Day 9 – Montceau-les-Mines to Dijon – 69 miles

A familiar but unwelcome sound greeted me as I came to from my slumbers: rain hitting the window. It stood to reason that I’d hit rain eventually but it was a stark contrast to 44°C only days ago.

So gathering my rain gear I ventured out and went first to Le Clerc the large supermarket. I enquired of one employee “ou sont les cartes?” The young woman adopted the face someone would if you’d asked them to add 16.7431 to 324. 219567. Then all of a sudden the ‘darkness’ lifted, she smiled and she said “carrtzzz”? The mystery word had been deciphered and with this correct pronunciation she covered me in a light film of phlegm. This correction came along with a barrage of instructions that I vaguely interpreted to mean I should cross the road to another shop. Wiping my spectacles of this spittle I ventured across the road for the maps. Said map and new adaptor and cabled were acquired.

Eventually I was on my way and proceeding along a canal path. Funnily enough after not having seen any cycle tourers I quickly saw other burdened cyclists rolling toward me. Maybe this is the way normal people cycle tour?

I must mention that in addition to WW1 monuments to the fallen there are many WW2 monuments to fallen Resistance fighters.

So in overcast and drizzly weather I spent the morning on the canal. I soon saw the other tourers: grizzly bearded old men pulling trailers, energetic younger blokes racing behind each other, couples with the man usually carrying the bulk of their possessions etc. Clearly my use of the road and predilection for mountains was an exception amongst the breed.

I enjoyed the easy ride at pace and soon racked up 30 miles. At Chagny the canals split and I stopped for lunch and decided to leave the waterways behind and head to Beaune by road. Here is more ‘plat du jour’ for your scrutiny.

Duck (always with bread)

The drizzle and greyness gave way to torrential rain as I ate. The following picture was taken from under the canopy at the restaurant. I eventually had to venture out and fortunately it soon stopped as I entered the wines of Burgundy.

Il pleut…
Vines as far as the eye could see

I passed through the capital of the region, Beaune, and everything seemed classy and manicured.

I’d decided to stay at a campsite in Dijon. Despite the size of the town there was little choice and as I was running late I got my head down. As I’m pedalling through a flat and traffic free area of farm land I heard a crack. I’d broken a spoke.

For the technically minded then… I carry spare spokes but I have never had a broken spoke, on all my trips, before. I was surprised and worried. The rear wheel was now bowed and would only rotate by rubbing the mudguard and frame. I also removed a break block but still it impeded rotation. I was 3 miles from the above famous town and I limped there terribly slowly. I could have been in a much worse location. I neither carried a socket to remove the rear cassette or spanner to get leverage and I didn’t carry a spoke tightener. I’ll have to think through future tools. With difficulty I found a bike shop and for €8 a mechanic replaced the spoke. He ‘trued’ the wheel as best he could but it wasn’t as accurate as I’d have liked.

Along a busy road I found a supermarket for some bits for dinner and then closed in on the campsite in the outskirts of Dijon. At this point the full contents of the Heavens tipped onto me. Oh, I have seldom been wetter. I was also chilled by the deluge.

‘If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands’

I got to the campsite and on very wet ground put up the tent. Sadly a number of pieces of clothing in the panniers were sodden: I hadn’t secured the top well enough. I couldn’t dry anything and included were some items I’d wear to keep warm. Anyway I ate my dinner in my tent and checked the weather forecast for the next day before going to sleep.

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