Wednesday, 14 May 2014
Tuesday 13th May - Carcassonne to Mirepeisset - The Rough with the Flat!
The canal route out of Carcassonne was much as the guide books had suggested; pretty good surfacing (in the relative context) for the first 15km then 'chemin as you find it'. It was a great day's riding on reflection but, some of the hardest going we've yet experienced through seemingly level terrain. When we stopped for lunch at a lock, we found that in the 'snack-bag' on the trailer, vibrations on the trail had been such that the lid had come off the salt pot and every grain had been thrown out of the holes.
That the Canal du Midi is beautiful there is no doubt, that it is a promotable cycle route there is a little more doubt, that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site is in no dispute - that UNESCO is headquartered in France is no coincidence?!
We left the canal about two-thirds through the day, in part because our obvious camping option was off route but also due to the atrocious surfacing and the need to concentrate entirely on the approaching metres of terrain.
It turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as the canal can fix you in a very narrow visual corridor; the 'escape' into the countryside was a real additional treat.