In Gramat: the Autoire loop - Three Seasons Around France: Autumn - CycleBlaze

October 8, 2022

In Gramat: the Autoire loop

Autoire is another revisit for us.  We stayed there in 2007 on our way back from the Loire to Bordeaux.  Out of the thousand and one nights we’ve spent on the road by now, this was one that always shuffles near the top in our memories.  We were both still employed then, team leads on software development teams.  As was the normal practice by then, we’d spent the previous several months planning for how our teams would maintain continuity during our annual 4-6 week absences.  Not such a big deal now, but it was more challenging when you couldn’t just bring up a Face Time session to discuss a situation or review a screen shot together.

We arrived in Autoire not long before dinner after biking down from Brive-La-Gaillarde where we had ridden the train to from Poitiers.  The first order of business after we arrived was for Rachael to telephone her coworker in response to an urgent email she’d received earlier asking for her input on an issue that had arisen on a data warehouse project.  I could  describe how that went, but I’ve done that already as you can see here.

Can you hear me now?
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Who knows if we’ll remember today’s ride as well 15 years from now?  If we do though, a few things might trigger the little grey cells and bring it back.  First, we had the rare honor of sharing it with our friend Susan.  We  don’t often cycle with others, and having someone else to share it with and rehash later over dinner puts it in a special class.  Second, there was the dramatic (but not jaw-dropping - it’s not really in Rocamadour’s elite class) drop down theough the Cirque d’Autoire , a highlight we hadn’t even known was on our itinerary.

I’d bet though that the memory of the day that lasts the longest and remains sharpest is the dog.  It’s one of those crystalline images that I expect I’ll be able to reinvoke in my mind’s eye for a long time.

The dog came right at the end of the day, maybe three miles from Gramat after what had already been a vey fine outing.  Rachael was off ahead and out of sight, as I’d gotten behind waiting up for Susan while she communed with the cows again.  Susan caught and passed me, and then stopped a few hundred miles yards ahead to admire a large flock of sheep aimlessly milling and grazing in the meadow near the road.

Suddenly I sensed a motion in the field out of the corner of my eye, on the far edge near the trees maybe a hundred yards from Susan.  Then I realized it was a black dog, racing at breakneck speed straight at Susan.  Really racing - I can hardly remember seeing a dog sprint quite like that for such a distance.  I was starting to get worried for Susan, thinking she was the target; but then it abruptly swerved right before her and headed back toward the sheep.

The sheep immediately mobilized, concentrated into a tight cluster, and ran for the trees, a couple of long horned goats piloting the flock.  Ran fast, at least in sheep terms.  Just like the dog, I’ve never seen sheep in anything like a group sprint like that.  They didn’t slow down and then stop until they neared the tree line, where a lone shepherd was leaning on his staff waiting for them.  The dog, his work done, flopped down on the grass nearby.  A stirring sight, one that by itself made the whole day worthwhile.

It doesn’t take long until we’re out of Gramat and its neighborhoods.
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And it doesn’t take long either for the day to warm up enough to shed a layer.
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Rich FrasierI have to say, those white shoelaces are definitely rocking. They pull the whole outfit together.
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1 month ago
Rachael AndersonTo Rich FrasierThanks!
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1 month ago
Our kind of road.
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Approaching Mayrinhac.
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Waiting for the slow poke.
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I like the symmetry here. Even the rain spouts match.
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Someone put this mirror here for a reason.
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Kathleen ClassenYou are feeling reflective too!
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1 month ago
In Mayrinhac.
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French twist.
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Got the blues.
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Dropping through the Cirque d'Autoire.
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Dropping through the Cirque d'Autoire.
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Dropping through the Cirque d'Autoire.
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Looking down on Autoire, un Plus Beaux Village de France.
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Admiring the Cirque d'Autoire.
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Still dropping.
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In Autoire: the 15th century Chateau de Limargue.
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In Autoire.
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By the Fontaine aux Dauphins, from 1860. What do you think? Should we go for ice cream?
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The Church of Saint-Pierre, 12th century.
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The Church of Saint-Pierre.
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Keith AdamsI wonder whether anyone warned her that her face could get stuck in that position, when she made it?
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1 month ago
This is the spot! When we were here before we stayed in the hotel just on the right, and walked up this road to a nearby hilltop where a faint phone connection was possible.
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In Autoire.
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The ruins of Saint-Laurent-les-Tours castle rise above Saint-Céré.
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In Saint-Céré.
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Lunch stop, Saint-Céré.
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In Saint-Céré.
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Passing near Aynac.
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Some haughty Holsteins.
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Paris? Maybe not today - let’s stop in Gramat.
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Putting on a master class.
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Video sound track: Bright Moments, Grover Washington, Jr.

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Ride stats today: 38 miles, 2,500’; for the tour: 716 miles, 48,800’

Today's ride: 38 miles (61 km)
Total: 717 miles (1,154 km)

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