La Lentilliene to Nogent-le-Rotrou, France

I decided to go north, then east, so I rode D 908 to Carroughes

It was a beautiful, and peaceful, ride. just the kind of riding I needed this morning

My mother died while I rode from La Lentilliene to Sees this morning. She was 93 and had remained in pretty good health till two weeks ago, so her death was really a decent ending to a good, if sometimes quite hard, life. I was mourning her death as I rode, even though I did not know that she had died until late this evening.

My night at La Lentilliene wasn't great, but that was not the fault of the hotel. After a good breakfast, I decided it made sense to ride. Because of the 6 hour time difference, I wouldn't be able to find out much till afternoon, so I thought I might stop early and call to leave my number so my family could call if they needed to talk to me. As it turned out, I stopped late. It is hard to stop early at a hotel in France: Most of them close after lunch at about 2 PM and don't reopen till 5 or 6 PM. That was the case with the one I planned to stop at in Mortagne-au-Perche. Then I met a fellow from Paris who wanted to visit about touring - that was a pleasant hour Then I discovered that there was no hotel where I wanted to stop and that many hotels were full because it was Saturday night. I tried several before I got the last room in this one at about 7:30 PM.

I spent six hours and 45 minutes riding 71 miles today with 2500 feet of climbing. It was hilly, some times quite hilly - but, as has been the case for almost all the days of this tour, the most important factor was the wind. Except for the first 10 km, when I was riding north, and the last 20 km, when I was riding south, I had a headwind. This headwind didn't ruin my day, but it slowed me down by several miles an hour. Instead of an average speed of 13 mph, I worked hard and averaged 10 mph. Over seven hours, that makes the difference between a 90 mile day and a 70 mile day.

Entering the forest

When I asked the fellow who runs the hotel at La Lentilliene about routing north, them east, he said it was a very nice route going though 'The Forest.' Forests are a bigger thing in Europe than in most parts of the US, simply because they are much rarer here.

Climbing in the forest

He didn't mention climbing in the forest. This particular forest covers two ridges, each about 400 feet higher than the land on either side. It was a beautiful ride, but almost all of it was either climbing in the wind at 5 mph or descending at 25 (it would have been 35 without the headwind) mph. I measured about 700 feet of climbing in four miles. That is almost twice the average climbing - about 400 feet in four miles - on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Looking into the forest

After the forest, the riding was flatter, but just as windy. The highlight of this part of the ride was seeing, and hearing, a group of three high performance cars going in the other direction. The last two were Ferraris - the sound is very distinctive, but the first one sounded like a big V8 rather than a V12, and I'm not sure what it was. I was passed by another Ferrari in Spain. That one was being driven very aggressively. Lovely sounds!

A flatter section on my way to Sees

But it wasn't all flat before Sees

Sees has a spectacular cathedral - Cathedral is Se, in Pourtugese - which which dominates the town, coming and going.

The Cathedral, coming into Sees

And looking back toward Sees
Notice the poor road surface

The long range views later in the day were colored by smog. I'm getting into the industrial area of northern France. The road quality was also quite variable. Some of the roods were bad enough to cause my problems with my bad knee, other sections of the same road were smooth. My LZ-2 gave me problems later in the day as well, so I don't have many images after Sees.

The water tower that wasn't at the top of the hill

Buillion, a French Farm near that water tower

One of the characteristics of the route after Sees was that I could tell where the next ridge - high point - was by the placement of each water tower. That worked between Sees and Mortagne-au-Perche. Half a dozen km before Mortagne-au-Perche, I saw the last water tower ahead and the road leading up to it. I climbed, expecting the road to go over the ridge at the tower. Instead it turned at the base of the tower and climbed a much higher ridge ;-{!

I stopped for lunch at a Donner Kebab place in Sees and for cafe at a restaurant in Mortagne-au-Perche. Unfortunately, it was after lunch time, so the restaurant, although its door was open, wasn't open. The owner told me that, so I thanked him I went back to my bike, and he came out after me and asked if I needed some water. I did, and he filled one of my water bottles with ice water and wished me a good ride. Snce I couldn't have coffee, I stopped at the next Intermarche and go some cola, YOP, and fruit. That, along with some bread I got in a town on the way to Sees, ended up being my supper.

About five km before Remalard, where I hoped to stop for the day, a man on a bicycle pulled out from a side road, looked at my bike and said 'Cool!' That was at the beginning of the only really flat stretch - the road follows a river valley from there almost to Nogent-le-Rotrou - and this young man rode behind me to Remalard. When I pulled off the road to look at my map in Remalard, he pulled off beside me and wanted to talk. We ended up talking for about an hour while drinking beer in Remalard. He is a blacksmith who was raised in Paris, but has lived, and worked in quite a few parts of France and, last summer, in New Jersey. He is going to Paris the day after tomorrow, so he gave me his phone number to call when I got there. He wrote it on my map. I lost the map on the way to Nogent-le-Rotrou ;-{. I gave him my email address, so I hope to hear from him again, but I won't be seeing him in Paris.

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