(En raison de l’absence totale de francophones pour m’accompagner lors de ce Sub24, ce rapport de sortie sera rédigé entièrement en anglais. Ça vous apprendra et en plus ça vous fera travailler votre anglais.)
So, welcome to the very first Sub24 Montpellier trip report… in English! Yes, here I was at the meeting point in Jacou when I saw Louise. I know Louise, she’s the nice English wine lady. Good. Oh and this Julia appears to have arrived too. For some reason when she’d emailed me about coming to the trip, I’d thought she was Spanish. She isn’t. She’s Canadian. Then arrived the three buddies Paul, Tommy and Michele, from Canada, England and Australia respectively. Yoohoo, that means no speaking French! Fuck French (pardon my French)!
The early April weather was a dream, about 23/24°C, light breeze (mostly in our backs) and beautiful sunshine. The going was good as we headed into garrigue-land and towards the Pic-St-Loup.
Upon arrival in St-Matthieu-de-Tréviers, we took a breather by a small square on the main road. There were important jobs to be done: fill our bottles in the public fountain, check if Tottenham were losing (they weren’t, which was depressing), and decide how drunk we wanted to get later. Three of us decided that we would partake in wine drinking later, so the one bottle I had brought with me was deemed insufficient. Thankfully, there was a fruit and veg stand next to us (I can sense our Australian and Canadian readers getting increasingly confused here). Yes, being in the heart of one of the best wine producing regions in France, they had a lovely selection of local wines and we had the English wine lady to help us pick. We settled for this one:
Delicious, as it would turn out. Louise, after making such a valuable contribution, then left the group to cycle back to Montpellier because, unlike the rest of us, she has sense. We pushed on into the hills. The roads that followed were pretty stunning but had to be earned with blood, sweat and tears. Mainly sweat to be fair. That was roughly the moment when we realised that Michele’s gears were spectacularly inadequate. Thankfully her determination was the exact opposite of inadequate throughout. Hero.
We passed the charming village of Notre-Dame-de-Londres and I couldn’t resist taking the group into the tiny streets that lead to the charming church square. I love that place.
Thanks to further determination and Haribo sweets, we kept on going up and down until the final glorious downhill taking us to the river Hérault, our camping spot. Paul and Tommy decided they were real men so jumped in the very cold water. And again. And again. I informed them that unless they did it one final time, they still weren’t actually real men. So they did. Men are so stupid.
We then settled down and ate. A lot. Quickly. We checked the Chelsea score, realised they had won, and everyone was delighted about that so we drank some wine .
We were just starting to feel like we could do with a little more wine (we had cycled, don’t judge us) when Louise called to inform us that she was around the corner with more wine and food. Finding the group actually quite friendly, she’d decided to take the car and meet us for further rejoicing. The evening was lovely around the fire in this magical setting.
We all went to bed. Some of us in tents. Others not.
We woke up, revived the fire and had the best coffee in the world (any coffee you drink after sleeping in nature is the best coffee in the world).
We set off again for a beautiful and ever more challenging loop. Especially when my memory of the route didn’t include the hardest climb of the whole week-end. Instead I warned them a « slightly ondulating » section was coming up. Some ondulation. Michele may or may not forgive me one day. Thankfully by then our energy had been revived by a glorious coffee break in Causse-de-la-Selle.
Also, the sheer beauty of the roads we were riding made all the physical exertions worth it. I so love this region!
After a lunch break in St-Martin-de-Londres where a Sunday market happened to provide Paëlla portions for a cool 5€, it was back to the road we had come on the day before and back to Montpellier.
A fabulous weekend that once again proves that Sub24 seems to automatically attract the right kind of people. Thanks to all and see you probably in May some time for the next outing. Where you may have to speak some French this time. Merde.