October 4, 2021
It should have been a fairly easy day. We had 127 kilometers to ride but the terrain was nearly flat. There should have been plenty of time to soak in the scenery. Instead, the day began with a pounding rain and the only thing soaked in was our bodies. Even with full rain gear the cross and head winds managed to drive the moisture into everything.
My day started with a navigation malfunction that left me without voice prompts from my phone. Normally this would have been a minor inconvenience but the rain made my glasses useless and the dim daylight made it hard to see my map. I finally had to find a dry place to stop and reset everything to get back on track. Then my gear cable broke.
While I had overhauled every component on my bike before the trip, the weak link in the chain was a new derailleur cable from China. Due to Covid there was not much choice in some bike components and this one managed to pop off the little nub that attaches the cable to the shift lever. Fortunately, I carry spares and the tools to replace them. Even more fortunately the rain had stopped and I only had a cold wind to contend with while doing the job. Twenty minutes later I was was back on course and looking forward to lunch.
The hardest part of the day came after lunch when we turned from having a cross wind into a five kilometer long section directly into a gale force headwind. If any rider said that they enjoyed that part of the journey they had to be fibbing or on medication. However, after that section we made an abrupt turn to travel along the Rhone a Sete canal and the wind, while still strong was not as much a problem. The canal had its charms with a barge making its slow progress past us and further on a few towns along the canal with some interesting canal boats moored to the shoreline. If the day had been nicer and our bodies less chilled we may have stopped to explore.
Upon reaching the Mediterranean once again we traveled along a maze of bike paths and over some rough paving slabs for a few kilometers before reaching some smoother surfaces for the last leg of our 127 kilometer journey. Wet, chilled and sore we quickly secured our bikes and headed for a warming shower. Tomorrow, there will be laundry.