The end of another week and, while I said I only had the perception we hadn’t achieved as much as we would have liked in last week’s blog, this week I can say it with absolute confidence! While the title of the blog may also suggest that we have been physically active even that isn’t true but all will be revealed further down!
I posted last week’s blog early as we were hosting a Burn’s Night dinner in Priory for some of our neighbours. I think the evening was a huge success and among our 6 guests there was only one genuine haggis virgin who really enjoyed the, very traditional, Burn’s Night menu. If time of going to bed is any indication of success then this one was fantastically successful. We had decided to have Scottish aperitifs at 8 pm and sit down about 8.30. We sat down about 9 in the end, no issue there, but didn’t finish the meal until shortly after midnight and our first guests didn’t leave until after 2 am.
We hope this was an indication of how much they were enjoying the evening, and it was really great fun although tiring, at least for me, concentrating on trying to get my French right and understand all that was being said. Our last guests however, didn’t leave us until about 6.30 am as the conversation continued, as too the single malt. Needless to say we didn’t get a lot achieved on Monday, or Tuesday for that matter as we recovered and cleaned up!!
Unfortunately Monday was by far the best day of the week for weather and about the only one when we could have been outside without getting soaked – and we certainly could have done with the fresh air!!
While we have managed to achieve a few, small, things much of the remainder of the week has been spent inside on the routine stuff so no exciting photos to show. However, last year I started to use my blog to outline some of the activities that you can do during your stay with us at Kergudon and detailed the amazing fly fishing opportunities here – indeed Philippe who we recommend as a fly fishing guide has produced a new video which you can see on our Things to Do page.
This week I thought that it would be worth outlining another of the activities that bring people to the Monts D’Arrée – cycling.
This region is hugely popular with club and professional cyclists who make the most of the empty, well maintained roads with just enough undulation to make them seriously challenging and great training!
Last year we had a guest who came with his family from another gîte near Mûr-de-Bretagne which, by even the shortest route is 95 kms (approx. 60 miles) away. His family arrived by car and he came an hour or so later on his bike. The family lived in Cambridgeshire, on the flatter fen side, so while he was a very experienced cyclist he wasn’t so used to the hills. While he was with us he got quite used to the changes in elevation as he went for a couple of long cycle rides with one of our close neighbours who is a SERIOUS cyclist and may be persuaded to guide (15,807 kms (9,822 miles) cycled in 2015 over 637 hours on 213 days during which his elevation totalled 217,624 metres which equates to 24 times up Everest – or so his data readout said!)
The French too are mad-keen cyclists and there is so much more to it than just ‘Le Tour’. Sadly (for us) Le Tour changes its course each year and no longer follows the original route which was used for many years around the circumference of France one year clockwise, the next anti-clockwise which meant that every year the cyclists passed close to Saint Cadou en-route to or from Brest. This year the Grand Départ leaves from Mont St.Michel on the Brittany / Normandy border so about 2½ hours from us and doesn’t come any closer – another year …
While ‘Le Tour’ doesn’t pass near us every year there are a number of elite and amateur races which do.
The closest in format to Le Tour is the Tour de Bretagne held in late April / Early May, 25 Apr – 01 May this year which will be the 50th running of the event. The race totals 1,173 kms (729 miles) over 7 stages and is used to showcase some of the up and coming under 23s who race with more established elite racers.
The annual Grand Prix de Plouay is a 4 day festival of cycling in and around the village of Plouay held in the last weekend of August (28 – 31 Aug 2016). It centres on a very technically demanding, and hilly, 229 km men’s race although there is now a 114 km women’s race held the day before. The festival also has BMX events and various mass participation and amateur races.
For those who prefer their cycling ‘dirtier’ the Tro-Bro-Leon, a 1-day, 204 km (127 mile) race is held in April on un-paved roads forming a circuit north of Brest but passing very close to Landerneau.
One of the largest events is the Paris – Brest – Paris held every 4 years. Not technically a race (although there are prizes for the winners(!)) it was run in August last year so sadly not again until 2019. This is a serious event and open to amateur cyclists which passes through our nearest town of Sizun on the way to and from Brest. Riders have a time limit in which to complete the 1,200 km (746 mile) course which is either 80 or 90 hours depending on category. Regardless, no rider can receive any form of external support so they have to buy provisions en route and sleep as and when they want. Hard core stuff.
With all of these options there is great choice for serious cyclists, and even for those who enjoy a more sedate ride but can appreciate the effort of the pros, to spectate, potentially participate, but certainly to train and exercise and all easily accessible from Kergudon.
For those who have serious bikes and would like to bring them with them, we can keep them safely under lock and key and for those who would rather have a more leisurely activity we have 6 mountain bikes available for guests to use free of charge – and can even provide a picnic for you.