WRWR Relay Day 14 – My Day 4 Le Mans to Saintes, France
12th March 2019
This morning there are just 4 of us leaving Le Mans going to Saintes. We will be stopping off to meet two other french women who will join us for the rest of the leg.
Just as we are about to leave the lead rider, Celine, hands me the baton case and asks me to carry it… oh yes, of course I will. We leave the car park with Celine and Colette having already ridden off so immediately Jo and I are unsure where they have gone. We discover there is only one way out but by then the road has been blocked with cones and a lorry is about to unload some building materials so we pull over and debate what to do. Some car drivers are crossing a no entry to get out onto the main road, but we don’t actually know where Celine and Colette have gone. While we ummm and ahhh, Celine suddenly appears. They are parked at the end of the blocked street, so we decide to ride up the pavement to get past the lorry. At last we are off..
We make a brief stop for petrol and then arrive at this absolutely stunning chateau to meet the two new french women…
Its at Montrieul in case you want to go for a look.
The route today is all about the scenery, so Celine is leading us down mostly D roads with twisty turns and some very bumpy sections. She does make a number of turn arounds too.
We stop for a short break and I notice a very unpleasant smell coming from my bike.. what the hell is that?? I have a good look around but can’t find anything wrong. The smell was soon gone so I wonder if it is all the mud caked on the front of the bike.. gosh she badly needs a wash.
Back on the road and next stop is for some lunch in a very nice country restaurant. The smell is back as I park the bike and there is some smoke billowing out of the top of the rear exhaust heat shield… oh that’s not good.
We head into the restaurant and as I am waiting for my food I google the nearest harley dealer.. ah Poitiers, I wonder if Jacques is still there. I also google smoking harley pipes and the only suggestion I can find is a small oil leak from the rear head falling onto the pipe so I go outside for a closer inspection. It is then I see a small black lump stuck to the pipe.. ahhhh, let me just check my get back whip…
I fill up with petrol and then have to ride over to a kiosk to pay, I give the woman my card and she takes ages to sort it, next thing she is on the phone to someone and then Celine comes over to find out what the problem is.. I am feeling mortified that maybe my card has been declined in front of the ride leader but it turns out that the card machine is broken, so I get my card back and pay cash. I pay 1 euro for a 2 minute jet wash and give the grrrrl a quick blast to get the worst of the mud off… she is definitely in need of an all day scrub.
We then get back on the road for more twisty bumps, but the views are fantastic and gorgeous little french villages. Next stop is outside a Boulongerie so in I dive for a quick coffee and a delicious Beignet, reminds me of New Orleans… yum
We then head to our last stop at 2D Moto, in Saintes and just as we arrive it starts to throw it down with rain… great. We are due to meet some more french girls here and a journalist who interviews Celine, (she is a former professional bike racer), about the WRWR relay. The new french women who come to greet us then take us to our accommodation. The bikes are going to be parked in the staff car park at Saintes prison, where one of the girls is a prison officer. It is very secure, of course, and the bikes are under shelter which is good. However, our accommodaton for the night is just stunning… we are staying in the hostel at the Abbaye Aux Dames… yep our rooms are former cells.. wow!!!
And the building itself is beautiful… also very serene
We all meet up later and have a great evening meal and very good company too.