Friday 25 May. Day 7.
Annacy to Modane 86 miles.
I'm up at 7am and down for breakfast, its no use rushing around as the bike shop does not open until 9am so another late starter for me. Damn spokes ! :-)
I'm sat eating my breakfast, and the guy behind the reception comes over to me to ask if I have the cellar key, I say I gave it back to reception last night ! but they cannot find the key and Its the only one apparently! Thats not good, but I go back up to my room to have a check anyway, but nothing there. As I get back to the restaurant the guy comes along and says he found the key... Hurray :-) (my thoughts turned to breaking the door down if we can't find a key - I have to get to Istanbul haha).
Its around 8.30am and I start to push the bike down the road to the bike shop, it doesn't open on time in fact thEy opened at 9.15am, but at last I'm in and ask if they have a new wheel, they did... that's great, I'm thinking - can you change it now ? Their reply was come back tomorrow and it will be ready, What ? no I need it now my head was shouting.. I quickly get my phone out and go to translate (I need my bike asap as I'm doing a charity cycle ride solo to Istanbul so I am in a hurry - please) They checked the translation on my phone and were all chatting I think they were impressed, they replied No problem come back in 2 hrs we will have it done, will you have enough time to get to Istanbul in such a short time they asked me... of course I can I'm MadHeadCyclist :-)
I went back to hotel to pack my bags and get everything together. At 11.30 am I'm on my way back hoping they have replaced wheel and its ready to go. It is, and only cost about 50 euros all in ! I'm happy as larry.
After putting my panniers on and loading up the bike, I'm off on the road its 12pm and its already hotting up, I cycle my way through the town and end up near the water front where open markets and shops/cafes were. I'm thinking am I hungry now, so I stop at a cafe which does pizzas and coffee too, its nice just sat here in the sun watching the world go by. There are 2 older couples in the cafe too and I hear them talking in english, so I start to chat to them, they were from Lincolnshire and were on a coach holiday, once they asked what I was doing there and I told them - they were very impressed.
It must have been about 30 mins chatting to them all and my pizza had not come yet, I had finished my coffee, and thought sod this I don't want the pizza now I got fed up of waiting, so I paid the coffee bill and was off to stock up on supplies at a local store. I'm packed up now with food and water and thats it I'm now on my way and I'll keep going as long as I can to try and pick up some miles that I have missed due to waiting for bike.
I cycle past lake Annacy its beautiful scenery and the mountains in the distance are getting bigger, after some miles I end up on a cracking / smooth cycle path for ages Its Brilliant! and I'm whizzing by... these are easy miles - if this is what's its going to be like today it will do for me, I'm amazed It's not that hilly going through the alps - the cycle path goes as far as Albertville. I think I spoke to soon as from here I seemed to slow right up, no more was the 20+mph I was cruising prior! Now it feels all of a sudden that there's a headwind in my face or something (Its a weird feeling but there was not a headwind at all) I didn't realize at the time I was gradually climbing for the rest of the afternoon, it was mental how I slowed down, so I kept on stopping at the side of the road and had snacks/pringles and drinks (maybe it was energy I needed!) but I carried on regardless taking in all the scenery around me as I carry on forward heading towards Italy border, I pass by a big sign where it stated which cols were open or closed - My first look was at Galibier it stated Ferme! I can remember tweeting what does Ferme mean ? I got some back saying Closed. Oh well that was the pass I was going to cycle over but now thats not going to happen, and I have to carry on the road that I was already on.
Again cycling onwards and upwards towards the Italy border, it must have been about 7.45pm and it was getting dark, at this time I had just cycled through a town called Modane my thought was where is the next town after here, I looked on my map and there was nothing for miles, so I turned around and headed back into the town. I found a hotel just on the edge of town before the main cafes/bars (there were only a couple of restaurants by the looks of it but it would do me for the night, I needed some wine :-)
It was an old couple who had the hotel I stayed in, it was in need of modernization but it would do me. The guy showed me to my room, it was up 2 floors and the lift was only big enough for 2 people and the light in the lift was going on and off. (Fawlty towers springs to mind! Manwell) After I'm sorted/showered and changed, I'm off out walking down into the centre of town where I go in a restaurant for something to eat and drink. I'm surprised it's so busy in there, and the food was very good. I was sat there drinking my wine with my meal whilst reflecting on todays journey. After a bottle and half of red tonight I make/stagger my way back to the hotel, my thought was I hope they are still up at 11.30pm and that they have not locked the door. But when I got there and knocked they opened the door and asked if I had a good night, I said yes thank you, and see you in the morning for breakfast.