7th July 2016.
With a couple of days to ride before the Roscoff ferry and plenty left in the legs, I changed my original plan and headed south-west to hit the southern coast of Brittany and aimed for the beautiful town of Quimper. It was going to be a big day – another century, so I set off from Saint Brieuc early with packed sandwiches and a peach to keep me going a while.
Heading into the countryside was a change to the coastal routes of the previous days, and it was soon heating up to be one of the hottest days. The quality of the agricultural land was evident with large fields of wheat and barley, peas and many grazed paddocks with dairy cattle, some Montbelliardes, or even Charolais or Limousin beef cattle. In Mur de Bretagne I managed to get a postcard off to Mum and Dad at the post office, and in Le Quillio I had a little mosey around the market whilst eating my peach.
Stage 7 was a super hot day riding a century from the North to the South coast of Brittany, from St Brieuc to Quimper. Thankfully quiet rolling country roads so I didn't flash too many madames and monsieurs with my weird new bibs… #katherinesgranddepart #hothothot #delightsofbeingacyclist #assosbibshorts #centuryride #brittany #touringonracingbike #cyclechic
Down through Cleguerec, Seglien, and Guemene-sur-Scorff, all pretty Breton towns and a pain au raisin scoffed to keep me going. I was tiring easily as it was just so hot, so it was very important to stop regularly to keep hydrated and fill bidons. The only people that I’d met that day were the ladies in the tourist information offices, so I made sure I had a good chat with them whilst picking up each local map.
In La Fouet, at mile 62 I stopped for an ice-cream which I seemed to have to search the whole town for, fuelling up for the last 40 miles. At mile 70 I sailed through Saer, which turned out to be a mistake as I got incredibly hungry and fatigued before the next town, limping into Resporden at 80 miles. I renamed it Resplendant, as not only did I manage to get a wonderful Breton-salad baguette (like potato salad with chunks of ham and egg) and a peach from the local supermarket dead cheap, but also there was a beautiful lake which I sat and enjoyed it from before heading on to finish the ride.
I was super hungry by the time I got to Rosporden but wasn't expecting much as the previous towns of Scaer and Le Faouet didn't offer much, but this place was resplendent! For two euros a baguette and a Breton salad filling with potato, ham and egg, and a peach of course, enjoyed by this tranquil lake – bliss at 80 miles in. #katherinesgranddepart #touringonracingbike #fuelfortheride #takingabreak #poweredbypeaches
The last 20 miles into Quimper were much better having had a decent meal and I was soon pedalling around the centre of the beautiful town, chuffed that I’d ridden a solo century today in that heat. It was a bittersweet arrival however, as whilst taking a victory photo of Enzo by Quimper Cathedral, a gust of wind caught him and knocked him over, bending the hanger quite badly. I was distraught, the thought that I’d hurt my beloved bike brought a tear to my eye and then I panicked about being able to ride on and get to Roscoff! Being too late to find a bike shop, I rode my injured steed gingerly back to the AirBnB to meet Annie, just after 7pm. After showering and washing my kit, I was so, so tired. In hindsight it was a terrible idea, but as the nearest shop was a 2km walk away and nothing about locally, I just had a little of Annie’s bread and jam before planning a route for the following day, researching Colnago dealers and local bike shops and crawling into bed.
A long day and quite and achievement, but must learn to eat properly whilst riding and after, and to look after poor Enzo!