I’m back! Sorry for the delay and lack of updates over the past week but the three of us on “Team Tandem Ecosse” have been through the mill a bit – and been just a bit busy with all the cycling .. and of course the “old git” and the “old gal” have been a bit tired to maintain the idea of a daily posting en route.
So the “old git” decided to abandon that idea and write it up while we were all resting near a beautiful lake in a static caravan near Troyes in the Champagne region.
So the following is all written a week later – but will be each day as it happened on the tour ‘Cycling the Vineyards and Villages of Burgundy’.
So here we go, it is Tuesday morning and the “old git” and the “old gal” were raring to go – bedecked out in their new cycling tops. The “old git” had been given a bright orange Tigger-style top – complete with stripes and the “old gal” resplendent in her saltire top to prove we all came from Scotland.
The excitement was reaching fever pitch as we set off from the hotel in Beaune on the first leg of the tour.
The “old git” – in his questionable wisdom – had decided that we would all start with the “long” 28 mile route … in his words “just to get some miles under our belt.”
The destination was the market town of Nolay – a mere 28 miles away according to our self-guide “bible” which detailed every turn and direction for the next week.
The blurb sounded sensational – “today’s route is picture perfect making your way through the vineyards which line the valleys between the pretty towns and villages.” And I was all set for the off as well – though the astute among you will realise that there has been no mention of the dreaded “hill” word! Lets just say there is more of that later!
Off we whizzed and the “old gal” said it was wonderful as we breezed along the maze of little roads – mostly meticulously kept – that run through the vineyards so the vines can be attended to.
Within half an hour we had reached our first stop which was the gorgeous village of Pommard – and the “old git” and the “old gal” indulged in their first (of many) wine tastings in a local cave. I must say I was a wee bit worried as it was only 10.30 in the morning – but it appears they both managed admirably to tell the difference between the cheaper “village” wine, then the more expensive “premier cru” vintage, before tasting the top priced “grand cru” variety.
Refreshed form that stop we were off again – taking the extra loop which the guide promised would take us into the picturesque valleys surrounding some of the most prestigious vineyards. What it omitted to say was that these were at altitude! Which means hills!
Initially it was no problem, as we sped along flat roads to the village of Nantoux – then it hit us. the first hill, And I mean a hill. The “old git” dropped me down into first gear – and the “old gal” pushed away at my pedals as best she could – but it was no use.
We ground to a halt and for the next half hour I was being pushed up a very steep hill as the “old git” and the “old gal” huffed and puffed.
A breather followed with a slight downhill but then it was uphill again to St Romain – which we now know produced fabulous red wine due to its altitude! So another walking session followed as we climbed a very steep hill. I was getting quite concerned for the “old git” at this stage as he was extremely red in the face!
When we reached the summit it was time for a well-earned break – and a chance to take on some water. It would need to be said that the views from the top at St Romain – down over the valley of vineyards – was magnificent.
But the “old gal” was more than a bit peeved at all the unexpected hills when we had all been expecting a trip through nothing more than gently undulating countryside.
“I thought the vineyards were meant to be flat” said the “old gal”!
The “old git” was equally exhausted – and suffering from a serious bout of overheating – due to a combination of the hills and the temperature soaring above 25C. The only thing keeping us all together was a promise of some serious downhill cycling.
The “old git” doing a very good impersonation of being totally knackered!
Once we finally figured out the way out of St Romain – the downhill was quite exciting and we managed to reach a top speed of 28mph. That’s not bad for an “old lady” like me you know, especially at my age!
We got a good head of steam going and were soon in a lovely town of Meursault – thankfully with all three of us in somewhat better spirits.
Time for a late lunch, so the “old git and the “old gal” disappeared into the boulangerie for lovely fresh bread then into a supermarket for some cold meats and cheeses. The “old git” brought a big smile to the face of the “old gal” when he bought a bottle of the local Cremant champagne-style fizzy wine.
We had parked up in the town square – directly in front of a lovely fountain – and I was impressed at the number of people who stopped to inquire about me, and how old I was.
The dynamic duo had a great picnic – and the Cremant went down a treat and helped the refuelling process.
Cheers! – the first of many picnics with local produce and wine!
Cooling down at the magnificent fountain in Meursault.
Refreshed we headed for Santenay – through about 8kms of spectacular scenery through the vineyards. Fortunately they were at lower levels and we were picking up speed and enjoying the flat roads.
A quick stop for a much-needed refreshment – of the soft variety – saw us sitting in the village square. Unfortunately a thunder-storm hit at this point and monsoon-like rain hit! The “old git” was a real hero running out and pushing me under a large tree to keep me (and my saddles) dry and he got soaked for his efforts.
The rain fell and fell and we were marooned for about an hour as it would have been impossible to cycle in these conditions.
Finally the rain abated – and with the air cleared and the atmosphere a bit cooler – we headed off on the final stretch to Nolay.
This was hard going as we still had about 10 miles to travel – and it involved, yes you’ve guessed, a few more hills, including a long slow climb into the town itself.
Somewhat bedraggled at 8pm we finally hit the picturesque hotel – Hotel de la Halle – which was an old Burgundian house located in the heart of the old part of Nolay facing the beautiful market square.
I was parked in a quaint garage, beside a fascinating old car, and I must say even I was glad we had finished for the day!
Just time for a quick pizza for the dynamic duo – one of the best the “old gal” had ever had it seems, washed down by a bottle of local produce – and then it was time for some serious zzzs.
And then we all do it again tomorrow! Happy Holidays indeed!