September 12, 2013

Up, down, up, down and again

The view of Conques from the road above town

Leaving Conques not as early as I wanted, the day started immediately with a long, but never terribly steep, climb up the hill above the village. 4.2 miles, 1050 feet of climb. It rolled along, following a very nice little road, where I say many (perhaps 75) pilgrims, and warnings for the cars to be careful, but almost no cars.

The road to Conques, where I saw pilgrims, cars and bicycles ... in that order.

Two pilgrims. I saw many carrying only enough gear for the day, using services to move their gear from town to town.

After some fairly flat riding, a long descent, another 1500 feet up. The route rolled along, up, down, up, down. My road ended in a T intersection, with this cow far more interested in the goings-on on the street than those in the field. And not much at all was going on.

The landscape, and the road I had been following.

I knew there would be a long, often steep descent down to the Lot River, on a small road ... but didn't anticipate quite how far down or how long. I really didn't want to retrace my steps, so even though the road sign had said to the D920, I check and double checked, wanting to be sure that this little road ended with a bridge across the Lot, and not with me stuck on the wrong side, needing to climb back up. It seemed surely ok, so I continued.

Coming around a bend, I met two French cyclists, feet on the ground, pushing their loaded bikes uphill. "Is it far to the top," they asked. Indeed, I had to say, it is far ... and steep. They were cyclists, not new at it. They were from Grenoble. That said one thing to me: they were used to hills, and this one was steep if they were reduced to walking!

The Lot River, near my crossing  below Golinhac

Reaching the river, I turned south to Estaing, where I ate a big, hot lunch, surrounded by pilgrims (pelerins) on the Route to Compostelle, doing the same. The day had been in the mid-50s, sputtering rain, and I knew there was more climbing and another 25 or so miles to go. Food seemed important, and it was an excellent decision.

The Lot River

Followed the river for a bit more, then turned inland at St. Come d'Olt, to repeat the process. Up, up, up some more, though again never wildly steep. This time the road descended with a long, more gradual descend into St.Geniez d'Olt, where I am sharing the hotel with a huge busfull, probably 80 in all, of Belgian senior citizens, and right now wondering what effect that will have on dinner. Glad lunch was good.

The last hill I climbed up, before the descent to St. Geniez d' Olt

View Conques to St. Geniez d' Olt in a larger map


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