3pm and 39C. The tarmac bubbled in front of my wheel. Tiny goblets of glistening black liquid. The hill was short, maybe 500m, but felt double, treble, quadruple the length. My head is pounding, Cozy Powell must be inside. A dragonfly darts past. I reach for the water bottle and its tepid contents. This water quenches no thirst. A small cluster of trees cast their shadow long over the road. Even this ever-so brief respite feels like heaven. At the top of the hill a junction. Turn left and speed up. My body temp starts to lower. The headache recede. The scenery rushes past. Trees. Sunflowers. Fields. Combine Harvester at work. At the bottom a choice – left and back up the hill. Right and back to the campsite. Glance at watch – I’ve been out for 40 minutes.
I turn right.
Whilst it was hot when I left my cycling legs in the Welsh Capital, it was far, far hotter in the Dordogne. I managed 3 rides in 13 days, favouring the kayak and river swimming over opportunities to straddle the bike. Now that’s a first.
I highly recommend the Dordogne for a holiday. Just pick your moments to ride. Image above: I chose that river over that road (River Dordogne photographed from the ramparts of Chateau Castelnaud).