Saturday, 29 June 2013

Day 1 - Toulouse - Saint Blancard

It's 4AM. 4AM... Eternaaaaaaal... Early start at London Gatwick to catch 6am flight. Thank you Premier Inn for our 4 hours sleep. Flight arrived 8:30am local time, bikes assembled and we were off...

Start: 10:00

Finish: 15:40

Distance: 84km

Cycling time: 4:10

Total climbing: 460m

Punctures: 1

Mechanical failures: 1 (UTS error)

We found an easy route from the airport and out of Toulouse, joining the D632 towards Fonsorbes. Not long and our first puncture: John's tour puncture curse strikes again.

Generally flat route for the first half of the ride but a very strong headwind. After St Lys the countryside got more interesting with a few sharp ascents, including one around 15% near Cadeillan. A good warm up for the legs ahead of the hills to come.

Lunch was hard to find, ultimately a jambon et fromage baguette from a boulangerie in Lombez. More rolling hills thereafter and several stops for John to try and remedy mechanical problems with his bike. After several attempts to fix we paused near a dead buzzard by the side of the road and realised he'd been riding all day with his back brakes locked on. A bit early in the tour for resistance training.

Our final climb was the short 3km into our destination, Saint Blancard. All of us felt wobbly legged by the time we reached the town. Just a little more effort than wanted for the first "easy" day. Still, the hotel, Le Relais du Chateau, was quickly found, and all of us changed for a relaxing beer...

Outside Premier Inn, Gatwick with Adam
Bike assembled and kitted up
Outside the hotel in front of Saint Blancard's chateau

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