Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Day 4- Arras to Trefcon- 73km

Finally!!! 7 hours of blissful solid sleep :) I have been suffering from pretty extreme jet lag since we got to London, getting in about 2-3 hours of sleep a night for the past 5 nights. On top of that I came down with a horrid head cold the day before we started towards Rome. So I've been riding 80km days three days in a row dosed up on drugs with a cold and no sleep. So I was pretty stoked this morning to wake up feeling refreshed and finally getting over this illness. Still a hacking cough, but I think it will be gone soon too.

On leaving our hotel in Arras this morning we were blessed with what can only be described as perfect riding conditions. Clear blue skies with not a cloud to be seen and lovely sunshine to make picture perfect vistas even more perfect. The route today between Arras and Peronne was incredible. Beautiful farm roads and tracks winding their way through agricultural land and gorgeous small towns with ridiculously beautiful mansions at every turn. Some crumbling, but others in spectacular condition. We were suprised at how many massive houses there were in such tiny villages.

Leaving Arras
Easy roads!

Our path today took us past a few WWI cemeteries which was very humbling. Reading the headstones and seeing the average age in the early 20's was very sad. I cant imagine what it must have been like to live in that time. The cemeteries are very beautiful. The gardens are kept immaculate with fresh cut grass and flowers and they are located in the middle of silent fields. Quite poignant.

Sunken Road Cemetary



Due to the wonderful condition of the tracks today we were making good time so took the day at a much easier pace, stopping at our first French cafe. I even managed to talk to the bar lady in passable French ;) she came outside afterwards and wanted to shake both our hands, which at first I found quite confusing, but she was just very friendly. It seems in the smaller towns that everyone wants to say hi to us and find out what we are doing and where we are going. Whoever propagated the myth that the French are rude needs a slap in the face.

First French cafe!

We did encounter a small bit of mud today, which was actually quite bad. There was no possible way around it. I made Ben go first so I could see how deep the water was and the best line to take. Good option as he almost stacked it :D I made it through unscathed, though my bike was clogged up with some of the thickest mud I've ever seen! We tried to get it off with some bunches of grass, riding through rocks, and riding through puddles, but the best cleaner was found further ahead when we encountered my nemesis the grass track. I hate riding on the grass tracks, but this time it was welcome as it acted like one of those drive through car washes, brushing down the sides of our bikes and wheels to get a bit more of the mud off. Just lucky this time it wasn't up a mega hill ;)

Mud pit of doom


Me no likey


Grass bike wash track

We made it to Peronne by midday with only 20km to go to our destination so we decided to have lunch in the square. Our first meal out as we just haven't had time so far! Today really feels like the start of our holiday for me. I feel a lot better, the riding is spectacular, and we have got into a rhythm where we are still making the distance but able to have a bit more break and enjoyment time. Lunch was great! We had a local beer, an entree of cold meats and rillette, for main Ben had steak with gorgonzola sauce with frites and I had some very tender pork fillets with a local cheese sauce and some bloody delicious garlic butter potatoes. Now we are talking! This was finished with a citron rhubarb tart and coffee. Then back on the bikes for the final 20km!



Cheese is good

For the section from Peronne to Trefcon we had read that others had difficulty passing through mud in the forrest sections. We took the first section as it was not too long and managed to weave our way around the puddles, but decided to stick to the roads for the rest. Ben found a great route through some back roads with very little traffic. We are now in Trefcon staying at a gite which is like a B&B. It's a tiny town so we are taking the time for some R&R and Ben is doing some bike maintenance. His back wheel has become a little buckled and his rack is twisted a bit. We saw our first pilgrims today, we passed four in total, and there are another three staying here at the gite. I believe we are all going to have dinner together this evening so it should be a good night :) here's to another 7 hours sleep! Fingers crossed!


Bens token cat photo



  1. Really enjoying reading your blogs! Glad to hear you are starting to feel better. Enjoy your rest day. Sim :)

  2. That sounded like the Perfect Day , you will probably catchup up to Paul Chin and Jerry soon