Le Corse Deux: Propriano to Ajaccio. - Lookin For John Fairweather - CycleBlaze

March 29, 2014

Le Corse Deux: Propriano to Ajaccio.

It worries me when I check the bike this morning. The bottom-bracket cup has unscrewed a few turns and if it unscrews out off the frame completely, I won't be able to make it to Ajaccio, not without excepting a lift which I don't want to do.

I return into the tent and breakfast on two mandarins, yogurt and muesli followed by tea. There's no dogs or walkers about, supposedly as its early or, Saturday. I hear a church bell ring eight o'clock and the tent is wet both inside and out with condensation, so I'm waiting for the sun to dry it, though its a little hazy today and looks as if it won't be as find a day as yesterday.

The tent is mostly dried out when I take it down and pack it and everything away. Shortly before nine I have everything on the bike and looking back while leaving, the only sign I was there is the grass flattened by the tent, which will have stood up again by evening. Then riding out the grassy track to the road, the shattered bottom-bracket moving from side-to-side in the shell with each pedal stroke is holding up, though I'll keep my fingers crossed that it'll take me to Ajaccio.

I was caught by the colour of these flowers while stopped at a café.
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There's nothing I like more than a stop at the Boulangerie.
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I expected a bit of a climb away from the coast, but didn't think it would just keep going on and on. The shattered bottom-bracket scrapping and cracking under the increased strain of each pedal stroke. This will really wipe it out. Its extremely warm too. I'm sweating like a pig, though know if I begin taking off my jersey, I'll only have to stop again in a kilometre or so to put it on once the road starts going down. There are three kilometres of this stupid hill until I reach a village. I ride up through the narrow street. I'm tempted to stop for a coffee at one of the three cafes with people, visitors they look like sitting outside. Once out of the corridor of sturdy stone-block houses with shuttered windows, the road carries on up for five kilometres more, eventually topping out at Col du.... something-or-other, from where I see beyond across the valley ahead, a mountain range capped with a good covering of fresh snow, undoubtedly all the rain during the week fell as snow up there. I want to stop for a photo, but there isn't anything for foreground interest. The road is ugly having widened for a climbing lane on the sharp descent. Then after a few tight bends the road winds down to a village, where I stop for that much needed coffee and, make an early lunch of it by a stop at a boulangerie for a sausage and cheese filled pastry, plus an apple strudel thing.

Taken from the modern bridge, an old bridge dating back many centuries.
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The road away from the village descended a lot more into the valley. Then as there is no visible low valley way onwards, come the expected climb. The bottom-bracket scrapping and cracking all the time as I climb and climb to top out on Col du Saint George at 784 m. From now on the pressure should be off as its all downhill to Ajaccio and I can already see the coast and the built up area around the bay. Though the distance can be deceptive from the mountain top. I had thought by counting down the figure on each white red rounded-top kilometre-marker, that it is only a mere twenty kilometres, but once down in the valley where I thought there only remains three kilometres, the road joins an autoroute and the green sign had Ajaccio 10 km. Dam that. It is all flat and the bottom-bracket scrapes and cracks and I'm not sure its legal to be cycling on this road.

The local hero. Changed not only the map of Europe but also America by occupying Spain, prompting Simon Bolivar, San Martin and others to rid the Spanish from their native soil and set-up republics. He occupied Portugal at the same time, but the Portuguese court escaped on a British ship to Rio de Janeiro and Brazil remained a monarchy until 1889. So, the Napoleonic Wars can be called the first truly global war.
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I ride along the port with two huge modern ferries docked and into the city-centre shortly before three. It is a busy centre with lots of people on the sidewalk and lots of traffic, but there's no stress from traffic here, as all give me space. It is horribly stressful finding things though. I stop at a sports shop and enter to ask the whereabouts of a bike shop. "Pardon. Magasin du velo?" The woman looks at me and is rather unhelpful. Further on I find and follow the signs to "Office du Tourisme" There I'm given a city-plan with the cheapest hotels marked and the woman directs me to a shop a few hundred metres along on the same street that sell and hire scooters and bikes. Here the people are helpful. The woman speaks good English tells me their mechanical doesn't work on Saturdays, so phones another bike shop, but there is no reply. Then says come back Monday morning, when the mechanic will have a look at it.

My hotel room with a view.
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So, now I'm waiting and hoping. If the mechanic at this shop hasn't the right replacement bottom-bracket, I'm sure he'll direct me to a shop that will. I would like it done Monday morning and get back on the road again. The hotel I've checked into is supposedly the cheapest, though its fifty-six euros. Most of the other hotels are seventy, eighty and over a hundred. Sods law that it has gone coming up to the week end and in such an expensive place.

With the room costing 56 euros, there isn't much left in the kitty for eating out, so I set up my kitchen in the hotel room. This evening I make pasty. I will add the vegetables to steam a couple of minutes before the pasta is ready.
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Today's ride: 75 km (47 miles)
Total: 12,993 km (8,069 miles)

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