Thurs 13th June.
The last pass and back to the flat.
I camped on the hill, on the way up to the Col de Chioula. I was used to experiencing dew on my tent that I’d try to flick off before packing away, but this was something else. The tent was drenched and it hadn’t rained. I thought it was maybe the altitude as I was higher up, it was logical. I hung the tent on a sign in the hope it would dry up.
There was still more left to the pass then I thought, but after a few more hairpins and another hill, I’d made it to the top. It was flat and looked like there were a few valleys around, but there wasn’t much to the view.
I took some photos and got ready to go when some motorcyclist appeared. He asked me to take his picture with him, the bike and the sign for the pass. I agreed, although I immediately thought, why was this worthy of a picture? He’d driven up there on a motorbike, there was no achievement in that.
He was impressed with my set-up and what I was doing, but not too willing to share tales of woe and the difficulty of climbing hills on a motorbike, I got going.
Coming over that last pass really signified the end of the Pyrenees in the landscape and now everything looked much tamer and domestic. Almost instantly there were less mountains and practically no real descents. I came across another Col on the way down and after that there was some hills to enjoy going down.
The countryside grew flatter as I expected. I passed through a gorgeous forest which came out of the blue, then went through an old arch and round a corner and it was clear that I was in a new region, ver different region of France.
I was still high up and on the road where I had stopped overlooked a small town in the distance in a gap through the trees. The place I was heading for was called Puivert and after that I was heading for a tiny village outside of Limoux, where I had a host for the night.
I had my final descent from the Pyrenees, dropped into Puivert and kept on. Shortly after this, something strange happened, there was a little ascend after Puivert, I started mildly annoyed as I thought I was leaving the hills, but a while into it, I couldn’t do it. I had nothing left and found it physically exhausting to climb. Maybe I hadn’t eaten right? I took a break and ate, carried on again and still couldn’t really establish any rhythm, due to a total burnout.
I stopped again, not knowing what to do, the thought of cycling uphill felt impossible and I didn’t know how long it’d be for. It started to rain, so I made myself go, luckily I was at the top of the hill and had a long, windy descent ahead.
The rain kept up, but it didn’t matter, as I had made it to my hosts, I found where I thought it was (instructions were quite vague) and I looked around. I couldn’t make out which of the few houses in the village was theirs.
A lady approached me and asked if she could help. I said I was looking for Benoît. She had been expecting me. She let me into Benoît’s home that was next to hers. She said to make myself comfortable and that he would be back around four.
Slightly wet, I finally had a home to keep me warm and a bed for the night.