A cloudy start with a temperature of 14c and a south-westerly wind of 20mph. The ride continues through small villages and vineyards to St Remy la Varenne and then after a couple of miles I rejoined the Loire. The road runs alongside the river and to the other side is high walls hiding imposing riverside properties. The road has been resurfaced and is flat and smooth, perfect for cycling but in places rather narrow so it relies on the good manners of motorists to give way to each other and keep the traffic flowing. This stretch of the river is also home to houseboats and a rather peculiar design that can only be described as a shed on a boat, there seemed to be plenty of these so I guess they served a particular purpose.
Approaching Samur there are yet more vines and châteaux but the official route I took around the ring road revealed a large sprawling mass of high-rise social housing. Out of Samur and I pushed on through open fields to meet Kaye for coffee at Fontevraud-l’Abbaye.
Refreshed by coffee I pushed on towards Loudon, this was a perfect example of a Roman road, dead straight for 15km and no surprise to see a church spire at the end of it. I must confess to not seeing too much as I pushing into a rapidly increasing headwind accentuated by the open countryside.
Loudon itself was another picturesque town with old ruined city boundary walls and a main thoroughfare well decorated with trees and flower displays. On to open countryside again and through a village called Mazault that was almost completely closed down stone industrial buildings, I did think it would make a great development project to convert to residential homes.
Another dead straight road with a headwind to meet Kaye for lunch at St-Loup-des-Marnes only to find she had parked outside of the boulangerie so I could choose from the menu, lunch consisted of sliced potato with ham and cheese melted onto crusty bread and a “moka” coffee cake for dessert, Kaye had worked her magic again.
The afternoon stint was another battle into gale force headwinds and for the last 10 miles in torrential rain, I was pleased to stop at Parthenay, it had been a testing day. I must comment on the excellent standards of driving I have witnessed today, in very gusty conditions drivers have pulled across the road to give me plenty of room and patiently waited behind on uphill sections, definitely better than the UK, in France they seem able to share the road.
Campsite was Le Bois Vert, there was a separate motor home Aire, €10 per night inc elec, €4 for wi-fi 24 hrs
Stats: 83 miles 3199ft climbing