Today was the hardest of these three days. We wanted to start early this day so we could have time in case something would go wrong. We wanted to arrive at the hotel before dark.
We left at 10 in the morning to travel 180 km with a total ascent of 1’600 meters. In the first two hours I could do only 30 km. It was pretty hard to get out of the city towards the national roads due to different factors such as the slopes and the traffic.
The day seemed to bring rain, and thus it began. During the first two hours shone, in the sky, a very hot sun which made me a bit tired. After coming to the national road, I stopped in Carrefour where Patrick, in the meantime, did some shopping. I followed by another 30 km before lunch and Patrick was already preparing BBQ. It was difficult to get the fire started, but Patrick succeeded in preparing a great snack, some fine sausages, steaks along with a healthy salad.
After lunch, more and more mountain, was waiting for me. It seems that there was no end, and it was clear that, about 120 km from the goal, that our distance calculations were wrong. I had to ride longer than we thought before and rain came again.
During this intense downpour, I had my phone charging on the back of my trikot with a “power bank” (a battery that charges batteries) since it only had 20% left and it would not be enough to communicate with Patrick until the end. When I reached about 25 km from Thiers, I noticed that the phone had not charged at all. We checked out the phone and concluded that it had picked up a lot of moisture and therefore could not recharge.. After so much going up until Thiers, there had a great downhill and combined with the fact that we are in high mountain, we had the opportunity to see fantastic landscapes.
I managed to do 25 km in Thiers in 40 minutes (+ -). During this route always going down, went through many beautiful and charming little towns, was undoubtedly the best part of the day on the road. When we arrived in Thiers I was quite discouraged. Why? Because all boards said there were still 47 ks to get to Clermont Ferrand but all our calculations pointed to only 25 km. It was getting dark and it was be clear that we would not arrive before the 22:30 (like yesterday). The last 30 km were the toughest so far. The roads were completely deserted, no light and always in the middle of the woods. Patrick had to come back and follow me side by side since it was very dark and the lights I had were not enough. I could not see the two meters forward. It was traumatic and these events tested me mentally. 12 km from the goal, I asked my brother to take a little break because my rear was already hurting a lot. So I stopped the bike and my body trembled right away: it was clear that my sugar levels were low. This, together with the fact that I was weak, the climbs, the extreme darkness that surrounded us and everything else, some tears dropped from my eyes. The situation was taking control of me but after wiping the tears I stood up and continued on, with sacrifice, but eager to get to our accommodation. This day tested my mental limits and I almost let it take control of me. But, I had the discernment to continue and think why I was there! It was quite difficult! A day to remember later for motivational reasons…
Finally we arrived at the hotel at 23:30 and the first thing we made was? Install the Playstation! It was a most deserved award since the next day (5) was a day off.
In the end I did 205 kms!
Best of the day:
The fantastic things I saw with my own eyes – regions with little to no houses.
Worst of the day:
Another day to take with a lot of rain. At one point, the rain was so intense that water would really hurt.
Distance traveled: 205 km
Total ascent: 2’000 meters
Time: 8.5 Hours
Average speed: 24 km/h