If You Can’t Take the Heat Get Out of the Saddle!

Bouillon in the Ardennes valley

Damn it’s hot! I know we Brits love to moan incessantly about the weather and are more used to sunny spells followed by showers but this is serious. What I wouldn’t give for some rain right now!! Strangely the weather was not on our list of concerns prior to leaving but it has quickly taken over the number one spot. Cycling in 40 degree heat with a 40kg bike is not something Andy or I are accustomed to (nor could we train for in the UK). The solution is to take a long siesta but this relies on getting an early start, cycling through the relative cool of the morning and then putting more miles in later in the day. Damn its hot! What will the deserts of Asia be like!?!

Cheese sandwiches. I am actually glad I can’t remember how many cheese sandwiches we have had (or perhaps just can’t count that high), breakfast, lunch and dinner it is the universal meal! Camembert and brie will keep in the pannier for a day or so and goes really runny so you can literally spread it on. If you really want to go to town you can use avocado instead of butter and put tomatoes on top of the cheese (we like to call this the ‘royale with cheese’!).

As we headed east through France towards Luxembourg the rolling hills became a bit tougher. We could feel our bodies adapting to the riding day after day and as we faced bigger climbs our legs continued to gain strength. A week after setting off we found ourselves in the stunning Ardennes region and after some tough climbs (for us) we began to enjoy some fantastic downhill stretches. Coming down into the town of Nouzonville which straddles La Meuse river was the best descent we had enjoyed and when we got to the bottom grinning ear to ear like idiots Andy realised he had set the speed record at over 40mph (subsequently this has been broken). Little did we know what was waiting for us around a few hills and corners.

A couple of hours later we found ourselves flying down through mile after mile of the Ardenne forest into Boullion in Belgium. This was what I was looking for, it was an incredible feeling that will stay with me for a long time. I felt like a Tour de France racer screaming down through that forest littered with hairpins, almost horizontal leaning into the bends. We pondered over lunch if the rest of the trip would be this good….

4 Responses to “If You Can’t Take the Heat Get Out of the Saddle!”

  1. Great work guys – sounds like you’re having a lot of fun.
    Just remember that you have to ride up the hills after you zoom down them at some stage.

    • Matt says:

      Wise word indeed Mark! We found this out in the Austrian alps but as hard as the climbs were the pain was forgotten in seconds as we reached upwards of 50mph!
      Thanks for the support.

  2. I’m quite sure the rest of the trip will be just as much fun! (Not really)

    • Matt says:

      Thanks for the word of encouragement Al!! It has been amazing already and the adventure as you know better than us, is likely to begin in Asia. Hope you are able to keep track of the rest of our trip and words of ‘encouragement’ are always welcome!! :-)

Leave a Reply