Monday, June 30, 2014

Stage 7; Granville - Mt St Michel

Typically I ride with a with a professional tour company that takes care of the transport of the bags and the arrangement of the rooms and meals and too many small details to mention that makes each trip successful. This trip is with the Lafayette Riders who for the love of riding volunteer to their own time to put together each ride.

For this ride we have two vehicles, a passenger van and cargo van. This morning it was my turn to drive one of the vans from the ride start to the lunch stop. The Garmin map below shows where I started my part of the ride after lunch.






Saturday, June 28, 2014

Stage 6: Omaha Beach - Granville


Today we left Omaha Beach to head south to Granville. We took some very quiet roads as we wound our way south and to the west. About 35 km into the ride, we entered a hard packed bike path that we followed for 20 km or so until lunch. The skies were threatening us all day with rain and if it opened up on the hard packed dirt, it would have really been very messy. But we were very fortunate, though the skies were overcast all day, the rain held off. we only got one or two drops occasionally.




Stage 5: Omaha Beach



Photos and ride description to come





Thursday, June 26, 2014

Stage 4: Caen vers Omaha Beach

Today is our introduction to the beaches of Normandy; Sword, Gold, Juno and Omaha.  In the next couple of days we'll be adding Utah. It's so strange to be be zipping by these beautiful beaches with the knowledge that 70 years ago these beaches were scenes of savage battles of inch by inch fighting.

Our hotel for the next three nights is located on Omaha Beach. It's so strange to be enjoying good meals and nice beds knowing that soldiers had die on this spot.

Tomorrow we'll visit the American Cemetery.

Till next time,

Brian







Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Stge 3: Honfleur - Caen


Today was a day to ride, coast and stop. No need to rush. It was a fairly short day. The entire group left from the motel at about 9 AM but four of us quickly dropped behind when we stopped in town to see a wooden church was built by ship builder a long time ago. When entering the church, the vaulted ceiling looked like the hull of a boat turned upside down. The smell of the church was different that the stone churches that we had been in. No surprise, it had a rich smell of wood, very warm and inviting scent.

It was the time to head out along the ocean. We spent almost the entire day within sight of the ocean with the cool breeze washing over us as we biked along.

About 10:30 we stopped near the ocean for coffee and pastry and watched life go by. Got back on the bikes and weaved through town stopping at the white beaches and fish market, then continued ago the coast following the beaches as we went. About 12km from the end of the ride we found the rest of the group at the picnic stop. They had placed the stop at the site of the Pegasus Memorial. The Memorial is at a bridge that was featured in the movie "The Longest Day", where as one of the first actions of D-Day, a group of 90 British solders landed in 3 huge gliders and took the bridge from the Germans in the dead of night. The bridge needed to be taken intact to support the landings that were to occur later that day, June 6th 1944. We toured the Memorial that included a movie, the relocated bridge and a full size mock up of a glider.

As I said earlier, we were only about 12 miles from the destination, Caen. We took a bike path for several kilometers then through busy streets to our hotel in town.

 Brian







Monday, June 23, 2014

STAGE 2; LE NEUBOURG - HONFLEUR


Wow what a wonderful day on the bike. After some snapshots of the group at the hotel we headed out on a rails to trails bike path. I guess I could look it up, but must have been 30 kms or so. The bike path followed an abandoned train track line through a forest. The former train stations, space apart by 10km have been converted into homes, but the town names were still displayed on the buildings.

Right off the bike path was the Monastery of Bec. On the grounds was a bell tower built in the early 1000's. The Monastery is still in existence and they have a boutique with many items that they make including pottery and china.

Lunch was the high point of the day with stop a a friend of Philippe and Agn├Ęs who's thatched home was a beautiful setting for a picnic lunch.

The rest of the ride when fairly quickly with the wind to our backs and a slight downhill. We arrived in the Honfleur and enjoyed a cool beer before exploring the town a bit then heading to the hotel to shower up before dinner.

Brian



Sunday, June 22, 2014

STAGE1: VERSAILLES to LE NEUBURG

Nice start for the trip. Blue skies and a tail wind in the late afternoon makes for a very pleasant ride. The ride was 135 km (84 miles). Being the first day, we were a bit slower than expected and didn't arrive until about 6PM. A quick shower and some time uploading photos and GPS data and soon it was time to head out to dinner.

It's now 11:30PM and time to head off to bed. I need to get up by 6:30 to get ready for the ride tomorrow.  I'm sure that it will be lots of fun.

Happy Trails,

Brian Cox


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Last night we had the trip briefing. We have 35 riders in all on the trip. The briefing covered new riders to the group, including me, a and bit about riding groups. To start out with, the plan is to have three different groups of riders; fast, medium and slow. Each group is to have a captain in the lead and a sweep as the last person of the group. The intent is to keep everyone together and not drop any riders from the group. We'll see today it works out.

It will be a bit busy leaving town so we'll ride out together, all 35 riders until the roads become less trafficked, then break into the smaller groups.

Well it time to depart. I'll be blogging later today.

Have fun.

Brian