Day 3: Hendaye to Montory

Thursday June 9, 2011, 143 km (89 miles) – Total so far: 309 km (192 miles)

A standard French hotel breakfast consists of a croissant, a section of baguette and a selection of jams. I guess this is fine for most people, but when you’ve got a full day of cycling ahead of you it seems a bit light. Today’s hotel also offered some cereal which had to be dispensed from a plastic tower device to ensure that it wasn’t fresh and went well with the UHT milk. Once on the road we stopped at the earliest opportunity to top up with bananas and cereal bars.

The roads in France have become a little busier since the Cyclo Club Béarnais first came up with the route of the Raid back in the 1950s so we chose to ride some of today’s route on the smaller roads running parallel to those on the official route. I suspect they were a bit hillier and a minor map reading error led us up a very attractive valley that (had we not realised our mistake) would have sent us to an altitude of 1,000 meters and a dead end.

While unpacking his bag this evening I noticed that Jon’s luggage contained several plastic bags stuffed tightly with white powder which looked exactly like cocaine. They actually contained energy drink. Not the sort of thing I’d have risked taking through international airport security. Brave man.

We followed the less busy and far more picturesque side of the river

We followed the less busy and far more picturesque side of the river

Flesh of Pyrénéen pasture beasts was to become the mainstay of most of our menus. We strongly suspect today's lunch was horse-meat

Flesh of Pyrénéen pasture beasts was to become the mainstay of most of our menus. We strongly suspect today’s lunch was horse meat

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Col d'Osquich. An Osquich is an indigenous Pyreneen bird. It's a bit like an ostrich with a much shorter neck. We couldn't see any

Col d’Osquich. An Osquich is an indigenous Pyreneen bird. It’s a bit like an ostrich with a much shorter neck. We couldn’t see any

biggest Col of the day

biggest Col of the day

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