Toulouse Matabiau to Lafrancaise - From Munich to Spain to France - CycleBlaze

May 27, 2024

Toulouse Matabiau to Lafrancaise

A Long Day and a Stiff Climb at the end

A long day along the canal followed by a really stiff climb to the Cabane d'Ed.
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We had a funny episode this morning at the Ibis in Toulouse. We had breakfast late at 9:30 because Ibis had a noon checkout and the rain wasn’t predicted to abate until noon.  At the end of breakfast Dave did his usual compilation of our travel sandwich. I was just sliding it into a bag when the lady that cleaned the breakfast area came over and said something to me in French.  I couldn’t understand a word of it but from her tone she was chastising me, we thought, for the sandwich. She stalked off and Dave and I sat there in minor mortification, staring at the offending sandwich, not sure if we should leave it, take it, eat it!  (Ironically, not two minutes before, our neighbor at the next table had also prepared a to-go sandwich.) Thinking to repair the reputation of all gauche travelling Americans, Dave got up and went to the adjacent bar where a manager was working, and said “Hey, we want to take a sandwich for our bike ride. The woman running the breakfast area seemed angry that we preparing a sandwich to go and we want to pay for it.” The manager looked supremely puzzled and said, "No. Taking a sandwich for the road is perfectly normal and OK.” To which Dave replied that we had upset the breakfast room lady.  The manager continued to be puzzled but walked over to our table to inspect the sandwich, summoned the breakfast room lady and they then proceeded to have one of those hilarious, all in French conversations, which went on for at least five minutes, and we were absolutely puzzled as to how there could be this much conversation about it.  At one point, as the conversation appeared to be winding down, Dave issued a sincere apology to the lady about how “desolé” he was over the whole thing and the lady totally melts. Upshot of all this: nobody wanted us to pay for the sandwich and everything was cool. To add some extra humor, when we checked out the front desk, the clerk and the same lady insisted we take some leftover chocolate croissants for our ride and she even went into the back room to get us a bag for them! We felt we repaired Franco-American relations sufficiently for the day and departed.

Bikes we're parked everywhere in the lobby of the Ibis in Toulouse.
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Cycle-touring definitely teaches patience and today was such a test. We had a 70 k ride, mostly along the flat “canal du deux mers” (two seas) but as flat as it was, that's still a long ride for us.  It was still raining pretty hard at noon but we needed to get on the road. We dressed in rain jackets and pants but not full gloves or extra warmth layers because the forecast was that the rain was supposed to abate Very Soon Now and the temperature was supposed to be mild, low 60’s. However, it poured as we made our way north out of Toulouse and we didn’t get more than 1.5 k before Dave pulled over under an overpass, said he was freezing, and we were getting pretty drenched. We then spent a good 20 minutes digging around in our panniers for full-fingered gloves, our booties (very handy units that wrap around our shoes to keep them dry) and for Jill to don her arm warmers and an ear band. For Dave, he has these neoprene gloves that he likes (actually made for rafting/paddling) and he can fit his wrist guard over them, but it’s a whole process getting the gloves and the guard on. We took off again and after another k Dave says he’s still cold so we stop again to dig out his warm jacket that fits under the rain jacket so a lot of stuff has to come off and on again. The irony was the rain stopped almost as soon as we finished bulking up. In 45 minutes we had travelled 2 and a half k. Yes, cycle touring teaches you patience. 

Gearing up for the rain.
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Rachael AndersonI’m sorry you’re getting such crummy weather! But it is funny how the weather almost always improves after you put on extra layers.
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2 weeks ago
Karen PoretNot fun to put on rain gear, but at least you had a “dry spot”..Another question..how does the woman walking in the photo with umbrella keep her shoes so white in the rain?
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1 week ago

Leaving Toulouse was pretty easy riding.  The city is obviously building a lot of cycling infrastructure so there was only one place on a commercial road where for about a k we didn’t have a cycle lane. After 8 k we peeled off  onto the canal path for 42 k. This part of France has a whole recreational canal system with adjacent bike paths that goes most of way to Bordeaux. It’s a 5 or 6 day ride and we originally were going to do the whole thing but changed our mind when Steve/Dottie from Canada said it was a bit monotonous. And yes, we agree. It was fine for 40 k but we’re glad we have opted to ride north through the Dordogne region instead. We sure made great time on the path however. We rode hard and it was a good, hard workout notwithstanding it was flat. We didn’t have to think about the route for a long part of the day. We peeled off around the small city of Montauban at 50 k and then had a variety of small road and busier roads until we reached the climb. We only had a total of 180 meters of climbing for the whole day but it was all in the last 850 meters where we had a 9 -10 percent ascent straight up to the village of Lafrancaise and our accommodations, known as Cabane d’Ed, or Cabin of Ed or Ed’s Cabin!

Pretty much our view for the next 40K.
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One of a out 10 locks we saw along our route
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Some disinterested bystanders next to the route.
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A more natural stopping point would have been Montauban, 15 k back, but I was anxious to add some kilometers so we could get to St. Cirq Lapopie in two days. Locationally, Ed’s cabin was what I could find and Ed’s Cabin it was. We really liked the place and unfortunately we had a bad thing happen on our departure but for now, I will describe its favorable attributes and talk about the incident on our next entry. 

Ed, it turns out is a woman, Edwige who was quite charming and who, of course, spoke not a lick of English. Context is everything however and she showed us around the place and we managed to get the essentials figured out pretty well; how to open the shower door (push, don’t pull) what hour breakfast would be served, and the drill for receiving our dinner, which we had agreed ahead of time she would cook for us, for the princely sum of 30 euros each. The place was stocked with beer, wine and a few snacks, all of which was helpful to our state of mind. Dave also figured out the tv and we watched tv for the first time in a month; Jill was super happy because the French Open was on. Ed’s cabin is actually a small farm with a charming collection of chickens and a rooster and new brood of chicks, and some handsome dogs. We suspect that the delicious asparagus salad with eggs we had were from her garden and chickens, and she served a lasagne (no tomato and a different pastry) that was wonderful and original. 

The stairway to our room.
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The excellent dinner prepared by Ed.
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Sunset view from our bedroom.
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The resident fowl.
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Karen PoretPoulet centralle!
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1 week ago

We went to bed happy and content.

Today's ride: 70 km (43 miles)
Total: 1,018 km (632 miles)

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Kelly IniguezA cliff hanger!
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonLooking forward to coming back tomorrow.
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2 weeks ago