The long ride from Chartres to Orleans did not turn out as bad as some had expected. Dianna slept until 8am and as a result we departed at around 9:20, an hour later than planned. The way out of Chartres is quick and easy, in no time we were on D935 cycling the plains of the French centre towards Orleans. It was very warm, the forecast was +24C with 95% humidity. I think it was more than that. We made our first rest stop after 23km in a small village where we had a pique-nique in the shade of the local church. It took as only 1 hour and 30 minutes to cycle 23km which was an all time record for us on this trip. Dianna had her cereal and we continued towards Patay, a large village 26km down the road. The idea was to have lunch in Patay, which is 10km over the halfway point and continue to Orleans.
D935 is almost completely flat with only slight undulations. Scenery is not what one can describe as amazing 😉 It looks a bit like the Mid-West in the states. For those embarking on the same route, the only meaningful village en route is Patay and that has limited options for supplies/food. All shops and cafes, even supermarkets in rural France have weird opening hours which never fit into our schedule. Upon arrival to Patay, everything was closed, including a huge supermarket. We had really hoped to get lunch in this town 😉 Luckily we found one small cafe that served us a traditional French farmer’s lunch (cow’s tongue with a boiled potato), which was the only item on their menu. After lunch I attended to the slow puncture that I picked up along the way. Cafe’s owner tried to advise me on how to go about fixing it, in French, me not understanding a word. I think he was trying to explain that I can call the cycling club assistance hotline.
We continued on to Orleans taking a small side road through the French airforce base and thereafter jointed the busy D955 for 12km (seemed endless). Arrived to the doorstep of our hotel at exactly 5pm. It took us 7 hours and 40 minutes to get here. Orleans marks the end of the first stage of our trip.