I awoke to find my tent more than a little damp from condensation. Started packing straight after the usual teeth brushing as I knew Pablo wanted to crack on and we wanted to reach Pontivy, if possible, which was a whopping 90km or so (further than I’d ever really cycled before – even without panniers). It’s funny how reassuring just brushing your teeth in the morning is! Perhaps it’s because when everything in your day is uncertain you can be sure that at the beginning and end of each day there’s always time to brush your teeth :-). I found I began to quite enjoy washing the dishes too!
I was feeling slightly nervous again since I knew Pablo had to reach Pontivy and I wasn’t quite sure how my legs would hold up but was keeping my fingers crossed. We made good progress all day. I failed to stock up properly for lunch so it was mainly snack bars that I had that day….possibly the day when I most needed some really good nutrition but I learned my lesson! You should always stock up the day before for lunch and supper the following day or two if possible. The velodysee does pass through some villages but they take you off the route and if you are continuing on then you really need a good picnic.
Earlier in the day Pablo had to return to the camping to retrieve his bag (10km back) and so I continued on hoping to keep to the correct path. At a split in the route I had 2 choices. I knew I needed to be heading towards Nantes but felt I needed to check. I asked 2 nice old men in a garden and one went to get his map (this made me a little worried, he obviously was unsure!) They told me I had gone the wrong way and should take the other path. So, back up the hill I went and got to the junction again. I still felt I should follow the Nantes path and so I waited there (hoping Pablo would appear!) but then an older cyclist passed by and I asked him if he could help. He had a really good map – details of this in the ‘WHAT YOU DEFINITELY NEED’ section at the end of the blog! I was going the correct way towards Nantes and so I carried on. I would see this nice chap later on in the evening at the camping.
We passed through some very quaint little places between Carhaix and Pontivy. One little hamlet where they had yarn bombed the trees and even a bike. Quite incredible.
After some time we reached a place called Mur de Bretagne (the wall of Brittany). Our cycle path was blocked and so we had to consult a map on a board nearby and decided the only way was to go up…UP!….and over to the main road then go down again to rejoin the path.
We were pleased we did this since the cyclist, who helped me find the correct path earlier, later told us that he had ignored the sign and gone on through, following the route. He had some really horrible terrain and had to lift his bike several times. Despite the MASSIVE hill we had made the right decision!
We continued on and eventually reached a place called Huelgoet. Huelgoet was where I could bale out if I needed to since there was a camping nearby. I was really torn. Really, really tired but also unsure if I was ready to go it alone yet. The GPS was still perplexing me a bit and so I decided to go the extra 23km to Pontivy with Pablo. I thought of it as 4 trips to the garden centre in Woodborough (which is 5km from my house!) I did this a lot, gauging how far somewhere was in terms of my local rides back home in the Vale of Pewsey. The canals were reminding me a bit of our canals in Wiltshire too.
We met some lovely people on Day 2. Everyone I asked was so happy to help. That evening we found the municipal camping in Pontivy. Not as swish as the Carhaix one but perfectly adequate. We sat with other cyclists and campers and ate our supper. I had been to Super U with Pablo and so had stocked up really well for the next couple of days. Favourite and most regular meals would include tuna (I recently began eating fish again) and avocado. Despite having met some brilliant people and having eaten really well I began feeling incredibly homesick. It may have been that I was very tired after only recently having finishing work but I missed my friends back home and the way I can just pop round and see them. It was strange since I don’t really suffer from bouts of homesickness often. The lack of food through the day probably didn’t help my mental state so it’s really important to eat properly on long journeys like this. I felt really proud of my days achievement though and nodded off pretty quickly.