Cycling week has come and we have a new crew of guests with new personalities and not only a passion for food and wine but also cycling. I am surprised and relieved to hear that many of the women have not been training like mad, though looking at their bodies I can tell they are well used and cared for. It is inspiring to meet so many women in their 40´s and 50´s who are so strong and fit and still indulge in good food and wine. In our first few days this group has drank and ate way more than the first!
I did not get much practice, only biking around town a few times on my old raleigh of England 5 speed, Bluebell, and was worried if I could make this happen. But the first bike I hopped on here was a new mountain bike and it flew like the wind compared to my old Bluebell. Then I was a really lucky duck and on our first day of riding with the group I got to ride one of the the road bikes. At first I felt rather unbalanced and scared on thid thin tired, ultralight bike with brakes on the horns (which I am not used to), but after two days of riding over 70 kms through the foothills of the black mountains with some serious head and side winds I fell in love with the road bike. It is fast and nimble and even on the most (seemingly) impossible hill putting it into low gear and cycling up slowly is totally doable! I am so tempted to sell bluebell and my car Ixchel (I really enjoy naming my vehicles) when I get home and get myself a cross cycle bike, and just bike everywhere!! I have always enjoyed cycling but not until riding this slick machine did I understand how people could bike everywhere all the time.
Travelling by bike is a wonderful way to see the land here. We mainly stick to the small roads that wind around the vineyards and poppy fields and though often we are hustling along trying to keep up with our superstar bike leaders, kevin and Johnny. It is still magical and motivating to look out onto the land, feel the wind on your face and the sun on your body. And of course coming to the end of a ride and finding an amazing meal waiting is so fantastic.
We have been to some really superb restaurants and vineyards for lunches this week. On our first day we went to an excellent restaurant called auberge cote jardin and had the most mouth watering and beautiful five course lunch. My favourite courses were the second and last, an asparagus mousse with fried bacon and asparagus spears in a carbonara cream sauce and a little house of cards looking delight made of starwberries, whipping cream, fruit gelato and thin crisp cookies, yum! My all time favourite lunch though is definitely Aurberge de l’ecole where Bridgette makes the most divine cassoulet in the world!