Day 1.367 – Winter Madness (UK)
Guéret -> Bourges
Distance (km) : 125
Time on bike : 7h 50m
Brutto time: 08.15 – 18.15
Avg : 15.9 km/h
Total (km) : 60.565
Altitude: 100 m
Sometimes it’s a good thing you don’t know what’s in the “goody bag” of the day, when you head off in the morning. Had I known that today would be such a long and cold haul, I would’ve probably stayed another night at the home for homeless. The caretaker asked me last night if I wanted to stay for 1, 2, or 3 nights.
At 8AM I shake hands with the (other) homeless people, say goodbye, and leave Gueret. It’s still dark and I don’t feel like cycling at all.
I meet quite a lot of encouraging greetings and car-honks from the Frenchmen around me, who often give me this “wow, respect for cycling in this weather!” look when they greet me. I greet them back, but somehow I feel I can’t really receive that sort of respect/street credit ‘cos I’m not doing this in the classic and confident “fist-in-the-air” WT-style way, but rather I’m down in the mouth, I feel a little sorry for myself going through this, and am not enjoying this at all. Hard to explain, but being the most understanding readers around, I know that you, dear reader, will understand what I’m trying to express…
I’m focused like a pitbull all day. Endless ups and downs (in the landscape and in me) make for a pretty tough ride. Minus 4 degrees Celsius. Mild headwind all day which makes my forehead and my eyeballs freeze up. Weird feeling.
Just south of Bourges the hungry wolf inside of me can’t cope with the hunger no longer, and I have to stop and stuff myself. That’s when I start getting really, really cold. Shiver and shake. Heaven or Hell. This is no fun, and I can’t think of anything but getting my body heat back which isn’t an easy task when the body is totally worn after more than 7 hours of pedaling, feeling utterly exhausted, wind blowing, clothes wet from sweating and bla-bla. I feel miserable and slightly panicky.
Stamina brings me to the center of Bourges where I find a hotel near the train station, 41 euros for the night – the cheapest I could find, but also the most expensive accommodation in WT history.
PS. From my wifi-equipped hotel room I put a note on my Facebook status update about the cycling day, the expensive room etc and – hocus-pocus! – 5 minutes later, one of my Danish readers (no one mentioned, no one forgotten!) take pity on me and transfer that exact amount, 41 euros, to my account. I seriously can’t believe what’s happening, feels like the guardian angels are watching me again, and it just confirms that I do have the best and most caring readers in the world. Thank you so much, Mr. GT. Will not forget.