Day 5 Narbonne to Carcassonne (78km) and Day 6 in Carcassonne
Sunny and hot. Very strong gale force head wind making progress hard work
Our hotel is on our road out of town, so setting off route finding is very easy.
Not too far down the road and the clonking, sounding suspiciously like the hub gear returns. We stop and investigate what looks to be a rather slack cable. After a bit of fiddling and adjusting we lift up the rear of trike and test spin the wheel in all three hub gear positions – seems to be changing OK, so we return it to middle gear, which we use nearly all the time being a direct one-to-one ratio and the most efficient.
A few more kms and the noise continues. Sheila says that it is from the chainring mech so we pull over out of the traffic onto the white paint in the middle of the junction we are just passing. Winding the chain slowly backwards reveals TP5: a broken link rivet with the chain about to break. This is the first time we have ever had a broken chain in many 1000kms of touring and Audaxing. Remove the link and get out Sram quick link carried for such a failure. Lots and lots of fiddling while failing to get the quick link to close. I have joined and separated chains dozens of times with Sram links before so why won’t this one work? If I hadn’t taken the link out of the box myself I would think that we were trying to join an 8-speed chain with a 9-speed link. Eventually give up and get out the piece of spare chain and remove two links and set about joining the chain again with these. All of this is being done lying down on the road because the trike is very low and John’s knee is still too sore to kneel. At this point we soon realise that the small lightweight emergency chain tool we have carried on tour for years but never used is about as much use as a cheap Christmas cracker toy. Lots of messing around leads to a link being pushed right out of the sideplate. Period to regain composure, then start all over again. Finally manage to join the chain, but with two stiff links that are very hard to eliminate. Chain tool has no plate to allow them to be backed-off. (Moral of this tale - never take an untried component on an important event or tour and likewise never take an untested tool.)
Some considerable time later we continue. The headwind is as fierce as before.
The good news is that the scenery is great as we roll along through easy terrain with vineyards flanked on either side by low rolling hills. We pass by the road to the Fontfroide Abbey, but no time to detour there today as we have only come about 10kms so far! Apart from the wind all goes well as we continue to reach Lagrasse. The town is in full Fathers’ day Sunday lunch and broccante mode as we come along the main street with restaurants and broccante stalls all jumbled together. We stop at a roadside bench for our picnic lunch. Afterwards John wanders down into the old town to look at the ancient covered market building and the Abbey across the river.
Departure is across the river and then we turn to follow the Alsou gorge with its large sweeping cirques.
Previously we have used the D3 road to get to Carcassonne, but we have noted from Google streetview that this is now a much improved, wider and busier road so Sheila has plotted a small lanes alternative. This proves to be more of a challenge than we require after being delayed and grafting into the headwind all day. But it is great scrubby scenery as we climb across the end of the Montagne Alaric through the heat and hairpin bends to 450m. Finally we plunge down the other side and pass a small lake. At this point Sheila announces we now have to carry out a repeat performance and climb the next hill to much the same height before finally being on the run down to the road into Carcassonne.
The GPS brings us accurately to our B&B in a small terrace of old houses nestling under the medieval walls of la Cité. We are greeted by our hosts – Philippe and Isabelle. A friendly and charming couple. We park the trike in a garage they have borrowed for us in the next street and ask if we would like to come through to the garden for cold drinks – Yes please, SdM&C* will be great. (*Actually Figou for Sheila on this occasion). The house is quaint and turned out in a very arty manner.
Later after S& no W (because Isabelle offers to put our kit through her washing machine) we climb the steps into la Cité for a wander around before dinner in one of the restaurants recommended by our hosts. Medieval Carcassonne may now be more restoration “Disney” than reality but it is a great stage set nonetheless. We return and on the way take a couple of photos of ourselves against the turreted medieval city backdrop in the softening late evening sun.
Reflect that 5 TPs (well 4 really as Sheila does not wish to be classified as a ‘technical problem’) in 5 days is more than we have had in all of our last 5 tours added together. True, none have been serious nor have upset our holiday, but it would be good to have a few trouble free days
Day 6 Carcassonne (0km)
Pre tour and Travel south
Day 1 Roquemaure (76km)
Day 2 Anduze (84km)
Day 3 Aniane (73km)
Day 4 Narbonne (105km)
Day 5 Carcassonne (78km)
Day 6 Carcassonne (0km)
Day 7 Castres (73km)
Day 8 Cordes sur Ciel (68km)
Day 9 Cahor (88km)
Day 10 Salviac (51km)
Day 11 Salviac Rally (28km)
Day 12 Salviac Rally (68km)
Day 13 Vers (50km)
Day 14 Villefranche de Rouergue (65km)
Day 15 Villefranche de Panat (105km)
Day 16 St Chély du Tarn (105km)
Day 17 St Chély du Tarn (0km)
Day 18 Chamborigaud (81km)
Day 19 Vallon Pont d’Arc (65km)
Day 20 Vaison la Romaine (88km)
Day 21 Sault (72km)
Mont Ventoux (51km & 1912m)