Explaining what came over me - Old Stones and Live Ammunition - Rich Solo Gravel Tour - October 2019 - CycleBlaze

Explaining what came over me

This short tour came about because Robin was flying back to the US for a family function.   I decided to take the time to go on a short bike tour for the 8 days she would be gone.  

I wanted to do a tour with some gravel roads instead of our normal paved ones.  Using RideWithGPS, I had planned several possible tours ranging from 7 days down to this one (3 days).

I got Robin to the airport in Toulouse on the 20th, but life just kind of ganged up on me and before I knew it, I was deep into the week.  The only ride that looked possible with the time I had left was this one.  I had to pick up Robin in Toulouse on the 28th, so that put a hard stop on my "tour".  (Can you call 3 days on the bike a "tour"?)

One thing that was on my mind throughout the planning of this trip was that I would be riding during HUNTING SEASON!!  Hunting season is a religion here in the south of France.  It's seen as a chance for a bunch of random guys in fluo vests to go out into the countryside and blast away at anything that moves.  Once in a while they hit a sanglier (wild boar) or a deer.  And sometimes they hit a cyclist or hiker.  Insert gallic shrug here - that's just the way it goes.

So I was going into enemy territory.  The enemy is identified by the fluo vests, barking dogs, and the ubiquitous white Renault van.

Behold the enemy
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There is a calendar for which days they are allowed to hunt for which prey.  It's IMPOSSIBLE to figure out and varies from town to town.  So in practice, what happens is that everyday is valid for hunting from about September 30th through the end of April.  

Having said that, they tend to hunt less on weekdays.  Which I had stupidly wasted.   They still hunt on weekdays but a lot less than on Saturday and Sunday.   Care was definitely needed if I wanted to come out of this alive.

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