By 8.30am I was on the road, starting my day with a pain du chocolate and an unknown type of very sugary baguette that I managed to finish in two goes.
I continued cycling south and the scenery was pretty much the same all the way through. Widely spread coastal resort towns by the ocean with nothing special to see, apart from the occasional topless granny and her minuscule dog.
A little more interesting town I went through was Talmont Saint Hilaire which had more character and a castle from the 11th century.
It also had a big petrol station along with a car wash, where by using my perfect by now french, I managed to convince them to let me use their pressure water spray to clean my bike. After 12 days on the road through many dusty cycle paths, my bike was full of dirt and mud. After the wash, all the wierd sounds from the chain disappeared and the ride was once again smooth and more enjoyable.
As I approached La Tranche, I went into the supermarket for picnic supplies and to look once more for that stove I need. This time they had the two different types of gas tanks, but none of the burners. I had my lunch by the beach under a tiny patch of shade. At least the wind from the ocean kept me very cool. After lunch, book reading, a short siesta and an ice cream, I departed for the last part of today’s ride.
It was hot all day long, but I don’t mind while cycling as the air cools me down and as long as I drink pleanty of water everything is ok. For about 10km I was heading north and I noticed that I could effortlessly reach speeds of 40km/hr but that was of course because of the strong tail wind pushing me. Then there was a big U turn and about 25km in the opposite direction and for about 2 hours I was strugling to cycle over 15km/hr. The wind along with temperatures sometimes above 35, made it one of the toughest rides I’ve done so far in the trip. As a teenager I used to hate the wind because it was messing up my carefully styled hair before school. Now I hate when it is on my face as it makes my ride harder.
I guess with all that struggle I should have found a camp site on the way and call it a day. But what I wanted was to get as close as possible to La Rochelle, but not inside, as it will probable be a lot more expensive. Tomorrow I am taking the day off, so I’ll be close enough to go and visit the city and I will also have the opportunity to cross the bridge to the opposite island de Re. I also need the next map and a banana to celebrate.