You knows I loves it up there dontcha? and I goes up there on me road bike and me mountainbike? Well last week I went up there no less than four times (2*VTT, 2*Road). I dunno what it is about the place, I just love it there. The magical mystical Monts de Blond have cast a spell over me such that yesterday I set off for a ride and just ended up there, by magic!
It was a lovely sunny afternoon. I set of with nowhere in mind really. Haven’t been up by Brigueuil for ages. It’s nice there. So when Carla asked me where I was headed that’s where I told her.
Dropped down through St Junien, up past the cheeky “Muse de Corot”, then on towards Brigueuil. The road climbs steadily kilometer after kilometer. I’m in no rush, and as I amble along, my mind drifts. This was one of the first roads I ever rode in the area. I remember riding it with some lads from AS St-Junien. I don’t remember who they were, I was on holiday then, but I probably know them quite well now. I pass the road crossing point from the Departmentals a couple of weeks back, then the St Junien – St Junien VTT race. Into Brigueuil village, I remember we looked at a house here, once……..
I take the turn for St Christophe for no reason whatsoever. The Spring flowers along the side of the road are fabulous. The countryside looks so green and lush. I’m still gaining height. At St Christophe I take the Nouic road. Been there once before. As I drift along aimlessly on the deserted roads it occurs to me that drifting along aimlessly isn’t such a bad thing.
Still climbing towards the ridge up ahead. At the ridge there’s a road that looks as though it runs along it. I turn right. A few kilometers further on there’s a view point with views all the way back past St Junien to the South, and Bellac to the North. A road sign tells me I’m headed towards Salomon. I know where I am now. I cross the GR Mandragore trail. Yes, the very same one where I crashed last year in the VTT Rando Marathon en route to the Monts de Blond!
Just past Salomon I hit the main Bellac – St Junien road. I turn left for Mortemart. The super smooth road dives down through the trees on the North side of the hills. I’m topped out spinning. Into the old town of Mortemart, then right off the main road towards Blond. I’m now on the dead straight roller-coaster that runs along the back of the Monts de Blond. There’s old paint on the road from the 2007 “Tour du Limousin” pro’ bike race. I remember spending a happy afternoon watching that with Carla.
At Blond I turn right for Cieux. It’s a long climb back up over the Monts, not steep, just long. As I climb I pass other landmarks that remind me of races or rides that I’ve done. I’ve been in France full-time for two years now. That’s a lot of riding.
Along the top there are pear trees in full blossom. The bright pink against the blue sky and verdant green of the hills is beautiful. The road turns downhill now. Some fast sweeping bends with a vista over the sparkling lakes near Cieux. I glance at my watch. The spell is broken. I have two and a half hours on the clock, I told Carla I’d be three. Time to up the pace for home.
Cieux to Javerdat is a tough road. It’s a ‘rural’ surface with some tough ramps. I keep it in the big ring and power up them. My legs sting. Through Javerdat where the road is blocked by the bread van and a couple of dogs waiting for their owner who’s buying bread. I slow down a moment. The next section is fast. It’d be great if a moped would come along now so that I could try and get it’s wheel, but nothing.
Into St Junien, the traffic quite heavy as I race down through the town. I can see a cyclist ahead. He’s moving quite quick. He gets held up at the lights. It’s James from the ROCC. We exchange greetings. He tells me “J’ai été dans les Monts de Blond aujourd’hui. Il est très beau là-bas”. I agree 😉