We somehow neglected to wear sunscreen yesterday. When we awoke this morning we were both very… crispy. Subconsciously hoping to somehow make up for our folly we both applied twice as much as usual before departing on what would be another day full of stunning French coastal views. The sun, though welcome, felt absolutely brutal on our tender skin as we rode away.
Early in our ride we arrived at a quaint little boat slip where Tara suggested we cool our legs and take in the views. I happily obliged, grabbing one of my Arnis bastons to practice while we did. The next hour or so was wheedled away watching as the waves tirelessly lapped at the rocks on our quiet beach. I felt completely at peace practicing my carenza while the cool ocean rose and fell around my feet. On the way back to the bikes I thought about how much I miss our Arnis classes, which as it turns out, is quite a lot. I really enjoy practicing what we learned but I want more! One adventure at a time I suppose.
Just a few kilometers down the road from the boat slip we encountered a sound(?) that had been built up into a swimming hole of sorts. Embracing the (so far) slow pace of the day I asked Tara if she'd like to jump in and swim a bit before carrying on. She enthusiastically agreed and after leaning our bikes on a nearby fence we leaped hand in hand into the frigid salty water almost fully clothed. A pair of nearby cycle tourists who had recently done the same smiled and waved knowingly. While we paddled around I could feel wave after crushing wave of heat pouring out of my sunburnt skin into the cool waters. What a great way to start the (riding) day!
Our chilly dip helped temper the heat for an hour or so as we rode along the coast alternating between huge, well developed, touristy coast cities and quaint, rural coastal towns. Towards the end of the day as we were cruising down a sizable hill I hit a bump that sent our GPS unit flying off my handlebar mount. This happens fairly frequently and normally isn't a big deal as it is tethered to my aero bars by a (manufacturer included) nylon cord that attaches to a piece of rubber on the unit itself. I had noticed a crack developing in the rubber and meant to rig up a way to patch it.
As it turns out, I waited too long to do something about it. I watched in horror as the rubber mount on the GPS broke and the unit went bouncing away under my bike (I'm fairly sure I ran over it). I quickly hit the brakes to retrieve it, not realizing how close Tara was to me. Bicycles don't have brake lights and we were moving at a pretty good clip. Tara rear-ended me, her front wheel striking mine exactly on the tire. She said her rear wheel lifted off the ground! Though a bit shaken up, neither of us fell down and thankfully the GPS was still happily displaying our location and intended route when I picked it up, a little scuffed from the pavement. Phew.
For the next hour or so I fretted about my rear hub, hearing an occasional grinding noise that I was certain was a failing bearing. On the way it got so bad that I told Tara we needed to stop and tear things down immediately to investigate. After removing all of my panniers and rear wheel I inspected the rear hub and freehub body. By all accounts it seemed fine. I took Tara's rear wheel off to compare the two and discovered that her cassette lockring was very loose! Apparently when we tested our cassette cracker before leaving I didn't tighten it enough. After fixing that I compared the two and they seemed identical. A bit frustrated I put my rear wheel on to go for a short test ride attempting to ascertain what the awful noise was.
No more than five feet down the road I realized my obvious mistake. The rear fender mount on my bicycle was askew from being hit and the sound I was hearing was the fender rubbing the rear tire! Elated that my bike was okay and feeling a little stupid for not realizing that was the source of the noise and 'grinding,' I wrenched it back into adjustment and we went along our merry way.
By this time we were both ready for the day to be over. We wanted to find a campsite as quickly as possible but we stopped to pick up some groceries first, then followed the many signs for camping, stopping at the first one. Our coastal campground (like all the others) was furnished with a huge pool, slide and all. It officially closed at 7PM, but the attendant offered to leave it open for us as we had arrived around closing time. We splashed around, relieved to be in the refreshingly cold pool, and developed the fastest possible way to descend the waterslide. :-)
Done with swimming, I set up camp while Tara made another delicious batch of cheesy macaroni. We opened a bottle of wine, and enjoyed the end of our evening with another couple episodes of Lost.