Sens to Montbard

So, day 7 in the saddle and not your ordinary Tuesday. Is it Tuesday? I think so….time is starting to blur a bit at the edges.

We packed up from the campsite in Sens in the sun and luck was on our side as it stayed dry all day. The mornings are a bit chilly here but by noon it’s noticeably a few degrees warmer, so it was a mix of jacket on / off and trousers rolled up / down. The start of today’s ride was bliss despite my knees feeling like puffy beach balls. It was lovely to have smooth roads out of Sens heading towards St Florentin, passing through gorgeous towns and villages sandwiched between pretty fields of crops.

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Just outside the village of Cerisiers where there was a bugger of a hill, I paused in a lay by for a catch up with Smokey and the Bandit. They’d made good use of the Cardiff Dragons football tactics board which made me smile….

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After a couple of minutes out popped a little man from the farm we were next to. He chatted away in French asking about our destination and told us that he’s a walker and has walked all over France. Off he popped, we said goodbye and another two minutes later he returned with a gift. He handed over a t-shirt with the village name on it. Brilliant – made my day.

Today was a really straightforward day for navigating and the scenery meant I didn’t need my usual iPod distraction. But you know you’ve been cycling too long when you get excited about downhills. This was a very good one!

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After a quick break in St Florentin it was off to Tonnerre and a bit of cycling paralell to the Canal de Bourgogne. This canal runs a couple of hundred km north-south through Bourgogne and it’s stunning. The people who were on boats cruising the waterway had a glass of wine in hand as they soaked up the day at a sedate 4mph. That’s the life.

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Cruising the waterways of Birmingham in the cold and rain doesn’t really compare eh.

The day started to wear on and Montbard was the end goal. A few punishing hills stood in my way and I pulled out my usual hill climbing strategy. Low gear, nice cadence, look 6-10ft ahead. At the top of one really big bugger I heard something tapping at my spokes. I couldn’t see anything despite getting off and having a look. It must have been a spiky twig as the next thing I knew, air was pissing out of my rear tyre faster than I’ve been eating my pasta dinners. Hello to Puncture Number One. I’ve been expecting you.

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Due to Dad Mahoney teaching me how to change an inner tube and fix a puncture when I was a wee sprog, it didn’t take long at all. I did a quick inner tube replacement and will patch up the other one when I get 5mins. Thanks again to Halfords Pontypridd for the spares – today was the day I needed them.

I jumped on the Canal de Bourgogne for the last leg of the journey, mainly to avoid any more hills. The km signs to Montbard were ticking down nicely and I rolled into the Municipal Campsite around 630pm and 70ish miles from Sens. When a campsite has a swimming pool and tennis courts you know it’s a bit different to last night’s venue. Not a squat toilet in sight! Time for some dinner and a bit of route planning before bed. Off towards Dijon tomorrow and after that, my days will be slightly more challenging as I face a more mountainous landscape.

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