Stuck in Millau - From Munich to Spain to France - CycleBlaze

May 2, 2024 to May 4, 2024

Stuck in Millau

The World Keeps Turning….

So I am sitting in the lobby of the Ibis hotel, hardly believing how things have developed and struggling to maintain a positive attitude.

I was so optimistic as I wrapped up the last journal entry 2 days ago at breakfast at the Ibis in Millau. We were enjoying a nice morning and the  weather was clearing and we were planning to go for a short ride around the Tarn Gorge in the afternoon. My knee seemed okay.  The following day we would get started riding for real and would be back on schedule.

So, after coming up to our room after breakfast I stepped out of our hotel  bathroom and tripped on the lip of the bathroom step.  I fell hard, screeching all the way and wrenched my left ankle - badly.  My ankle swelled up and the outside ankle bone turned blue. I spent the day in the room icing it and elevating it, rather than going for a nice ride. (Dave did however, go for a nice ride and he can post about it!). We discussed whether I needed to go to urgent care or the European equivalent (I would have really liked some drugs more potent than Aleve ) but I was pretty sure they would just tell me to ice and elevate and the hassle factor of dealing with medical care seemed like more trouble than it was worth.

For dinner I ate really bad frozen pizza in my room prepared by the Ibis staff. I suggested to Dave that he go out for dinner himself since the pizza was so bad. He did but had his own spill outside the hotel, bad enough that the two female hotel staffers came running out to see if he was okay.  He was.  I am not sure  what is up with us but we feel jinxed, or klutzy or both. I clearly will not be going anywhere on my bike anytime soon.

Later: 

It’s two days after my bathroom trip up. My ankle has improved each day and feels pretty good when I have it up but aches mildly when I stand or sit upright. It’s still swollen. I think we are going to try to ride on Sunday.  I feel pretty timid now, between the knee and the ankle! We are now in the territory of having to write off some hotel reservations that we can no longer cancel- which stinks but is less important than not messing up the entire trip.

The second day I hobbled down for breakfast and later limped to a local place for fish and chips; it was called Au Bureau and we found out it is a local chain, somewhat akin to an American Chili’s! We had a stupidly good caramel sundae with nuts. It was a good microcosm of people in this town, and things were hopping on a Friday night.

Dave has been out riding again and gets why I picked the Tarn Gorge for our riding. Sadly, I have to take his word for it.

We have wound up at a pretty good hotel, not expensive but nice enough. It was very quiet so extending the room repeatedly was not a problem. They had a good breakfast and we have learned about the local specialities from being here 4 nights: Roquefort (its the next train stop to the south), aligote sausage (cut with a mini meat guillotine), and honey which they served at the Ibis in a comb. It would really stink to be a vegetarian in this country, everything is meat, eggs, cheese and bread. But we like it, at least for awhile!

Entering Millau.
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Local honeycomb served at breakfast.
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Our spacious, for an Ibis, hotel room.
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(Dave here) Jill mentioned that while she was recuperating, I took the opportunity at her behest to do a couple of rides around the area. On my first ride, I headed north towards the Tarn Gorge. As she notes, I realized why this had been a signature destination for us. The countryside is lovely, lush from all the recent rains, dotted with quaint little towns and villages and the hillsides were awash in wild flowers. My weather was good, chilly but finally dry with bits of sunshine. As much as I enjoyed this little jaunt, I sorely missed Jill's companionship, especially knowing how much she would have enjoyed this ride.

One of many small towns along the way.
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A lovely bridge for the train.
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Jill plotted an equally lovely ride for me on the next day which followed the Tarn away from the gorge and east of it up into the hills. Again, the weather was delightful, at least at the beginning. It included a 7K climb with I'd guess an average 7% gradient and included a couple of double digit spurts. It was a good workout. Once I reached the summit, I had what I believed to be an easy all downhill 12K descent back into town.

On the road leading out of town.
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Although not technically in the gorge, the landscape was similarly beautiful.
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Fellow travelers on the ascent.
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At the summit it became obvious that my pretty weather was about to change. Storm clouds hung ominously over the town as I began my descent. It was then that I realized how ill prepared I was for the conditions. Fortunately, I had brought my rain jacket thanks to a last minute suggestion from Jill as I was heading out the door. Absent however were my gloves, rain pants and wrist guard. It was a wet, slippery, cold ride back to town, but I did get to enjoy some wonderful views of the town on the way down. I made it back, damp, chilled, but safe.

Near the summit.
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A view back into town.
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Today's ride: 60 km (37 miles)
Total: 182 km (113 miles)

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Keith KleinHi,
Just saw your journal. Welcome to France!
By all means, do not hesitate to see a doctor when you are hurt. The cost will be about 39€ for an office visit PERIOD. Ask at a local pharmacie for the médecin du garde, and they will set you right. If you check out my journal about my trip to Bordeaux when I got sick, the whole experience ambulance ride, overnight stay in the ER and assorted medical procedures cost less than the taxi ride back to the hotel, which was 100€ for the 40 k I needed to travel. I understand that Americans don’t believe me when I tell them things like this, but they are true. Don’t risk your tour for false economies.
Enough lecture from me, get out there and enjoy yourself!
Cheers,
Keith
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2 weeks ago
Rich FrasierHi -

So sorry that you're hurting - that totally sucks.

My advice as an adopted local is to follow Keith's advice. Doctors are cheap here, many speak enough English to communicate (apologies if you speak French well), and pharmacies are great. It could rescue your trip!
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonI am so sorry about your injury, and I’m sure between that and the weather it’s been a great disappointment. You’ll just have to come back to the Tarn someday soon.

And I’ll add to what Rich and Keith have already said - don’t hesitate to see a doctor. I had my own experience with illness in France a few years back - a serious case of food poisoning that had me in the hospital on an IV drip for a day. They didn’t charge me a thing at the time but when we got back to Portland I found a bill for €50 waiting for me, payable online.
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2 weeks ago
Susan CarpenterI am so sorry about your ankle and know how disappointed you must be that things have gotten off to such a bumpy start.

I echo what Keith, Rich and Scott said re seeing a doctor. At the very least, I suggest you go to a pharmacy and get a brace for the ankle. I suffered a badly sprained ankle in 2022 while getting into a taxi at CDG. After visits to the doctor (25€) and radiologist (75€ for visit and 5 X-rays - nothing broken) I got a stabilizing ankle brace at the local pharmacy and it allowed me to ride with more support and confidence.
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2 weeks ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesDodie (previous nurse) echoes all the previous advice. Definitely get the ankle seen. It is better to verify a sprain than to assume and risk doing more damage. Painkillers are important to promote rest which aids in healing. As Susan said, an ankle brace is a very important adjunct to a more rapid, and comfortable, recovery. Hoping your next few days are better.
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2 weeks ago
Mark LongHang is there. Healthcare is very cheap in France and a visit to a doctor will likely get you a pain killer better than Tylenol or Ibuprofen. Our experience suugests that you can get into see a doctor almost immediately—quite unlike stateside! Keep your chins up. Even in these circumstances, you’re still living the dream!
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2 weeks ago
Laura ClarkOh no! I was wondering why the posts had stalled. This was not the answer I was hoping for. I am so, so sorry that this random spill happened, Jill, but it sounds like you are getting a lot of sound advice from other people posting. Stronger pain relief will help you heal faster, so I hope that becomes the path you take. Fingers crossed that it is just a sprain and you will heal soon. David--thank you as always for these wonderful photographs. Arm chair travel is the best I can do right now with my schedule and I so appreciate your sharing these delights.
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2 weeks ago