We had a decision to make. Stay an extra day in Hossegor to see the final of the surf contest in what people were saying swell of the decade and then make up extra miles in the next couple days of riding, or leave on Sunday and enjoy the pace we had been keeping. It was really a no-brainer for us so we opted to stay for another night.
On the surface this may seem like a simple question, but when you think about it a little more the reality of the situation began to take shape:
- we are staying at a surf hostel
- every fridge in the house is filled with beer
- everyone in the house is between 20-30 years old
- there is always a crazy after party for the winner of the surf contest
- drinking to much
- waking up early hangover
- then having to ride 125 km the next day to make get back on track
When you are 22 years old you can't pass up these opportunities so none of the above really had any impact in the decision making process.
My alarm was set for 7:45am ensuring that I would be up for the first call if the contest would be running Sunday morning. It was a go! Throw on some clothes, down a cup of coffee (thank you Taryn for the coffee maker!), engulf some croissants and cereal, hop on my bike and ride down the street with Ryan to the contest.
Kolohe, Kelly, Medina, and Kerr lost, making the final of the contest John-John Florence vs Jadson Andre. Conditions were offshore winds, swell at 10-15 ft at 15 seconds, rising tide, and perfect sandbars up and down the beach. The announcers kept repeating that this years contest will go down in history as one of the best. With his barrel riding mastery, JJF was crowned champion of the 2014 Quicksilver Pro France.
It was party time. With a filling meal of pasta in our bellies we were ready for whatever the night has to throw at us. Having heard that Mick Fanning threw down $10,000 at the Cafe du París the previous night, we kicked off the the night there. Quickly had a beer and left to meet up with everyone in downtown Hossegor. Some more beer, a few dance moves, and variety of electronic-80's-90's-hip-hop music and we headed back to the Shredmill. Our last night in Hossegor was complete. Our stay a success.
Despite the hangover we were up at 7:30, packed by 8, and had our last breakfast with the Shredmill crew. Everyone though we were fucking nuts to be biking that early/far after the night we had just had. We knew what we had signed up for and said our goodbyes and hit the road.
We left the with the genius idea of riding 110 miles (177 km) to Bordeaux. About 110 km's into the trip, at this point you can probably guess what happened, it once again started to rain. With both of our cell phones and our GPS out of battery, and no sun to charge them with our Goal Zero Solar Charger, our options were limited. So once again our route changed.
Dreading having to set up our Solo Shelters in the rain yet again we road another 25 km's until we stumbled across a hostel/hotel/pension in the middle of nowhere. It looked like something straight out of a Quentin Tarantino movie. Pink walls, creaky porches, and no one around for miles. Being the first and only hostel we saw in the past 2 hours, we just had to say "well shit," staying at this place was better than setting up camp in the rain. Bed bugs or not we had a roof.
To our surprise the shower was warm, the sheets were clean, dinner and breakfast were included in the price for the room, and as far as we could tell the people who ran the place seemed very friendly. Just goes to show you can't judge a hotel by the decor and sketchy roads that lead up to it...
Our heads hit the pillows by 8:30pm. Absolutely drained from the days ride we slept for ten hours all in an effort to do it all again the next day.
At this point we had both decided that We were going to forgo Bordeaux on this trip in lieu of sticking to the coast to make up miles. We found our trusty bike path of the Velocity and stuck to it. With a pit stop at the worlds largest sand dune in Pilat Plage, we made it to Arcachon where we needed to take a ferry that we just missed, so we had to wait a few more hours
This is where things get interesting, and the beauty of traveling shows it's face again.
Sipping on a couple espressos killing time before the ferry Ryan gets a phone call from our new friend Adel who we had met at the market in Biarritz. He had a friend in Bordeaux that said would host us for a night. Adel said that it was our loss if we didn't go visit his friend who lives in downtown Bordeaux, and also that he owns and operates a vineyard, and his wife is an amazing artist. We both knew the opportunity that was in front of us and decided that the 20 euros we had just spent on ferry tickets was not enough to keep us from Bordeaux.
To put things into perspective, we had already ridden 85 kilometers when we arrived to Arcachon. Changing the destination to Bordeaux meant riding another 70 km's. It was 4pm and we told the family we would be staying with that we would make it there by dark. We knew we were going to have to ride harder than we had up until this point and we were ready.
No joke we averaged around 20mph the whole way there. Besides for Google leading us to a soft sandy road, the ride was a straight shot to Bordeaux. Taking turns drafting each other we kept the cadence up and the kilometers flew by. Stopping briefly for a snack to avoid passing out due to how hard we were exerting ourselves, by 7pm we only had 6 kilometers to go.
We had made it to Bordeaux, rode faster than we ever had, and had a place to stay. Now time to relax, explore the city and some amazing wine.