Day 3: Brittany

Last modified 2023/08/16 18:07


(8% battery left on the laptop, I was sure I charged it on the ferry) If I were to explain today in one word it would be “knee”.

On the boat I went to my cabin after writing my blog post and drinking my beer, had a shower, and immediately fell asleep. The next thing I know I wake up in the pitch black to the ships alarm clock, which proceeded to repeat itself at 10 minute intervals before announcing that the boat would be docking in one hour. I would rather have had that hour back, as I was exhausted.

After attempting to doze for 30 minutes I made my way upstairs and got a coffee and some bread and jam, shortly afterwards I went down to my bike and maybe 7 other cyclists who were there before me.

We were some of the first vehicles off the ferry, while waiting at customs I struck up conversation with some of the other passengers. Dominique had been cycling “La Cournuaille” and we soon started speaking french and I found I could communicate adequately well, within a few minutes he offered me his phone number and the possibility of accommodation at e Sables D’Olende just past Nantes, then a lady and her son started talking to me, I mentioned I was from Weymouth and her 12 year old son said he does watersports there and we talked about hydrofoils (well they did, I don’t know anything about them), they were heading to a lake in the Alps.

Dominique was waiting for me after the border check “If you want, we are rolling on the same route, we can go together, except that you go faster than me!” “On y va” I said nonchalantly. It was soon evident that Dominique was going faster than me, and also that my legs were aching. I struggled to keep up, fortunately after 10 kilometers he had a phone call and had to go and meet a friend for coffee, before he went he told me that Brittany is the land of “La choufe” and “L’artichoke” and that Brittany Ferries was originally started as a means to transport the produce to England. He repeated his offer for accomodation as we parted ways and shook hands.

beach Beach

It was good to meet Dominique, but I was glad to be able to find my own pace again. The scenery west from Roscoff could be described by “lots of big rocks”. There are big rocks everywhere. Sometimes rather impressive ones. There are also lots of white sanded beaches. And tourists (battery runs out).

rock Rock

(Now I’m sitting in the camp site’s bar with a cold beer and power for my laptop).

I was reassured on the ferry that Brittany was flat. And it has been merciful, however what hills there were caused significant problems for my left knee.

church Church

The knee started to hurt yesterday and I assumed it would be better today, but after a few hours it was hurting again and it didn’t get better, possibly it got worse to the extent that it became practically impossible to use it to exert any power on the pedal. This meant that I had to use my right to compensate which meant that I was at half power.

I reasoned reasonably that a beer was in order and that a beer would probably cure my knee, so for lunch I tried to find a restaurant. I found a restaurant de Crêpe, I ordered a large beer and a Crêpe de Cheese and Egg and some chips and ketchup. It was a good lunch. It didn’t make my knee better however.

lunch Lunch

Every now and then I look down at my speedometer (cycle computer) and every now and then I see that it reads 0.00kmph. The magnet and the magnetic switch that it switches on it’s way past the fork are precariously paired, I’m not sure they were made for each-other - they only work when they are precisely aligned, and any bump in the road can disrupt their orbit and I need to stop and realign them.

The problem of the knee was highlighted when I tried to climb an otherwise innocent incline in a village, while I could push with my right, the left was too painful and I let out a grunt of pain as the bike lost forward momentum

  • startling some French tourists close by - and hopped off the bike and had to walk it - with my knee in it’s current state I would have had to have walked up every single one of the hills yesterday and it is perhaps my stubborn refusal to walk up hills that my knee is in it’s current state.

rock House in between Rock

I resolved that, if one beer failed to cure my knee, two beers would be worth a shot. About an hour later I found a convenience store and got a can of Kronenberg (€1.50), a packet of crisps and a baguette “Traditional” - which I think are sometimes known as “rustic” baguettes in the UK, but in the UK they are shit, in France they are wonderful.

I stashed the beer in my bag (sadly the beer wasn’t cold) and proceeded, extremely slowly on my coastal way west. I was looking out for a nice place to stop to enjoy my beer and eveventually came upon a beach, I wheeled my bike down the wooden ramp which led out onto the white sands, parked it, got my beer, and sat down on a dune.

By this time I had done around 67kilometers and had taken over 5 hours doing it. Today should have been a 100k day, and given the light demands of the terrain, I could have done 100k in 5-6 hours. I was going too slowly and I was begining to suspect that beer was not the solution, and maybe rest was, so I decided to stop before my 100k target and check into the next campsite of convenience.

I ordered and am now eating a pizza. I’m sure my knee will get better tomorrow, but if it doesn’t I may need to change my plans, one possiblity would be to make a shorted and slower tour and head down and then turn back towards the north coast and get a ferry to Plymouth, maybe cycling up the river Loire from Nantes.