A Lot of Luck and An Epic Ride

I think I owe the Dordogne an apology. But first, a little deviation … and some amazingly good luck.

So, in the midst of a brilliant and wet 56-mile ride from Beaulieu to Sarlat, I came across this sign just past the famous Grotte s de Lacave…

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Uh-oh. I know enough French to know what this meant: The road was ferme (closed) up ahead in four Ks. There was a barrier of some sort. Oh crap. This is pretty much my only way to get from here to there and to Sarlat. The alternative is to backtrack and take a traffic-heavy red road for a few Ks and add at least 20 Ks to my already pretty long ride. Damn it, I’m going. What’s the worst that could happen? Let’s not think about that. This is pretty risky Steve, are you sure about this? It might be easier to just turn around now.

And yes: I talk to myself when I’m riding.

So, I rode a few Ks and came to a sign that said the road was closed in 400 meters, and stubbornly kept going. I got to the bridge under construction that was causing all the deviations and barriers. Here it is…

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And, I could get across it! Right through the middle. A car couldn’t, but a bike could. And there was nobody around to tell me I couldn’t go across the bridge. Whew, that was a relief. I was soaked, but smiling.

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Back to my apology to the Dordogne: I’ve been raving about the Lot and Cele the past week, since, well, that’s where I’ve been riding. But now that I’m in and on the Dordogne, everything is pretty darn picturesque. Even in the rain. Especially in the rain. And fog. It makes it more romantic. I guess this is why this area is such a popular tourist destination for cyclists, and for those crazy people who choose not to tour the Dordogne by bike. They’re really missing out. For example…

I know, pretty cool. I rode through a steady drizzle clouds, fog, along the river, along cliffs, up and over ridges, through pretty little towns and was constantly enthralled. The Dordogne is an amazing cycling destination and, I’m just getting started. Here’s another video and some more photos.

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When I got to my hotel in Sarlat (a Best Western, of all places, which is high living for me), I was a wet and muddy mess. Not just me but my bike and my panniers and shoes and, well, everything. The kind woman at the desk was nice enough to give me a towel, a blue one they use at the pool (which is closed for the season), to wipe everything off. Otherwise I would have had to destroy one of the nice white towels in my room. And that’s not very nice. And would totally undue my good luck at the bridge and lead to some sort of bad luck in the coming days. And yes, I’m superstitious and believe in karma.

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Let’s hope everything dries out by tomorrow…

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Tomorrow: Train to Saint-Emilion, then ride to Bordeaux where I meet up with Justin (my nephew) who’s coming in from Chicago for his first French bike trip. We’ll stay the night in Bordeaux, and take the train to Sarlat the next morning and ride to Beynac.

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