We could hardly bear to leave the B&B but after some more mechanical support from me and the Allen keys, we set off. About half a mile down hideous hill, Marjorie was grishing again so we decided that enough was enough; the mudguard had to go. Deftly removing the rear wheel, I took off the mud guard and we donated it to a poubel (bin). It was badly worn and had been rubbing so was no longer needed.
Again, the first few miles were a joy. We pootled along, now with minimal noises and despite the traffic, were confident that today would be 'a lot easier' in fact, 'we should look on this as almost a rest day', ' I hope we don't get there too early' etc.
The climb up to Monastiere was, as expected, long and grinding but we topped another Snowdon feeling pretty good about ourselves. Taking a photo of a sign warning of skiers, we were lucky to find the local Intermarche was open so I suggested a picnic au plein aire rather than look for a restaurant. Mistake, huge mistake.
Bread and cheese, even with the addition of a tomato and some pate, does not provide the fuel for us mountain climbers. I had thought, and Fred, (last night's friend), had suggested, that once you get to Monastiere it's good cycling. Well, it may be if your name is Chris Froome but not if it's old BP.
So, minutes after our light snack we were climbing again, miles of up followed by a few minutes of down before more hours of up. Another Snowdon was added to the bag and still we went generally upwards, until we found a blooming lake. By that stage we were feeling it and we had a few minutes of quiet reflection before climbing upwards again.
We stopped to photograph another Col before a hair raising descent down a long 10% drop thinking that surely we were now going to go valley wards. No, of course, it's up the other side. Argh!
With only 4 km to push I was convinced that some fiend had poured glue into my hubs, put bricks in my panniers and jelly into my legs. I believe it's called 'bonking' in cycle speak, I hit the wall. We stopped again and I shoved down some nuts and raisins and a pint of water... Big lesson learnt ...again!
As the effect of the food kicked in, I found myself laughing.
'What are you laughing at?' Asked Emma.
'Us, we must be bloody mad! Plus, I was thinking that we are just so lucky. I've just had an email from Harry Long, he can't feel his legs so I'm lucky to be able to have some even if they turn to jelly.'
We made it and are in a basic but clean and friendly little place. We now need food and drink. I suspect there is a big hill to climb first thing tomorrow but I'll think about that in the morning