Another eventful day on the road as I headed to Paris from a town called Gisors…
Waking up at the campsite was so lovely and peaceful. The promise of an overnight electrical storm didn’t materialise thankfully. It’s was a foggy morning and a bit cool. Nice cycling weather. Not too hot not too cold. I’d decided to take a direct route via some D roads towards Courdimanche before joining up again with Avenue Verte.
The D road journey was lovely. I was motoring along and taking in the fresh air of rural France. Every so often I passed Amy and Dizzy in the Mirror Image van which was a welcome sight. Useful for a snack break and to see their smiling faces. Yep, Dizzy has a smiling face. She shows her teeth in a funny haapy way, not a rabud dog way.
A bit of tiredness and a slight lack of concentration meant that I missed the turning for Courdimanche. Quelle surprise. Another 20mins of getting lost and re-navigating my way with the help of Amy’s Sat nav to find my way to Avenue Verte again. Not long out of the town heading towards Paris I saw a brilliant sign post…
30km to Paris!! I texted Amy the brilliant news. I knew I could blast that distance with no bother. The Avenue Verte signage was good and I pressed on, happy in the knowledge I wasn’t far from my goal. As I reached the outskirts of Paris the environment became more industrial and a little bit less desirable. At times I felt a bit vulnerable and despite needing to stop for water it didn’t feel very safe. A bit further along I reached the iconic River Seine.
At some point (I can’t remember which part now) I had to cycle through a forest. I got lost. It was muddy. I was tired. I managed to find my way out with the help of Google Maps and was rewarded with the view of a beautiful chateau.
From here I was back on a traffic free path which followed the river and finally the sun had come out! Life was good. But…my happiness was mildly crushed when I reached another signpost…
Ummm 31km to Paris. What? Are you kidding me? Have I been cycling backwards the last 20km??? I’d followed the route to the letter and definitely hadn’t deviated from the path (apart from the forest bit). So that was another 18miles to grind out. Ok I can manage that but I was a bit peeved. Head down. Music off so I could focus. Off I went again. I religiously followed the signs and kept checking my map. I passed under the ring road of Paris and headed into the centre. Time was moving on and I was keen to finish. The sun turned into a quick electrical storm which passed pretty quickly but now the roads were really wet. I was on the final stretch to Notre Dame and I caught a glimpse of it in the distance. What a sight. When I got there it was all a bit surreal. It was funny seeing all the tourists milling around as I rolled up on Bikey McBike Face having been travelling since Monday morning. It didn’t feel real. I found a nice lady to snap a quick pic before trying to find some water and a quick bite to eat.
Happiness at Notre Dame!!!
From here I needed to navigate out to the hotel in Porte De Vincennes. This was actually easier than navigating the Avenue Verte, but on the way I had two falling off incidents. They were both my own fault and I think I’d switched off a bit after reaching my goal. No injuries. Pride dented again and wet trousers from falling in a giant puddle.
At last the hotel! Time for a quick shower and to take Dizzy off to her Parisienne pet sitter. Later on we met up with the Cardiff Dragons women’s footy team who we’re with for the weekend. We’re competing in the Tournoi International Paris which is a multi sport event with over 3000 competitors in lots of sports. I’ll be playing in goal and this is definitely my LAST ever competitive footy. I’ve retired and un-retired more times than I can remember. I’ve been in denial for many years now that my knees can still handle competitive sport. After two ACL reconstructions, various arthroscopies and an injection into the joint I think the signs are there to retire for good. Women’s walking football once a week on a recreational basis is my limit for team sport. Plus the odd long distance bike ride won’t hurt.
As for this trip I think it’s a bit of a final test for both me and my bike that we can still “perform”. Anyway, enough philosophical ramblings. Off to play footy ☺