The life of a cyclist is not always quite as glamorous as it seems. The coffee rides, warm places and free equipment are just one side of the story. In reality, it also entails moving to foreign countries, hardly speaking the language, dealing with hectic race schedules, disappointing results, tough training sessions and constant fatigue. Sometimes you forget, or at least I do, what it’s like to just ride your bike.

Gorge

Today, was an unstructured easy training session. This usually means dragging my tired body around a flat boring route trying to recover after the previous day’s intervals and saving myself for tomorrow’s session. Today, despite yesterday’s arduous training, I was greeted with fresh legs. The rain that had been falling solidly for three days straight had miraculously stopped and for the first time in quite a while I was hot.

French Vines hibernating for the winter
French Vines hibernating for the winter

The welcome break in the weather also brought a break in my mood so I scrapped my normal flat route and went exploring. I turned onto all the small roads I have ridden straight past over the last few weeks and followed the signs into the French countryside. One of the best things about these roads is that they literally take you right through the dead center of the town, past the church and the front doors of all the locals. As I cruised on dead quiet, tiny, winding roads I stopped every now and again to take in the small country towns I was winding through. I just couldn’t help but appreciate everything about the day.

The small town of Balazuc
The small town of Balazuc

I realised once in a while you get great legs, a release from structured training, good weather and a great route. I even managed to make some friends along the way… And it hit me all over again: I love riding my bike. What’s even better is that it somehow got me all the way to France.

Making some friends on my ride
Making some friends on my ride
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