It had been a mixed last few days, but I had to press on...
Day 9 -Sarreguemine to Strasburg (105 miles)
Edric and I arranged the night before that we should make an early start. I am terrible with early starts, In fact i just don’t do them. Having someone else to motivate me to get up at 7am was a bittersweet relief. It was a big day today, we were heading to Strasbourg, Edric’s home, along the flat lanes hugging the Sarr canal. Edric and I were different kinds of cyclists. Cycling next to him I realised I don't particularly like to stop but he reminded me that I must stop and enjoy where I was rather than race ahead and get to an arbitrary destination. Ironically enough I received a message from a friend telling me the same thing too (Thanks Ant) I enjoyed this new pace and the company and the little coffee stops.
Arriving in Strasbourg and Edric’s apartment, we were greeted by his partner Aurelie and their two amazing kids. Their hospitality and warmth was so overwhelming, I stayed another day with them, hanging out in the city, going to a restaurant, resting my bones and planting a tree in their garden. Planting roots perhaps.
Day 10/11 - Strasbourg to Chamonix (243 miles)
Fully rested, my soul refreshed, Over breakfast Edric turned to me and said that he could see I was itching to go. He was right of course, the truth is I missed the long days and the roaming and the aching in my legs.
Edric accompanied me on his fixie to the outskirts of Strasbourg. I found that it’s easier to get lost in a city. His envy of me heading back on the road was secretly pleasing to me, it helped affirm that what I was doing and what we do, was and is so cool!
Loaded up with a giant slab of Aurelie’s freshly baked homemade apple cake, I went from France quickly to Germany, following the Rhine for miles and miles. The scenery would only change very subtly. It wasn't at all monotonous, perhaps the Joe from the comfort of a sofa would have perceived it as such, but I really just enjoyed spinning through the miles and the hours, flat and steady, I lost myself without getting lost.
Workstation - homemade cake didn't last long!
I could’ve ridden either side of the Rhine, and picked either country, but from my limited time on these roads I figured that German tracks were a little more well maintained than those found in France. I just seemed to rattle through the miles, relatively effortlessly, so much so I hit upon Switzerland without paying it much thought until I approached the huge city of Basle. My luck crapped out and the weather turned on me. Cold and wet became the theme.
It was dark and late now, 13 hours had flown by. Undecided if I was to carry on, I knew that hot food was a must. I broke one of my golden rules in the golden arches. €20 for a McDonald's meal! The first in 12 years and it will absolutely be my last, not just because of the price you understand. Hunger does strange things to me, I found that I was actually enjoying it and I could feel the energy flooding back through my veins.