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Day 3, Morale restored

Thanks to all your emails on the earlier reports, I'll keep forwarding them until you get really fed up.

I weighed up my options last night, head back to Cherbourg, lose the bike by accident and other dark thoughts. It's just the same as sailing. You spend the entire time checking forecasts and looking for all the sources until you find one which might offer some hope. Perhaps I need to take up some indoor pastime like darts.

As the hotel in Avranches wouldn't store the bike inside, so it's sitting in the rain asking to be stolen, I decided I had to move on. It couldn't get any worse. Forecast for today was suggesting the morning might be dry with then showers in the afternoon. So I thought, just go somewhere south, arrive by midday and then have a rest in the afternoon. Meanness also crept in as the Avranches hotel was quite expensive, so if I'm going to be fed up, might as well spend less doing it.

There was also the need to get some exercise as I didn't mention in the last report walking back from the railway station feeling miserable I walked past a kebab takeaway place. I know I rant about such places, but honestly, nothing else was open in the rain and I needed some comfort. I ate it in the room and that was also a mistake as it meant I couldn't leave any. In my defence amongst the three ton of fat there was one small slice of tomato and a slither of lettuce. So at least two of my five a day. I promise not to do this again.

So I left this morning. Just a 40km trip due south to Fougeres. It did start badly. I decided I couldn't put on different dry kit, as that could mean I just amass lots of wet kit and then run out. So it was on with the wet kit which hadn't dried. See, just like sailing!!

My only luxury was I swapped the wet socks for my new Sealskinz waterproof socks. OK, this is the second thing, after Google, I will become a disciple for. You've got to try these...

With toasty warm and dry feet my voyage ( or is it cycle) south went fine. Stayed dry, road was very quiet. There was this one moment the sun came out, just for a few seconds. I knew because it meant I couldn't see Google in the glare. Why is nothing ever simple?

All the time I'm looking around for the inevitable rain, but despite blackness in the distance I avoided it.

On one long hill I have to admit I engaged blue power. Now for those unfamiliar with the Fazua ebike system, you get 4 power levels.

White is power off, green is low, blue is medium and red is hyper ballistic.

I spend nearly all my time riding on white, as it avoids the guilt complex and you know your battery won't run out. I think my attitude to ebikes is just like mobile phones, at some point next century I will get there.

Just on the hills I switch to green if I'm feeling pathetic.

As this was a short trip with rain coming in, I thought how pissed off I'd be if I got soaked in the last 15 minutes and could have got there those 15 minutes earlier with a bit more oompff. So I gave in and for the first time ever switched to BLUE!! Now please remember I also still have a bad back so plenty of excuses. It felt great.

I'm on a very quiet road in the depths of Brittany, no traffic, and bugger me I come up behind another cyclist. Literally in the middle of nowhere I'm going along 10 metres behind. I had been in front but he got past when I stopped for a pee. I was clearly cycling a touch faster, but was embarrassed to overtake as I'm on an e-bike. Fortunately I'm now so close I can hear his breathing and see he has a rear hub motor. My god an old French guy on an e-bike. This is a competition. See - same as cruising. Shoot past with a quick bonjour and leave him in my dust - except the roads are wet so spray I suppose.

Arrive in Fougeres just before midday. Very pretty, one day will take a photo of these arrivals....

Find the hotel and blimey, the day gets better, they let me in to the room, despite check-in normally not for another 4 hours.

Bicycle goes in a garage and they give me a key. Decide it's time for a celebration. They have an attached cafe/restaurant. One thing which is very French is the formule du jour. A 2 or 3 course set menu, sometime no choice for each course, in this case 2 or 3 things for each. Only 11 euros for a 3 course meal.

I started with a dish including the word salade, as it didn't have the word kebab in the title and sounded healthy. Followed by a pork main course that included FRITES, then a dessert. I was losing the plot as none of this was written down and you can only take in so much as the waitress talks to you in fast French. Anyway it was brilliant. I sat on the terrace under an awning. The crowning glory was that it started raining as the first course arrives. I'm dry and I'm watching others getting wet.

There was this really odd thing going on on the next table. A guy in his thirties I think, looking a bit like an immigrant, just having a tiny coffee. The place next door sold lottery scratch cards. He would buy a card, scratch it whist smoking a fag. Find presumably he hadn't won, got up and went and bought another. Lit up another fag, scratched and kept doing it. Literally at least 10 cards and fags in a row. I wondered if I should start a conversation but decided he probably wouldn't understand the complexities of e-bike power colours.

Talking about conversations in cafes, I forgot to mention during yesterday's washout and I'm sheltering in a cafe chatting to this French guy - as we're the only two people in the place and he's clearly as much billy no mates as me. He seemed a bit unfriendly, which I took to mean I was talking complete rubbish in French, perhaps had even offended him. Anyway right at the end he asks how I can do such a long trip now Brexit has happened. I tell him I'm Irish, not English, and we're now engaged. Turns out he hates the English, so let that be a lesson to all those who could get an Irish passport, but can't be bothered.

I've spent the afternoon in the hotel room on the Chromebook. Positive attitude. Planned the next two days and booked the hotels.

Will arrive on the south coast at Pornic on Saturday late afternoon. Tomorrow is forecast to be dry all day so it's going to be a long one. 120km to just north of Nantes.

Room is full of drying clothing as the heating is on full blast and even the shoes are drying out.

Will report total distance covered after tomorrow as the number will be bigger. On that subject kilometres are great. Suddenly you're going massively faster and further without putting in more effort.

We should always use them. No more knots.....


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