France – Jour 12 – Part 1

Day 5 – Duvine Burgundy Adventure

After a rainy Day 4 of our Duvine Burgundy Adventure – we looked cautiously out the window to see how the weather was for our last riding day!  Thankfully – although it had rained overnight the day appeared to be cool but dry.

Vincent with the bike fleet

Barry and Kristen – Ready to ride

Vincent warned us that the ride today would be relatively challenging… that it would start with a couple of hills – hmmm…. and that it would be quite a long day on the bike.  It sounds like I might need to make use of the van for the first part of the ride – especially given there would be other challenges later in the ride.  

Calorie support

In order to prep everyone for the ride – someone suggested some stretches. After all, we hadn’t ridden the day before, and there was a hill start! So, I was entertained for the next 10 minutes by the sight of the whole team doing stretches… even Adam on the roof of the van!!

Then everyone set off – after about 15 minutes of driving uphill – we got to the top. 

A beautiful day at the top of the first hill.

My bike was unloaded and I was able to set off… I was on my way.  The first thing I got to enjoy was a great downhill ride!

On the road….

We meandered through a range of lovely French villages…

Had some great views….

… and even enjoyed the last of the sunflowers still in bloom…

And then – qu’elle horreur!! We were just starting a little hill through the town of Messanges, when my Garmin started screaming 11% (… or maybe that was me screaming…).  Anyhow, I was already in 1/1 on the gears – there was nowhere left to go!  And I told Andrew: I have nowhere left to go!!   Then, like the horn of an archangel, I heard a toot – the van was right behind me, and Adam was behind the wheel motioning with his hands “Helen, no!”  God bless you Adam!   

You’ve got to love a guide who knows when to stop a rider…  and tell them to get on the van!! Stephanie joined me for the ride up to the top of the next hill.  I don’t think the other riders knew what they were getting into – over the next 6 kilometres, the riders had another 293 metres of elevation gain!!  Oooh la la!!

June was the first to the top… and she struck the winner’s pose, also acknowledging her sponsers!!

And wouldn’t you know it – Andrew was just behind her – and did exactly the same thing!!

Barry, Al & Deb

Kristen, Rob & Lynn

Lisa, Mary & Tom

Everyone made it to the top – and were true champions.  Please note – these pics are not in order of who appeared (apart from June, who was first and Andrew, who was second) – they are all amazing riders who got to the top of a seriously challenging hill and no doubt stretched themselves!!   They’re all winners!!

They certainly deserved their snacks!!  Only in France would you see 65% chocolate M&Ms!

And not to be outdone… Vincent loved his photo finish and decided to head straight for the photographer (aka me!).

The photographer thought it was pretty funny!!

Viva Las Vegas – Lynn, June & Stephanie

And the Las Vegans were very happy to be together again!

Of course, there was another 6 km of rolling hills where the riders had another 145m of elevation gain.  Adam suggested that Steph and I might want to get out a bit further along…  we fervently agreed with him.   And so it was – that we got out at the top of the big hill (marked by a green star on the graph below) and did a brilliant descent into the little town of Le Pont D’Ouche – which sounds kind of rude, but actually literally means – Bridge over the river Ouche.

Here I am coming into Le Pont D’Ouche – I love that the man with the baguette was as excited as I was!

Le Pont D’Ouche is where the River Ouche meets the canal and follows it down to the River Saône, one of the very few aqueducts on the Burgundy canal.   We now had to follow the canal for 18km to our lunch stop.

It looks very beautiful… but I can confirm that it started pouring down on the way – so it was pretty hard going.  The path along the canal had a few little pot holes which quickly filled up with water… and it wasn’t exactly sealed – so the ride was a little rough at times.   Oooh ma derriere!

But it was also very beautiful as well….

We even passed Chateauneuf… but we didn’t have time to stop….

We finally made it to Pouilly en Auxois where we could have some lunch – we stopped at a little Bar-Pizzeria on Rue René Laforge, where they did some wonderful woodfired pizzas!

La Forestiere

La Forestiere for me – although I did ask for plein de champignons –  I don’t think it translated well, because the mushrooms appeared to be a bit thin.  Ah well… I must practise my French!

French Meatlover’s Pizza

I can’t remember the name of Andrew’s pizza – so I’ve just called it the equivalent of the French meatlover’s as it had chorizo and ham.  He was happy – especially with a beer as well!

The next stage of the ride was an optional leg – and was only recommended for the hard core cyclists.  In fact, earlier in the week – the guides had said no-one has really finished the entire Thursday ride….  That threw the gauntlet down.  Naturally June volunteered, as did Andrew… Vincent was happy…

Another 1 hour and 20 minutes, 30 kilometres, and 363 metres of elevation gain later… the weary riders pulled in.  Oooh la la!  They were beat!!

Here are the map and vital statistics for the ride…. we travelled from right to left…

Map – Day 5 Burgundy

Green stars are where I joined the ride, and the red stars are where I got in the support van.

Elevation – Day 5 Burgundy

What a day – we had seen all four seasons, and most of the riders had put in the hard yards of many hills and kilometres…. They had certainly earned themselves their dinner at the 3 Michelin starred restaurant that was featuring tonight.   Even though I cycled the least of everybody, I still managed to clock up 30km of riding and about 60m of elevation gain… and naturally in the interests of research I still had to have dinner!!!

Stay tuned to hear all about it… did 3 Michelin stars live up to the hype??