There Are Cows Somewhere (I Hear The Bells): Le Lioran To Near Vayrac. - Lookin For John Fairweather - CycleBlaze

April 10, 2014

There Are Cows Somewhere (I Hear The Bells): Le Lioran To Near Vayrac.

This afternoon I'm having a break from the usual pasta. Instead I'm boiling potatoes, which I've sliced so they cook quicker, together with leftover vegetables. Having put too much water on to boil, I drain it off: the excess water will be saved for washing up. The idea is when the potatoes are done and the veg on top above the waterline with the lid on have steamed, the water will have reduced down to nothing.

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The legs straightaway feel the fatigue of all the climbing in the last few days as I start the day climbing. Up ahead, above the treeline is a great snowy ridge which I first saw yesterday. On the Michelin map its called "Plomb Du Cantal" with a triangle to represent a big mountain beside the number "1855".

Its four kilometres up and around regular bends with pine-trees to the side until the welcoming sign to Lioran. There's also a sign that there's a tunnel ahead; and on the same post, a sign indicating that vehicles of a certain length must take the alternative D12. I'm wondering will it be possible to cycle through as I halt at the curb of a roundabout two-hundred metres short of the tunnel's stark mouth stuck out of the mountainside, or should I take the alternative road which will involve more climbing. I'm just getting the map out when a blue gendarmerie van pulls level with me. The officer on the passenger side tells me through the open window, cycling is prohibited in the tunnel, and points out the roundabout exit for D12.

The non-tunnel alternative passes through Lioran, a ski village. I pass hotels, wood cabins, a ski-hire shop, ski-runs with chairlift winding machines and snow-clearing trucks, before the road elbows steeply up the final slope.

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The steep switch-back descend on the other side, rejoins the re-emerged N122 on a long straight downhill to Vic Saint Clere with a rustic old town, where seeing visitors sat outside a café, I'm enticed to do the same; have a coffee. Later, I go into the bar to pay, where I see on the wall, old black and white framed photographs of the town in the nineteen-fifties and a still from a film of the same era shot in the town.

The road to Aurillac continues the lose of altitude as the temperature rises. I reach the department's municipal centre by noon, passing billboards for Carrefour and Le Clere, but riding the whole way through this large town which involve much climbing, stopping at lights and sweating, I happen to pass none of the said supermarches; so, return back through town to a discount Leaderprice I had spotted on the way through. I just have all I need in the basket when the lights go out. I'm the last costumer and it seems they close at twelve-thirty. The check-out girl comes and confirms they do indeed close, but I protest that I just need a beer before coming to the check-out.

Supermarche car park.
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I leave town on D120 in the direction of Argentat, through rolling countryside with wooded hills and broad-leaf trees by the roadside, pass lush pastureland where fat brown cows clang bells on collars round their necks. It gets warmer as the day goes on.

I descend into Laroquebrou, a village nestling in a deep river valley, where I lunch on baguette and banana sandwich. I change out of tights when I'm finished; then the small Super U opens as its gone two o'clock, so I go and buy a cold drink before going on.

The potatoes are now done, but the bag of grated cheese I intended mixing in, has melted into a conjoined yellow blot. The campsite this evening is in long grass by a copse of trees on the edge of a field of long grass and wild flowers. And there must be cows somewhere nearby as I hear a clanging bell.

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From my campsite.
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Today's ride: 119 km (74 miles)
Total: 13,893 km (8,628 miles)

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