April 9th, 2024 –  St-Gervais-sur-Mare – Murat-sur-Vebre – 26kms (Gord) 35kms (Ruth) – Gite L’Etape des Menhirs

I do have a habit of getting anxious and perseverating about difficult days on the route, when I’m not on the same road as Gord. But yesterday’s ride hit me as a complete surprise. I knew the wind was gusting up to 65kms/hour and that it was a climbing day, but Mon Dieu!

On difficult days Grandma Friday  and I get focused. For anyone who doesn’t know, she is my old beautiful Bike Friday New World Tourist. She doesn’t say much, generally, but she will let me know that she’s there and not going anywhere. “Don’t forget to tighten my hinge bolt,” she mutters as we push off into the wind. The day started with swirling sun showers and a rainbow as we commenced our climb out of the village.  On the suggestion of our host I took a quieter and longer road that climbs  to over a thousand meters in 20 kms instead of 10. 

With the sun my shadow emerged and we enjoyed the slow ascent as a climbing trio once again. Of course she is a fair weather gal and buggered off for shelter whenever the clouds and rain threatened. 

We were climbing up to a plateau where we will spend two cold and windy nights. My plan was to just go slowly and steadily and try to stay as warm and dry as possible. The rain was supposed to end, but it continued to spit and occasionally rain. My average speed was only 6 kms/hour but I was still moving forward. We climbed over three passes, leaving spring behind before heading up above the tree line for the final pass at 1128 meters. With howling winds the loss of wind protection was, at times, frightening. I wanted to take a picture of Grandma with a massive rock mountain behind her, but as soon as I stepped away she yelped and begged me to hang on to her so she wouldn’t blow over the edge. A kms later she was willing to pose by a retaining wall in a more sheltered spot. 

Coming over the top the more challenging problem was staying warm. At 5 degrees and a little damp I was grateful that it was a plateau and not a long descent.  Grandma and I warmed up enough with a few short climbs into our final destination. And there waiting for us was Gord and my shadow. 

But today is a new day. Gord just told me it’s two degrees with winds gusting to 75 kms/hour. 


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