Day 9: BosmeleacLast modified 2023/08/25 11:11
The french guy was short and maybe around 65 and his eyes sparkled as he talked at me about his cycling trip around the highlands. I was exhausted and gave him little encouragement “ah bon!” “mais c’est pas mal” “bah ouai” “fault le faire”. Until he ran himself out. I ended up camping next to him, and he was snoring at 8:30 and he snored until 8:30 for 12 hours he snored. Luckily I had my ear plugs, although the price for using them is ear infections and the loss of the otherwise nice ambient sound of water running and birds singing.
I woke in the middle of the night, I had a bad dream, in the dream I had my ear plugs in, and I woke and was paranoid that there was something outside my tent. I poked my head outside hesitantly, half expecting it to be bitten off by a monster of the night and looked up to the clear night sky as I rarely see it, I convinced myself that there were probably not any monsters in the night, and anyway if there were, they’d take the snorer. Snoring is an evolutionary paradox.
I woke up at 7:30 then thought “fuck this” and slept until 08:30 and got up made coffee, ate the reamining cerial with water, walked over to the cafe to use the Wifi, walked back and washed my saucepan packed up, tried to copy some music to my phone and failed, only managing to transfer 7MB of 1GB of the music I wanted, it really shouldn’t be that hard and I need to reflect on my life and it was 9:30 before I left, which is quite late and means that at lunchtime I would not have covered half of my 100k target.
Broken at last
Fortunately I was now on the greenway, the V7 cyleway which follows an old train line. It was fast and I managed to keep an average speed of around 20kmph with a small amount of effort, that small amount of effort would add up during the day though.
The path was uneventful and required little thought, which also meant that although I was going relatively fast, my brain was going slow and it felt like a long time. There were lots of short-distance-holiday-cyclists on the route, and some long distance ones. At the beginning I nodded and smiled and said “bonjoouura”, but with each passing cyclist I put less effort until after 5 hours it was barely a nod of acknowledgement.
The initial leg took me towards Carhaix-Plouguer before which I would leave the old train-track-greenway and join a canal (also abandoned in the initial segment it seems as the one of the two gates were missing from each lock and I didn’t see any canal baots on the entire journey today).
As I joined the canal I took a wrong turning and as I corrected myself I saw 5 cyclists ride pass, then 10, then 20, then… it was a fucking slow moving convoy of cyclists. I stopped for a break, hoping I could give them a good enough head start that they would turn off before I caught up. I hopped off my bike, wheeled it to a picnic table, flipped the kickstand out, let go of the bike and SNAP! it fell down. The kickstand, which has been good for 12 years snapped in half. Swearing and cursing ensued.
The kickstand is one of the accessories on a bike that you wouldn’t think of, but which is really really useful. Being able to stop anywhere and park up your bike, being able to park it within arms-reach of your tent, being able to walk around it and fix things while it’s upright. So I’ll be looking out for a new one, although I doubt I can find a heavy duty one before I’m home (incidentally the other accessory in this category is a mirror. Never leave home without one).
Bread for Sport People (pretty good too)
I continued down the canal. It was fast, and it kept being fast, after ten kilometers I noticed my water bottles were covered in dust from the road, and I kept passing the numbered locks - 9, 8, 7, 6, …
The canal was incredibly verdant, with lush trees providing continuous shelter from the sun, some of the trees were huge, and the route provided benches at regular intervals, there was wildlife too and I saw a heron.
4 - the end of this section of the canal route
“nous sont en ad..” the old lady said “pardon?” i slowed my bike “nous sommes seulement en admiration de ton fortesse” (or similar) “ah bon” I said wondering to what they were referring. I guess it was the heavily laden bike.
I was feeling pretty exhausted after 5 hours and I had at least 20k to go, I stopped to get a cold drink at a Tabac/Bar saying Bonjour to a couple of locals sitting outside, seeing that they had none I ordered a demi-pression and sat outside drinking, and then one of the “locals” picked up the phone and spoke in a slightly camp but strongly Irish accent to his partner. Until now I hadn’t encountered many, if any, non-French tourists, but today I met or overheard several.
Now following a river
Towards the end of the journey I noticed some pain under my right arm-pit, I reached under and felt that it was swollen, after thinking for a bit and later googling I think it’s a swollen gland, probably from over exertion, possibly because of an infection, but I feel otherwise fine and expect it to go away.
The left knee didn’t cause any further trouble today, in fact if anything the right knee was threatening to play up, which is good I guess. There was one very steep incline today, which I chose to walk up to be on the cautious side.
I’m pretty sure I need a rest day. At the same time my voyage is reaching its end - at a (very long) stretch I could make it to St. Malo tomorrow and be home by Wednesday. But there are options, I could prolong it and continue to Cherbourg (both St. Malo and Cherbourg have ferries to Pool which is a short train journey, or a medium cycle ride, to my home). I’ve been thinking about what I’d do with my remaining holiday while riding my bike. In anycase I expect to be home in 3 to 4 days.
I made it to a campsite in Bosmeleac, which advertised itself as a Crêperie but has a good campsite, on arriving I oredered a large beer and sat down as my phone automatically registered on the free wifi. It’s been a tough day even though it was an easy one geographically.
The Crêperie was closed, but there was a restaurant on the other side of the lake, where I got an OK burger and chips and beer for €18.50 which is a bit more than I budgeted for as I still have fond memories of my large beer and vegetarian Crêpe which cost just €8.50 a few days ago. Can’t win them all.