Stage 4 – 33km Time Trial from Avranches to Mont-Saint-Michel (2013, Stage 11)
It’s was a long 230km drive from Rouen to the start point for todays stage, Avranches. Todays stage has been a short time trial to Mont-Saint-Michel which is, one of the places I’ve most wanted to visit on the Tour Challenge route. Therefore the transfer has been bearable passing Caen which took a real battering in WW2 and Bayeux famous for the tapestry depicting the events leading up to the Norman conquest of dear old England.
I should have perhaps have thought about the planning for todays stage as it’s a Sunday and not only is Mont-Saint-Michel the 2nd most popular landmark in France, but the clues in the name, it’s also a religious site – so it was really busy. It’s also an island community accessed via a causeway (more Lindisfarne than Portland), I biked over met Andy and then rode back to the car park where I got changed and then did the tourist thing back on the Island. They offer a free bus over from the car park, although free is a bit of an exaggeration as they did charge 12 euros to park, Andy also got stung 5 euros for a can of coke which I’m still ribbing him about.
However forget all the moaning, the place is simply stunning, the Island and surrounding bay are both UNESCO World Heritage sites – I can see why! Interesting fact – Cornwall’s St Michaels Mount site was historically the Cornish counterpart to Mont-Saint-Michel, it was rewarded to the monks of Mont-Saint-Michel by William the 1st (The Conqueror) in 1067 for their support during his claim to the English throne.
The one let down was that once inside, you get to see lots of interesting architecture, but the main thoroughfare is lined with tourist shops and cafes which I guess helps maintain the site, but is a just a bit off putting. I might recommend the Tower of London sets up a Tesco Express by Traitors Gate, they could even start selling pictures of footballers who’ve left to join a rival club – they would do a roaring trade.
I almost forgot, in amongst the transfer, site seeing and history lesson, I also squeezed in a very enjoyable 32km time trial, here’s the details:
- Distance: 31.94 km
- Elapsed Time: 59:00
- Average Moving Speed: 32.6 kmph
- Total Ascent: 259 metres
That’s the fun over for the day, off to Fougeres ready for tomorrows 218km flat stage to Tours – hopefully the weather will be nice and not too windy.