Forests and Farms
It appears that a good chunk of our cycling route in between the cities of Troyes and Munster is to be included in the Tourd’France this year. It’s not hard to see why either; beautiful 2 lane roads which weave their way through fields, farms, and beneath the overhanging branches of dark, windless forests. As well we pass through innumerable small villages which I am sure will be packed this summer with spectators watching the Grand Boucle go by…though at this time all one see’s during the day is an odd farmer or two.
So, how did our participants do on these Tourd’France roads? Splendidly. Sure there are some creaking joints in the morning, and a few grimaces over coffee, but after 5km or so of the day people have limbered up and get set to tackle the challenges ahead…but let’s start with some Champagne.
In Chaumont (in the Champagne region) we were lucky enough to be treated by Sharon to a magnum of Champagne from Reims, unfortunately the cork broke while we were attempting to open it (we had forgotten our Saber at the office in Toronto) but eventually managed to rest the cork away from the bottle and it was all downhill from there (so to speak)
Hopefully no one was woozy in the morning, for our ride from Chaumont to Xertigny was easily the hardest of the trip so far. Undulating hills (I heard much more explicit adjectives describing these) and more undulating hills set the tempo for the day. Our cyclist Ross, an ex-forester, even while huffing and puffing up the climbs, managed to note that the trees in the forests along our route were spaced too close together for vegetation to grow on the forest floor, and hence not much food for deer. In terms of wildlife though, we have been lucky enough to spot many Storks, especially in Munster, their nests perched atop the spires of tall stone churches.
The Col de la Schluct is a highlight of each Orient Express; it is a 10km climb, and even better, about a 15km descent. This year we were greeted with great sunshine and the hill was busy with many other cyclists (of all abilities as some of them were really speeding along the ascent) Most of our riders managed to have a beer at the top of the pass, which I’m sure helped steady them for the tricky descent all the way to our campsite in Munster.Now in Freiburg, it’s time to put the legs up, relax, and perhaps discover a nice schnitzel in town, yum, yum.