Day 18, Sunday 24 September
Limoges to Excideuil
Feeling: Good but tired.
This has been a tough day, but, nevertheless, still good. 72k is quite a long ride in any conditions, but it’s been hot today – around 26 degrees. Tomas and I had breakfast with James at the Hotel de la Paix in Limoges, then said our goodbyes and headed off into the Perigord countryside.
I need to point out straightaway that Tomas is younger and fitter than me. He has run 15 marathons, and participates in crazy Swedish iron-man events involving skiing, cycling, swimming and running vast distances in a 24 hour period. In short, I’m now the one trying to keep up.
Perigord feels quite different from the countryside north of Limoges. You don’t get the pretty little villages of the Creuse, with, of course, the attendant tourism: you just get beautiful, rolling countryside, partly wooded and the rest farmed – mainly apple orchards in the last few miles.
We stopped at Nexon for coffee. This was a completely authentic country bar/restaurant. No tourists here. At 11:30 the staff were just finishing their own lunch before getting ready to serve Sunday lunch to their local village clientele – half a dozen of whom were already getting warmed up in the bar. La patronne had to tell them to be quiet so she could hear my order! I got a number of suspicious looks.
Then a lunch stop at St Yrieix-la-Perche, which has a perfectly preserved mediaeval centre:
By now, the sun was really burning hot, and we struggled a bit over the final 20k. We decided to walk up the steeper hills. This is actually more efficient than cycling as it requires much less work to achieve a similar speed; and it means I take the load off my quadriceps which are really feeling it.
Great to arrive at our B&B, welcomed by Ron & Sylvia. Ron knew exactly what we needed, and two beers came straight out of the fridge. They didn’t touch the sides.