Pétanque.

Day 6: Saint-Felix-De-Raillac-Et-Mortemart to Luzech.

Distance: 99.91km (YES!!!!)
Trip total: 769.59km
Average: 18.4kph
Max: 44.8kph
Time: 05:25:40

Dead foxes: 2
Live deer: 1
Cuckoos: More bloody cuckoos.

Today was a much better day in the saddle, partly due to the change in terrain, and partly the shorter distance cycled. I’ve now decided to ban any more days over 100km for the rest of the trip – in 40 degree heat they’re just too much, and take the enjoyment out of it. I’ve also been warned of hills hills hills between here and Perpignan, so trying to keep up the same pace I’ve been traveling at for the last six days would be stupid.

I left the campsite at about 08:50, joining the same road I’d descended a few km on the night before, and was again treated to more uninterrupted downhill riding. I descended for a full 12km all the way down to Les Eyzies-De-Tayac-Sireuil, the only downside being a headwind blowing up the hill and stopping me going at a decent speed. When you’re having to pedal downhill to get anywhere you know you’re up against it.

At Les Eyzies the route took me along the valley of the La Vezere to Le Bugue, then along the Dordoigne to Soirac-En-Perigord. Here I headed into the hills again, but thankfully it was a series of long but steady climbs, followed by equally long descents, as opposed to the endless ups and downs of the past couple of days.

After a few of these climbs and descents, I finally enjoyed a long downhill section which took me to the river Lot, which I joined at Prayssac and followed through the valley all the way through to Luzech, my destination for the night. By this point the temperature had reached 40 degrees in the sun again, and it had been climbing steadily since midday, but I managed to get finished by just after 3pm, just as I was starting to seriously overheat, and found shade to cool down while I waited to get in touch with my hosts for the night.

I’m staying with a lovely family in Luzech, who I got in touch with through Warm Showers. They’re Valerie and Christophe, and have two young children, and they all live in an apartment attached to a home for adults and children with learning disabilities, which V&C run.

They’ve been extremely accommodating, greeting me with a cool beer as soon as I arrived, making sure I had a shower, putting on a load of washing for me, and finally including me in a game of pétanque (boules) and a barbecue this evening with a group of friends. I’d mentioned in passing that the first day of my trip had been my birthday, and at the end of the meal they suddenly started singing happy birthday and brought over a cake they’d already made but had put candles in for me when they’d found out. They’ve been amazing, and tonight was just what I needed after a gruelling few days in the heat, after which I’d really started to question my resolve.

I’ve got a few options for tomorrow – Valerie and Christophe have offered to accommodate me for another night if necessary, or I can move on if I feel like it in the morning. I’ve found a campsite 50km away, so if I do head off that’ll be the most I’ll do. It’s just impossible to keep going into the afternoon during the hottest part of the day, and I’ve got until Saturday to get to Ceret, so can afford to slow down.

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