|The Lost Boys (and Girl), ready to leave with No Faffing!|
Pressing on, we came to our next climb, the Col d'Enguilhame, a fairly short, steepish one on a totally deserted road, where we soon pulled off for our daily picnic lunch. Everyone was in a jovial mood and I decided that my legs were feeling good enough that I would join four of the faster riders on the climb up the next col, which was only about 2 kms away. Although I managed to press onwards and get a gap, the Duck chased me down and was the first of the Lost Boys over the Col de Redoulade. At least I held onto my second place on the podium.
The countryside was very quiet and quite wild-looking, with only a few farmhouses and no villages to speak of, although we did pass another ruined Cathar castle. I was riding more with the Thin Man now, and our track took us on a long gradual climb on the D129 to the top of the Col d'Homme Mort: yes, Dead Man's Pass. Of course, I think the Thin Man and I were the only two Lost Boys who did not have photos taken in front of the col sign while posing as if we were dead...
|The roads all looked pretty much like this.|
There was a lovely 9 km descent to Ladern-sur-Lauquet and then—oh no!--yet more climbing, something that Chris had not discussed in his briefing in the morning. It was now blazing hot, the road was dusty and turning the pedals was quite difficult. We managed to drag ourselves towards Cazilhac, where the faster Lost Boys were waiting. They cheered us on and told us to ride down the hill while they waited for the last riders. Terry and I scooted downwards and as soon as we found the local pizzeria, we sat on the terrace, had big beers and took off our shoes. And a World Cup game was on the television! Some of the other guys and girls crossed the street to a supermarket and brought back some junk food. Ah, to be in France on a sunny day, drinking a beer and relaxing after an amazing bike ride...to bad about the sore feet!
After a short time everyone was back together and after a recovery beer or two, we rode to our modern hotel just outside the old centre of Carcassonne. A hot shower was very welcome and after a while I felt my old self again. We walked the short distance to the Cite, as the old town inside the walls is called, and enjoyed the sights of the UNESCO World Heritage Site by evening light. Helen and Chris had arranged a nice dinner at an old restaurant and with this the first part of the 2010 Lost Boys Tour of Europe, Hammer Week, came to a close.
|Daniel, feeling a bit tired at dinner...|