer in the evening or a coffee in the morning which gave it a nice atmosphere. I was able to park my bike on the castle ground to keep it out of sight, the owner insisted. Very nice of her, not that I can understand what could happened in this tiny village that can’t in Madrid 🙂 Nevertheless, I always appreciate the concern about my bike.
Now I’m in Andorra, short ride today and an afternoon of shopping where I totally failed to buy riding trousers.
The WIMA Rally was situated in the area Val-de-Travers, in the french speaking part of Switzerland and our camp was on the sport ground in the village Couvet.
We had lovely weather, better than I could imagine after last years nighmare ride in the cold and rainy Susten pass. For a couple of nights I did sleep with wollen socks and thermal underwear, but it was still fine. And if it gets chilly in the evening you can always warm up with a hot foot-bath as these ladies.
It is a chame that I forgot to take a picture at my tent, it was probably the smallest one. I was lucky with neighbours though, providing shelter for sun and cooking equipment. We preprared most of our meals ourself wich was nice and saved lots of money. The only thing I remembered to bring was my spork, originally intended to eat beans from the can.
One of my favourite parts of the WIMA rally is the parade, everyone gets their bikes ready with flags or other national assesories and we go for a shorter ride togheter.
At the end of the parade we got fruit and buns and there I spent some time admiaring others bikes.
Lack of height has never been my problem. This Japanese lady amazed us all with her skills balancing the for her to tall bike. But no need to worry, she is a rider-instructor.
Apart from the riding there is plenty of social events taking place at a WIMA rally. The food was absolutely outstanding, very high quality and nutricious & delicious!
Time runs quickly and to soon the week has come to an end. Everyone is packing up to head on or head home. Anneli is taking the route through the Italian alps on her way to Estonia. For me, La Grande Chaume is the next destination and I will have a day of rest before taking on the last leg of the journey.
Next years rally is held in Poland and it seems impossibe not to go there and meet all the amazing WIMAs again. But before that I go to Japan and in then I meet some of these nice ladies again! 🙂 Having friends all over the world is a truly great thing!