Day 25: Trebes - Durfort: Anybody home? - From Munich to the Mediterranean and More - CycleBlaze

July 23, 2006

Day 25: Trebes - Durfort: Anybody home?

We get off to a slow start. We still don't know what route to take. First we cruise around Trèbes looking for an open café for our morning coffee, without success. We manage to buy croissants and eat them next to the road, still discussing which route to take. Finally we decide to just go, and since we're closer to the beginning of the route over the mountains, that's the one we take.

We have beautiful countryside, rolling hills - not yet too serious - , rows of cypress trees, vineyards and fields of sunflowers. It's all a treat, except for the persisting headwinds. In a village along the way we get our coffee.

After leaving Trèbes
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After leaving Trèbes
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Villages along the way: We pass through Villegailhenc
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After about 20 km we reach the D629, the real challenge. First we pass through the little village of Montolieu, the "Town of Books". Montolieu is known the world over as "Le Village de Livre" and has been a center for book selling and binding since 1989. There are many shops selling books both ancient and modern. We decide not to buy any but are thankful for the respite.

Montolieu, Town of Books
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Now we climb for another 20 hot kilometers, very slowly, I am almost always in my lowest gear. Twice I have to get off and push, to pedal would be to kill my legs for the rest of the day. I really hate pushing my bike, but sometimes I have no choice. Meter for meter, kilometer for kilometer, lost in thoughts, surrendered to the rhythm of our pedaling, not looking at the road ahead but rather down at the ground, we work our way up.

After 8 more kilometers we reach Saissac and we know we will make the rest of the climb as well. We have a nice meal in a shady garden restaurant, already feeling giddy because we have "almost" made it. And then we climb some more. This was part of the route of the Tour de France in 2005 and there are still inscriptions on the road spurring those incredible cyclists on: Armstrong, Ulrich, Basso, Beloki...

View from Saissac
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Have I been dramatizing today's ride? This was not even a mountain stage on the Tour de France in 2005, rather it was part of their longest stage, when they rode 239 km from Pau to Revel. Still, it makes me feel good to be traveling on the same road. When we get to the top some picnickers on the roadside even cheer and I feel we deserve it.

It's another 10 kilometers to les Cammazes and we've made it to the top! In the village we take a right onto a small road barred to traffic, a road I've hiked on during previous visits here. It's a steep little road with switchbacks down to Durfort, you have to concentrate and clutch your brakes the whole way. And it's beautiful.

On the way down to Durfort, proud ...
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... and happy
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And then we roll down the street of the village of Durfort to my sister's front door. Knock, knock, anybody home? What a moment: Gwen and Jerry are there to welcome us, embrace us, congratulate us and are relieved that we made it safe and sound.

Gwen's front door
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Today's ride: 55 km (34 miles)
Total: 1,464 km (909 miles)

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