Help for Heroes Co-Founders Bryn and Emma Parry continue their "holiday"...cycling 850 miles across France, doing their own bit for the charity...
We made the right decision to quit Montlucon. Nothing personal about the city but it's a city not beautiful countryside and tonight we are in a comfortable B&B run by a friendly Dutch lady, plenty of room, an honesty bar and good food. We are also 40 km ahead of the game for tomorrow.
The climb out of Montlucon was long and hot and I knew we were working for our lunch as the sweat dripped onto my knees as we ground up about 14 km of ascent. I am encouraged though as this is the highest we've been on a bike to date and it's doable. By understanding the Garmin better now I was able to anticipate when we would have got over most of the climbing and called a picnic stop as we plateaued. We drank a full water bottle and ate a cereal bar before girding our loins again and set off enjoying some beautiful views.
Knowing today was going to be short, we decided to stop at around 12.30 and thankfully found the commercial hotel in Marcillat, a hill top town. It was full of the local mechanics, roadside maintenance contractors and what looked like the Women's Institute AGM. No menu, just our host, Jacky, the spitting image of Captain Mainwaring who seemed to be genuinely impressed by our trip, putting various courses in front of us until we surrendered. Buffet starter, go back twice or there'll be trouble, it looked almost as good as a BBBR lunch on its own. Baskets of bread, pork in a tangine type sauce, carrots, a pile of chips, and lettuce. Then cheese and the offer, refused, of a flan, then coffee... Now that's a proper cycling lunch.
Jacky offered to fill our water bottles. Half filling mine with red wine to 'give me strength'. I suspect that 50/50 water and wine was standard cycling fare when he were a lad.
More ups and downs after lunch and it began to rain quite heavily. We couldn't turn up at our B&B until 4pm so we went off along the wrong road following the sat nav before realising our mistake and returning to the village. There we had a disgusting coffee in a rather down-at-heel cafe then did some bike maintenance to Emma's bike Marjorie. It has been making some fairly awful noises and Bryn the Mechanic gave it the once over... It'll be interesting to see if it works in the morning.
Tomorrow we have 50 km and it's pretty well uphill all the way to over 900m, cheeky stuff but at least we didn't try it all in one push as planned.
So no full days rest but a big lump of tomorrow done already, that's a very restful thought...
7 years ago Bryn and Emma Parry wanted to do a charity bike ride and raise just £10k for our wounded...and ended up creating Help for Heroes which raised millions of pounds. This year they are determined to back and do that ride, and raise that pesky £10k!