Day 4. Snapped. (Wednesday 1st October)

Today Total
Distance 83 miles 252 miles (406km)
Height gain 798 metres 3626 metres (11896ft)
Calories 2800 10000

Today was the reason I’d made the soul destroying detour yesterday and didn’t go directly to Paris. I set off to a little place called Grove Town, just south of a quiet little town called Albert. On the journey to Albert I soon saw the reason I was here, as the early morning mist cleared to a perfectly blue sky to my right was an oasis of green trees and grass with the sun reflecting off thousands of pure white stones. In front of the stones, three or four gardeners were tending to flowers while in another part, stone masons were putting finishing touches to the entrance way for the forthcoming armistice in the 100th year anniversary since the start of the war. This was the first of many First World War grave sites I passed on the way to Albert.

As you could guess from the name Grove Town, it’s a British place and one rarely visited as it’s not near any major sites and pretty well hidden down a number of country lanes. This is the place on the Somme where my great grandad is buried and I try to visit every now and again to make sure the grave is being looked after. I eventually arrived at about midday to this oasis of green surrounded by bleak sandy brown clay ploughed soil.

When there I placed the four poppies I’d had taped to the front of the bike since the start of the trip against the stone. Four poppies for each one of us in the family. If you’ve got good eyesight you may also see that the date he died was the 28th September, the same day I set off. Coincidence?

Cycling on to Paris I had to clear another dirt track. It was a little bumpier than I’d hoped but thought everything was OK until about 10 miles later when SNAP! One of my spokes on my back wheel broke. I didn’t have a way to fix it there and then so I had to nurse the bike and buckled wheel until I got to the next big city so I could get a replacement. A while later in a place called Parvillers-le-Quesnoy and again in Damery my GPS went mad, not only wanting to take me down dirt tracks but also massive detours, so far on average between 10 to 15 miles extra a day, this was majorly irritating. Because of this extra distance and the speed I had to go, I didn’t make it to Paris which was also annoying as I’d booked a hotel which was non-refundable. £50 gone… more than I’ve got in charity donations so far! So, it had been an 83 mile day but I was still 50 miles north of Paris!

Here’s a view of my dashboard I’ve been staring at for days!

For more detail on route click HERE.

(© google maps)