In Entrayguez: a loop into Aubrac - Three Seasons Around France: Autumn - CycleBlaze

October 16, 2022

In Entrayguez: a loop into Aubrac

Breakfast isn’t until 8:30, so while we wait I go out to the deck as soon as it lightens up enough to work on the blog and see if a sunrise develops.  I’m just sat down when I hear a faint whirring sound, look up, and am thrilled by a wave of crows flying across the sky, apparently dispersing across the countryside after their night roosting in the village.  I reach for the camera but it’s too late as they quickly fly out of range.  But then a second wave comes, even larger than the first; and I’m ready this time.

I love this.  It makes me nostalgic for home - I’ll enjoy the huge congregation of crows that converges along the Portland waterfront when we return.

Corvid River.
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A few minutes later there’s a bit of a sunrise forming so I call out Rachael to admire it with me.  We watch for a few minutes as a modest one develops, but then are startled when one of the house cats leaps up onto the railing next to us.  Rachael loves cats and quickly tries to bond with it, but it’s a bit stand-offish.  It’s really more intent on slipping into our room than socializing, and soon slinks off.  It’s still chilly out so Rachael returns to the room while I settle back to work until time for breakfast.

Cat!
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Come to momma!
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Lucy MartinRead this entry with my cat in my lap. He enjoyed your photos.
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1 month ago

We love our room, but breakfast qualifies as a modest disappointment: a good croissant and bread, but other than that and the beverages there’s not much else than yoghurt.  It’s a somewhat awkward situation also as we’re seated at a common table with two other couples, neither of which shares a common language with us.  We have an expeditious meal and head back to our room until we’re ready to set off on our respective adventures for the day - for Rachael, a hike/climb up the steep ridge on the opposite bank of the river; and for myself, a loop to the east to the high country in Aubrac’s vast regional natural park.

My route starts with a climb that begins almost immediately after leaving our B&B and continues for eight miles.  It’s a steady, gradual climb, never too steep to be painful; but eight miles is eight miles; and I’m ready for a break when it finally tops out.  It’s a very quiet ride the whole way.  I finally encounter a few cars up on the summit where the terrain flattens out and becomes more arable; but in the first hour I’m passed by exactly one car and one other bicycle.

The ride begins with a modest eight mile climb on a totally empty, well-surfaced lane.
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After a mile or two I get a good view back on Entrayguez before it disappears around the bend. Rachael must be somewhere up that ridge on the opposite side of town.
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There’s a narrow band of vineyards terraced on the slope about 500’ above the valley floor.
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In the regional natural park of Aubrac.
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Any cow experts out there?
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Lucy MartinSusan is definitely a cow enthusiast.
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1 month ago
Malva Zabrina?
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Keith AdamsBeats me, but it's sure purty.
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1 month ago
Bill ShaneyfeltMight also be malva sylvestris? I can't tell the difference between them in photos I find.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malva_sylvestris
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1 month ago
Bruce LellmanWhere is @malvazebrina when you need her? She should know.
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1 month ago
Cruising along the summit.
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I’m just at a false summit though.  Before long I descend to Lac du Maury, an empoundment of the Salvet River, and then start climbing again for another four miles before finally topping out for good this time at just over 3,000’.

The dam at the Salvet River. After crossing it I’ll gradually drop to the level of the river beyond the upper end of the reservoir before crossing it and resuming climbing.
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Still climbing, I find an excuse to stop for a few minutes.
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Another vintage bike, converted to an ice plant planter. The identifying marks are unfortunately worn off, so I’ve no idea what the brand is.
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And this is?
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Bill ShaneyfeltAntique corn sheller?
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1 month ago
Beth ArtChaff cutter?
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Beth ArtA chaff cutter! It looks plausible from the photos I’m seeing. Whether it is or not though, I appreciate the thought. I’ve never heard of this device.
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1 month ago
Finally up, and in gorgeous terrain. The Aubrac is a huge area, and I’m just scratching at the edge of it today.
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The view from the high point of the ride. I’m looking straight north here, so this could be Le Puy Mary, the volcano at the heart of Cantal.
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It’s another blacksmith’s trammel, the third we’ve seen in the region. This one must still see some action, from those straps hanging from it. It makes it easier to envision how they’re used.
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A rusty plow. Looks like it needs a team of oxen to mobilize it.
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The view at the top.
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My reward for those 12 miles of climbing comes at the back half of the ride when I enjoy a matching fifteen mile descent, broken with a slight climb after crossing the Selvet one more time.  I finally level out when I reach the Truyère and then follow it for the final few miles back to Entrayguez.  As fine as the ride has been, the high point comes right at the end as I pass through Banhars and stop to admire its distinctive 12th century parish church, unlike any other that I remember seeing but of a style apparently characteristic of the region.

While I’m standing there it gradually sinks in that I’m hearing music from above so I bike up into the village and come upon a charming scene. There’s a festival on, with a flea market strewn along the base of the church; and in the square dancers are performing before an appreciative audience.  Worth a video, definitely.

The Truyère.
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The parish church at Banhars.
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Jacquie GaudetThat is unusual. I assume they don't get a lot of windstorms in the area...
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Jacquie GaudetFunny. It does look like it would take sail, doesn’t it?
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1 month ago
Festival, Banhars.
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In Banhars.
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In Banhars.
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Ride stats today: 37 miles, 3,900’; for the tour: 943 miles, 59,600’

Today's ride: 37 miles (60 km)
Total: 944 miles (1,519 km)

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Kathleen JonesBravo to the dancers. That was wonderful.
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Kathleen JonesI love unexpected chance encounters like this, and those Morris dancers back in Maldon. It makes me want to join in.
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1 month ago