Day 12: Le Barcares to Ceret
Trip total: 1223.42km
(This is yesterday’s ride, the final day of the ride to Ceret)
The final day of my epic cycle through France finally arrived. I struggled to sleep, partly due to the heat, but also my excitement at the short ride ahead of me, taking me to Ceret to meet the rest of my family.
In a weird middle of the night state of confusion, half awake, half asleep, at around 4am I even considered getting up, packing my things away and setting off before the heat of the day. But then my sleepy side kicked in and told me not to be an idiot, so I drifted off again, getting up at about 7:30, going through my morning ritual, and leaving the campsite at 8:15.
I headed south along the coast to Canet-En-Rousillion before heading inland and skirting round Perpignan, with views of the Pyrenean mountains ahead of me. At times I was battling against strong headwinds, unable to move at anything over about 10kph, but the winds started to ease as I moved away from the coast and towards the hills.
I crossed the river Tech (which flows through Ceret, and directly past the house in which we’re staying) at Brouilla, then joined a perfect, smooth cycle path running parallel to the D618 for the remaining 20km or so to Ceret.
I cycled the last few kilometres into Ceret with a huge grin on my face, knowing that I’d finally made it, arriving at almost exactly the same time as Mum, Dad, and Rosie in the motorhome, so headed to the market and waited for them to park up and come to meet me.
Mum gave me a big hug as soon as they arrived, and the ride was finally over. The last twelve days and over 1200km of cycling have been incredible – by far the most physically challenging and psychologically demanding thing I’ve ever done. At times I’ve struggled a bit with the loneliness of cycling so far, and for so many days, on my own, and the nights I stayed with Anne then Christophe and Valerie, and the time I spent Connor and Alba, definitely made the trip far more enjoyable than it would otherwise have been. I’d love to do more long tours, but I doubt I’d do something of this distance again on my own, or if I did I’d arrange as many WarmShowers stops as possible along the way.
The bike has now had a much needed deep clean and some mechanical TLC, and is having a well deserved rest in the shade beside the pool. I plan to ignore it for the next few days, and waking up knowing I didn’t have to cycle 100 or more km today was a feel worth savouring.