January 1, 2011

June 5| Carcasonne to Villefranche



Today the riding turned messy and hard. There was a very lot of rain overnight, that continued into the morning, and mud greeted us on the Canal du Midi. Mud in our derailleurs and chains and brakes and soon enough all over us. It was hard to ride through and made the bikes heavier. I might have abandoned the canal route for the roads, but it remained very misty/foggy, and rainy, and I decided it was safer, if slower, going on the Canal path. We crossed paths with two loaded French cyclists headed the other direction, who only said, “Aujourd’hui ce n’est pas joli.” Even my French understood him to say: today, this is a **#!!*# drag!
Harbor on canal at Castelnaudary

It stayed muddy, but the sun came out and it cleared by early afternoon. We had an absolutely delicious lunch right next to the canal. Periodically I would decide to ride faster, and before long the bike would slip out and I’d be in my knees in mud. Not an effective strategy.

By the afternoon it got drier, the surface better and eventually became paved. We stopped in Villefranche and found a motel-type hotel, with a restaurant. It was fine, the shower hot, a place to lock our bike, the restaurant decent both for dinner and breakfast. But the best thing was they had a hose which they let us use to clean the bikes up in the morning before we set off for Toulouse on clean cycles, with a much refreshed attitude. Not an early start, but a good one.

44 miles Route: Canal du Midi

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