After the lost garage keys adventure, breaking down the door and recovering my bike, the departure to Besançon was welcome. Clouds loomed large for the entire day and although a few drops fell I stayed dry. However, the same good fortune didn’t extend to the wind, which was gusting all day in my face. The day, originally planned to end in Besançon, couldn’t end soon enough, and I took the morning train transfer to Pontarlier that evening. All told it was a tough, boring route, with the only highlight being Belfort a beautiful medival fort – hench the name.
Day of Journey:
Stage 2 of 21, May 5th, 2009.
Bike 6h30m (175km), Train 1h46m (76km)
Total – 261km (Bike – 185km (10km Tourism) Train – 76km)
Bike – 175km, Train – 76km
Total Distance Biked:
267km (2 stages)
Twitter update: “In Pontarlier now. Long ride, tough ride today. Into the wind for 175km, all up and down. I’m very tired. 6h30m.Tomorrow, the Alps await.”
So What Happened?
The road leaving Colmar is flat, long and grey. Well, it was grey that day. Ultimately you follow the highway until Mulhouse which was undergoing some serious reconstruction, I imagine, for the Tour de France. From Mulhouse it`s all up and down through rolling Alsatian plains and light forests. It actually sounds much nicer than it is. Anyway, all I can remember is riding with my head tilted to the one side because of the relentless wind. It was really putting the hurt on me. Only arriving to Belfort and I was already exhausted. If you have seen the cycling film overcoming, which featured the CSC team and Ivan Basso, you may remember a conversation between Riis and Bruyneel where they allied to split the peloton while some teams were being decimated in the wind. Well, I felt like I was one of those team members, even though I tried to imagine myself as that energizer bunny Jens Voigt.
Belfort, as I previously hinted at is gorgeous. Google it. Actually, wait. I just Googled it and nothing worthwhile came up…so maybe go to the tourism site. However, one thing I did learn, and feel silly for now is that the Le Corbusier cathedral in Ronchamp is only about 12km from Belfort. If you find yourself following near my route – make a better route and go see it. Now, Google that!
From Belfort, it was all downhill psychologically, and uphill and downhill geographically from there. The rest of the journey was a big challenge and didn’t leave me feeling great on my first long day. Thinking back now, the conditions may have compounded my already sleep deprived form, but this may have been one of the harder days of the entire trip. I guess it’s good to get them over with early-on.
I arrived in Besançon, and opted to not stay there that night. The reasoning came down to this: CS in Besançon and wake at 5:30am to train to Pontarlier or train now and leave when I want. Easy decision. So I met with my last minute CS request Gaétane a DJ and fellow music nerd. She had some great tunes. We chatted, ate and I slept well. The next day was the Alps.
Picture of the Day: Look. Belfort. France.