| Despite French fishermen blockading ferry ports protesting about the crippling cost of diesel fuel and scare stories of fuel shortages for our vehicles, a good crowd attended the 2008 International Tandem Rally based at Camping la Citadelle in Loches en Touraine. |
Tricia Anderson and Neville Frost rode the medium length rides on all days and the following, brief summary is an extract from Tricia's personal diary for the week.
Click on any of the following pictures to enter a slide show (with larger pictures) at the selected day
|Saturday, 24th May |
Evening Event: Welcome evening
Weather: On and off rain.
The arrival day for the majority of ralliers. Weather looking rather disappointing after some lovely sunny and warm days (so we were told by early arrivals!). A well attended Welcome party in the evening with wine, bread and cheese.
|Friday, 30th May |
Routes: North east to Chenonceau and Amboise
Evening Event: Agnes Sorrel Hall, Loches for presentations, local wine aperitif and buffet
Weather: Sunny, hot, rain, fine.
A lovely sunny, hot day. Some families did the "car assisted" ride which enabled them to visit the châteaux of both Chenonceau and Amboise if they wished. For others it was out along the forest tracks, where unfortunately "blow outs" were experienced by a couple of teams, to ride in the rolling countryside. A coffee stop was found at a hotel in Luzillé and most people stopped at a café in Francueil for their lunch, whilst some intrepid teams decided to explore the suggested picnic spot beside the River Cher - a very swollen river with the picnic benches being completely submerged and only the table tops being visible and the river starting to flood across the access road; a grassy knoll was found right by the rushing river with even a campsite café providing coffee after the picnic (the campsite had been completely cleared of tourers though as the owners told us the river was expected to rise by another 1.4m in the next 24 hours - by Sunday morning this access road was completely covered with deep water and the road had been closed). From here it was a very short distance to the Château de Chenonceau where many ralliers enjoyed a visit to this most spectacular château built across the River Cher. Riding home in very hot sunshine we could see a lot of very black clouds over Loches and, entering the forest, the rain fell on us, though most managed to miss it. The flooding on fields and roads had still been extensive and returning via the back roads of Loches we found that the water coming off the fields to join the river had completely covered the road to above pedal height!
We were lucky to enjoy a fine evening for our walk to the Agnes Sorrell Hall on the other side of Loches where we arranged ourselves at long tables, filling the hall. The Mayor gave a speech, followed by Isabelle, the campsite owner, who thanked us all for coming and welcomed us back again; presentations were made, xylaphones were played. Wine and an interesting buffet was enjoyed. Héloïse & Josselin entertained us with some amazing violin and guitar playing.
Cycling beside a very swollen River Cher
Château de Chenonceau
Amazing music from Héloïse & Josselin
|Saturday, 31st May |
Weather: Sunny, warm, rain, thunder, lightning.
Fortunately it was a dry, warm morning which helped in the packing up of tents, cars, etc. For the handful that remained it was a very quiet site after everyone had gone, leaving a feeling of anti-climax after an excellent week's rally, despite the very mixed weather.
Neil had chosen this venue a fair way down south in the hope that he'd beat the "rally jinx of poor weather" that the Tandem Club had been experiencing lately at its rallies and the rain still followed us! It really doesn't matter, Neil - it was an excellent campsite at an excellent location with lots of good company. Our thanks for your and Tony and Janet's time and efforts, which are greatly appreciated.