Instead of driving my car to Marathon World Champs in Laissac/France for supporting our riders and team, I decided to ride my Diverge (off road, touring bike) to the midi Pyrenees. I had no idea what to expect of the route, landscape, towns, road or traffic. I made great use of http://www.gpsies.com I added some points which I wanted to pass and the gpsies website connected the dots. After I downloaded the route onto my garmin I also added it to my phone as second backup via a bar code that you get from gpsies after you draw up the route.
The first day I was riding more and less through beautiful and remote Swiss and French Jura, a fold mountain range which is not connected with the Alps, and mostly made out of limestone. Very slippery to ride when wet!
Since I rode through remote regions without any touristy towns I had a hard time to find a hotel in the evening. I passed an incredible castle when it was already later evening, being thirsty, hungry and tired. I kept on going and after an other 20min passed I finally stopped and checked google maps if there are not any bloody hotels in the area. I could not believe that the castle I just passed was a hotel! I gladly pedaled back and found myself having a luxury room in a castle tower, drinking amazing french wine and ate a 5 course menu!
Day two was far by nice…. I had to go around Lion and St. Etienne. It was so freaking hot there. My Garmin guided me next to freeways, agglomeration and industrial zones for hours. To defend my gps, it always guided me onto quite roads but still I was so cooked and when I was out in the mountains again, I still had to ride an other 80km which I could not enjoy any more since I had headaches and I was thirsty as an elephant non stop. The hotel I found late evening was far from nice, but I was just happy to lie flat and drink a beer or two.
Day three was AMAZING again. I rode two high plateaus all above 1200meter all the way to Laissac. Zero traffic, great views, lovely small towns with french bakeries which made my stops worth all the time!
I also rode quite a lot off road. Unfortunately I did not convert my tires into tubeless beforehand and pinch flatted four times. Since I ran out of tubes I used patches which I still found at home. I firstly had to read the manual, but that not really helped when the glue in the tube is so old that half of it was dry already. I felt like back in school when fixing flats with patches was almost daily business.
I was incredible happy with my Diverge which I rode the first time ever. Very comfortable, reliable and still travelled fast. Sure on the climbs I slowed down with the extra luggage. Without rain gear (which I did not used) I would not even had to bring a backpack.
final kilometers down to Laissac