Chaumont to Levier 118 miles.
After a good nights sleep, good food and wine again, I was up around 6.30am and just got ready and set off towards the town to see how far the bike shops were (2 of them I was informed by the lady at reception) so, I walked off into town. After about a 15min walk I came across a bike shop, checked out the opening time and it was 10am. Just further on the same road another with opening time of 9am Thats mine ! so I went back to hotel to get some breakfast - not fryup styles in france but jam, cooked meats, plenty of coffee and orange juice and cereals - not too bad for me that lot :-)
After breakfast I went up to my room to pack all my things up ready for when I return from bike shop so I was ready to set off. So I'm now walking back to bike shop with wheel in my hand. I go into shop and try to explain my problem, he understands and I say can you fix asap ? He nods and get to work on it, at this stage I was going to pay whatever to get it fixed as needed to get a move on - this late start has put me behind the time I would have set off, probably around 7.30 to 8.00am.
After about 25mins he had fixed and got the wheel as good as new Fantastic you're a star I was saying but I don't think he understood. 10 euros was brilliant news (Not that bad considering he got to work on it straight away even though he was serving another chap when I walked in his shop) Top guy :-)
So , I'm sorted and walking back to hotel swiftly ready to load up and off I go heading in the direction of Besancon.
The roads at first were generally flat once again, as I rolled into Langres (The place I was planning on getting to the previous day - but the broken spoke stopped me in my tracks!) After this place the roads were getting more rolling - I compared them similar to Devon, or Cornwall types of hills. I cycled on through little villages and towns once again, the weather was a little improvement on previous days - but still no Sun although it was trying to get through. It would have made the hills harder to cycle over if the sun was out I was thinking, so the shade was quite good for cycling hills.
I did cycle over a nice place with a river running through - La Saone. Later in the afternoon I had reached Besancon after a manic cycle down roads that were like busy motor-ways I turned off into Besancon and headed down towards the river, once down there the views of the hills surrounding were very nice. You could tell that the alps were coming soon... just coming out from this town it was up hill more and more (very hard going) and didn't appear to be leveling out at all !! But after a few hours of cycling up I could see breaks in the clouds and for the first time since Holland I seen blue sky.... Yes !
After plenty of miles ascending it flattened out a little before going up again, and again Phew !! by this time the sun was setting and my thoughts turned to finding some place to stop for the night, I passed a hotel in Amancey, but cycled on up again and passed the hotel heading towards a place called Levier, but my thought was will that be too far for now? so I turned around and went back to hotel I had just passed. Pulled up at door way walked in, and shouted hello.. No answer, after a few minutes of waiting a guy came along and I was trying to ask for a room for the night but he didn't understand and called his daughter over and she told him my request, he replied FULL sorry.. Oh well I asked is there anywhere else nearby - his daughter said 7km back down hill, or 34km further up and over hills..... Blimey !!! I'm not going back down where I came up its just too demoralizing, so I said my farewell and started to carry on up and over the hills, the light was fading quickly !
I got on my garmin and searched Campsites in the area, it gave me one 7miles further on, in Levier town, so that was the result I was aiming for (It's a night in my New tent, the tent I had not put up yet!) This should be fun in the dark !
I was cycling in the darkness now, my water bottles had nearly emptied, and I was hungry with little food left in the panniers..ohh dear ! school boy error.
After about and hour I was freewheeling down a hill towards Levier and "PING" again and the wobble as previous night - Is it a puncture ? I thought, or is it another bleeding spoke.. I didn't stop to see I just carried on until I got to that campsite I just took it very slowly. Eventually I had arrived at the campsite but nobody was where you cycle in or anything so I just cycled on in through a little wood past some caravans and sneaked into the furthest corner of the small campsite, opened up the panniers and started to try and put up my tent for first time in darkness - Not good ! haha.
I thought I was going to get the tent up without any bother, but as I was struggling in the darkness, a guy and dog were coming over in my direction (did someone see me cycling in earlier?) Hello he said, I replied hello, is it ok to camp here, he said yes are you ok with that.... I said yes thanks, how much to stay ? 10euros which was good for me but no food or more importantly Red wine !! damn.. He walked off back where he came from and I fumbled away and after about 45mins I was in my tent in the dark with very little to eat just half a bottle of Lucozade sport and bit of chocolate and thats my tea for that night, also before I got into the tent I felt around the back wheel spokes and it wasn't 1 spoke it was 2 this time (Just my luck again) I will have to wake early in the morning and try and find another bike shop for repairs again. By the way in my tent I forget a sleeping mat so was sleeping directly on the damp ground - not much sleep for me then tonight :-(