To Puy l’Eveque - The Bordeaux Loop - CycleBlaze

June 11, 2008 to June 12, 2008

To Puy l’Eveque

Another two day entry.  If you’ve only got a few photos and a few memories, you might as well batch them up.

The first day, a climb up and across the Causse de Limogne, I remember as one of my favorite cycling experiences of the trip.  We’ve only ridden the causses - the high limestone plateaus of south central France -a few times, but it is fantastic terrain - open, unspoiled backcountry full of surprises, only lightly touched by the modern world.  Thinking of the causses always reminds me of one of my favorite books from the past: The Lost Upland, by the American poet W.S. Merwin.  Comprised of three short stories, it’s a semi autobiographical reminiscence from his time living in the region.  

On the Causse de Limogne: the Mas-de-la-Bosse windmill, near Promhilanes. Built in 1828, it was a functioning flour mill until the First World War. After falling into disrepair, it was restored to working order forty years later.
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On the Causse de Limogne.
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On the Causse de Limogne.
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We dropped off the plateau and down to the Lot River near Carjac, and for the next day and a half followed it downriver, staying the first night in beautiful but quite touristy Saint-Cirque-Lapopie and the second at little Puy-l'Évêque.  

The Lot is by now a famous cycling river - especially the stunning stretch between Cahors and Carjac.  This was our second time through here.  In 2000 we spent two nights in Bouzies, riding a nearly perfect day ride on our layover day: the loop between Bouzies and Carjac that follows the Lot in one direction and the Cele in the other.  If you come here, you should ride that loop; and you should definitely make time to walk or bike the barge tow path carved out of the limestone cliffs between Bouzies and Saint-Cirque-Lapopie - it’s one of my clearest memories from our travels in France.

Calvignac
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Looking down on the Lot from above Calvinac.
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Saint-Cirq-Lapopie
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Along the Lot, Near Saint-Cirq-Lapopie.
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A scene from our tour in 2000 from Claremont-Ferrand to Biarritz: the towpath on the Lot between Bouzies and Saint-Cirque-Lapopie.
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We just passed through Cahors, instead of staying overnight there as we did in 2000; but we were there long enough to experience one of the big disappointments of the tour - we couldn’t find the cookie market that Rachael still fondly remembers, with its bins offering a great variety of tiny cookies that you could select from.

And then, on to pretty Puy l’Eveque.  And, damn it all - here’s yet another reminder of how feeble my memory is and how much was lost by not bothering to keep a journal of this tour.  Looking at these photos again now, it was obviously here, not St-Antonin-Noble-Val, where we raced a hailstorm into town.

In Cahors. Very nice, but they’re not cookies.
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In Cahors.
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In Cahors.
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Pont Valentré, the 14th century fortified bridge spanning the Lot at Cahors.
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Pont Valentré.
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Puy-l'Évêque.
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Approaching Puy-l'Évêque. I stopped for this photo while Rachael raced ahead into town. I was almost too late.
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Safe and dry, in Puy l’Eveque. One of the best photos we have of the Cannondales we rode in those years.
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Ride stats (2 days): 92 miles, 3,200’; for the tour: 1,089 miles, 42,900’

Today's ride: 92 miles (148 km)
Total: 1,016 miles (1,635 km)

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Comment on this entry Comment 3
Rich FrasierI can’t believe you referenced that W.S. Mersin book! It’s one of my all time favorite books and I thought I was the only person who had ever read it!
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4 months ago
Rich FrasierTo Rich FrasierSorry Merwin not Mersin. Fat fingers or diabolical spell checker:)
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4 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Rich FrasierSuch a wonderful book. It was recommended to me by a friend at work long ago. He was an English teacher turned programmer, and said Blackbird’s Summer was one of his favorite works of literature. I should load it onto the kindle and reread it on one of these rainy days.

I have misspellings in my comments all the time, FYI. I just dele them and repost them corrected.
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4 months ago