20 July: Tournai to Givet

14058267546040It was very hot yesterday. After the rain the temperature went up again to more than 30 C and I kept drinking water. ┬áJust to give you an idea of the amount of fluids I drink: yesterday I had 4 l of water while cycling, 1 can of Fanta, 1 can of Pepsi and 0.5 l of beer, in addition to various glasses of water at the hotel but this morning I was still thirsty. Someone must have listened to my complaints so today I started cycling under the rain with approx 22 C. Not bad, but now the bike is all muddy again (this is the third day in a row that I need to clean it). The first 40 km of today’s route follow various canals from Tournai to Mons, more or less, going through some industrial areas similar to Grand Union Canal in West London but also through beautiful landscape.

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Absolutely no traffic and nobody around today, tomorrow is the Belgian national day and I guess people are taking the weekend very easy. Unfortunately for me the paths are made of concrete with horizontal joints every 3 m, resulting in a continuous bum bum bum, not the best thing for what you can imagine…

After Mons, I took various cycling paths in the woods and I started going up this part of the Walloon region. As usual, fantastic views:

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I had to do some pave’ again to continue the job of the concrete joints above:

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After 65 km I joined a main road that keeps going up and with a couple of steep parts. Nothing special here, but some interesting towns such as Beaumont on top of hill at km 90, with great views:

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This is a short video I took while cycling uphill toward Beaumont: http://youtu.be/uMlfGgg9-LA

After reaching Philippeville at 115 km the road flattens and then starts to descend into the Meuse valley, entering the Ardennes

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Givet is a beautiful French town just after the border with Belgium:

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In the end nearly 140 km today with a bit more than 800 m overall climb, a bit more than expected. I’m still feeling very good, just a bit of pain behind my left knee probably due to the pave’. Nevertheless, I managed to keep an average speed higher than yesterday. This is the trace if you are interested:

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/545444123