Day 9 – Bourbon-Lancy to Montceau-les-Mines

After a long day in the saddle yesterday, today was going to be a relatively short day at just 58 miles but the weather forecast was not looking good.

We left Bourbon-Lancy shortly after 09:00 as is becoming quite usual on this trip and after a short ride along country lanes we picked a cycle path which we followed for several miles.  We crossed the Loire for the penultimate time stopping to take photo’s of the grasses in the river and then picked up the Canal Natural a La Loire which we followed for most of the day.

We stopped to watch a leisure boat go down one of the locks on the canal and then shortly afterwards the rain started. At Digoin we crossed yet another canal viaduct and bid farewell to the Loire which was flowing underneath the viaduct. We had been following this river since leaving Saint-Nazaire over a week ago and it had become our friend and companion as we made our way across France.

We were fortunate that Lou had located a restaurant around mid point which was just a few yards off of the trail and we stopped for a well deserved lunch break.  It was somewhat challenging to place our orders at the counter using our very limited French vocabulary but between us we managed to end up with what we wanted and it was just nice to take shelter from the rain for 45 minutes or so.

We set off for the second half of today’s ride, leaving the canal and headed toward some rolling hills.  By now it was really miserable with the rain and whilst the others stopped in a small town I decided to carry on as I was getting cold when we stopped moving.  I rode the last 15-20 miles to the hotel by myself in really unpleasant riding conditions arriving shortly after 16:00 having been caught by the others on a short sharp climb as we approached the town of Montceau-les-Mines.

Tonight we had dinner at the hotel and what’s left of the evening will be spent trying to dry my bags in preparation for tomorrow’s ride.