Le Pont Chretien Cabanet to Razes, 53.1 miles 19/06/04

19/06/2004 (Saturday ?)
Got up to rain showers today. A lot cooler, left at 08.00 took the N2020 out of St. Martin, this road is amazing.
A new motorway has been built next to it, I took a chance that the heavier traffic would use the motorway giving me a 'main road day' but without lorries etc.
Totally wrong!!
No traffic uses this road at all.
This is the worlds biggest cycle path.
A main road, with a perfect surface, running for miles south into Limoges. I saw one lorry all day, An small ancient petrol tanker.
From St.Martin to Dognon, perhaps 40 cars. A Ghost Road!! The towns along it are ghost towns too. Faded signs, closed shops, abandoned petrol stations, tumbledown buildings. A few houses mixed in along the way that are well looked after, obviously not dependant on trade from the passing traffic.
I began on this road in high spirits, what a find!
Due south, perfect surface, and all mine!
But as the day progressed the desolation here began to affect me. Hundreds of empty houses, overgrown and neglected. Now and again a perfect garden, painted gates and shutters open, but always surrounded by dereliction. Several scrapyards with barking dogs. The few people that I see are just staring blankly at me, puts me on edge, a little nervous.
All the while the main A20 was a continuous rumble in the background, sometimes only 30 yards away and close enough to read the road signs. LIMOGES 80km, LIMOGES 72km, etc. Things got graduallly worse until the junction with the N145. Only the quality of the road surface and the quietness of the traffic persuaded me to stay with it. After the N145, things got better and better until I was riding on the same quiet road through hills and fields, completely alone. Marvelous! Forests and meadows, wildlife and farms. South of Bessines sur Gartemps this is a beautiful road. Have started to climb into some large hills now, forests all round, the climbs seem to go on forever. A lot cooler today - maybe below 20c am thankful for that. Slower going in the hills though.

53.18 miles in 5 hours 20 mins riding time. Lots of pushing today!
Set a new speed record, 31 mph, actually broke the roads speed limit (50km/ph) Good job I was on my own, Ha!
Found a site 4km south of Razes opposite the turn for Foray, is signposted for miles. Huge pine trees, roots everywhere poking through the moss, on a hillside slope. A very welcome bar, with the worlds slowest barmaid, took 7 attempts to add up 1/2 a lager and a nights camping, maybe it had been a long day!
The whole place looks a little spooky, really heavy duty log cabin, logs 2 or more feet thick, a small, scruffy, but very welcoming bar (your elbows stick when you lean on it! haha) Huge TV showing MTV in the corner, roof about 7' high, (just enough), and a few tables just as sticky as the bar and the carpets.
I like this place, strange, but I do. Could be a set straight from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". The bamboo shoots sticking up through the floor of the tent are a bit much though, I'm praying the beer and the music festival tonight help me to ignore them. Should be an interesting night, provided its not the same barmaid.
Route today - into St Martin, find the N2020 and follow it!
Only problem being, its called the N920 when you get there.
Its also called the D220, the D1 the N20, oh, and just to confuse the issue further, most of the road number signs have black gaffer tape masking them, maybe someone wants to keep this road quiet!



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