I woke this morning to blue skies, and what’s more to to a dry tent. I packed and ate breakfast whilst chatting to a chap from Newcastle riding a motorbike around France, who was very interested in the precise capacity of my panniers and wanted to know the weight of my roll-mat to the gram! Finally having escaped his clutches I left: It being a Sunday the roads were clear as I left Charleville-Mézières, although I still had some pretty steep climbs to contend with.
As the morning wore on the hills gave way to rolling fields: a patchwork of vibrant green and burnished gold spread out to either side me, with fluffy clouds floating overhead. It would have been an idyllic ride had it not been for the flies – clouds of microscopic insects seemed to hover over the road, I couldn’t see them until I’d ridden through them and by that time I was covered. They didn’t seem to bite, and so after a while I stopped wiping them away, and just relaxed into it enjoying the best conditions I’d had in a while.
It’s funny how quickly things can change: one minute I was flying along in the sun, the next I’d crashed; broken a spoke and it started to rain. The spoke snapped first, but it didn’t cause the wheel to wobble too badly, so I decided to leave it feeling that it would be better to get it fixed properly at a shop. By the time I reached that decision, it had started to rain, and so I rolled into Chalons-En-Champagne, looking for somewhere to have lunch, soaked. I was looking around for somewhere open (everywhere seems to be closed on a Sunday) to have lunch, not paying attention to the road, when I hit a hubcap, and I was flat on my back in the road.
I felt a bit dispirited after that, but a baguette from an open bakery and an improvement in the weather lifted my spirits. I had made good time during the mornings rode, so decided to make a push for Troyes. I arrived, having ridden 115 miles at another great campsite (the French have the best ones I’ve been to so far) and finally managed to wash all the bugs off! I spent the evening talking to some Dutch girls, which made a nice change. Tomorrow though, first priority is to find somewhere to mend this spoke.