France TET

Where you've been and what you done
aliwakeskate
Posts: 498
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:18 pm
Location: Birmingham
Has thanked: 268 times
Been thanked: 169 times

France TET

Post by aliwakeskate » Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:12 am

Finding myself with a bit of time free last week I decided to do some riding. As the TET (Trans Euro Trail) has recently been made live I thought I’d have a blast over to France to see what it’s like.

I’ve ridden around France quite a few times on the road, but never touched a trail there. So this would be a new experience! With no idea what to expect, I packed up my trusty DRZ and headed for the overnight ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe.

Day 1 (Dieppe to Maintenon) 238km

Rolled off the Dieppe ferry at 5.30am. Cold, dark and very wet. As I knew I’d be landing in France in the dark, I decided to blast an hour or so of tarmac to my chosen start point some 10km south of Beauvais to be there in time for sunrise.
France TET (1 of 44).jpg
France TET (1 of 44).jpg (236.67 KiB) Viewed 2431 times
As the sun was coming up I hit my first trail. Lots of wet, slippy, muddy farmers fields for a fair few km. Then into some nice long woodland tracks. More rain and more crossing fields which by now were resembling marshes! Slipping, sliding and squelching all over the place. Great stuff! (if you like that sort of thing).
France TET (2 of 44).jpg
France TET (2 of 44).jpg (121.97 KiB) Viewed 2431 times
A few missing trails and no entry signs were easily routed around.

After around 7 hours on the trails, the late ferry crossing and early start kicked in and that was me for the day. So I headed to a campsite 20km north of Chatres just outside of Maintenon to rest, eat and dry my gear.
France TET (3 of 1).jpg
France TET (3 of 1).jpg (201.78 KiB) Viewed 2431 times
Interesting start to the trip!

Couldn't help but think every time a trail crossed over a main road, what a great way to see France.

aliwakeskate
Posts: 498
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:18 pm
Location: Birmingham
Has thanked: 268 times
Been thanked: 169 times

Re: France TET

Post by aliwakeskate » Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:15 am

Day 2 (Maintenon to Preuilly) 275km

Woke up to the sound of rain, luckily not heavy. Packed up and straight onto the trails only a km or so from the campsite.
France TET (4 of 44).jpg
France TET (4 of 44).jpg (137.35 KiB) Viewed 2429 times
The trails down to Orleans were very similar to yesterday. The fields and tracks were still soaking wet so nice and slippy, especially with all the early morning dew!
France TET (5 of 1).jpg
France TET (5 of 1).jpg (214.81 KiB) Viewed 2429 times
France TET (6 of 44).jpg
France TET (6 of 44).jpg (140.32 KiB) Viewed 2429 times

aliwakeskate
Posts: 498
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:18 pm
Location: Birmingham
Has thanked: 268 times
Been thanked: 169 times

Re: France TET

Post by aliwakeskate » Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:17 am

France TET (7 of 44).jpg
France TET (7 of 44).jpg (120.29 KiB) Viewed 2428 times
Lunch stop just on the other side of Orleans followed by some cracking forestry trails that seemed to go on for miles! Plenty of chemin vert trails flowing down the route. These were a mixture of either fully graded or just good old fashioned mud. Great stuff!

France TET (8 of 1).jpg
France TET (8 of 1).jpg (230.03 KiB) Viewed 2428 times
Found a nice little camp site west of Bourges in Preuilly and managed to get set up and fed before the rain came again...

aliwakeskate
Posts: 498
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:18 pm
Location: Birmingham
Has thanked: 268 times
Been thanked: 169 times

Re: France TET

Post by aliwakeskate » Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:20 am

Day 3 (Preuilly to Rochemaux) 212km

Woke up to heavy rain that kept going on and off all the way to Montlucon. Trails slippy trails again but definitely changing with more hardpack and some superb pine forest trails.

Arrived in montlucon around 1pm, cold and wet so headed for some proper French cuisine and free WiFi at the golden arches.

Looked at the weather and maps and tried to decide whether to press on or duck into a hotel as: a) weather said rain all afternoon and b) tent absolutely soaking.

But, I'm here to ride the TET so decided to crack on.
France TET (1 of 3).jpg
France TET (1 of 3).jpg (177.68 KiB) Viewed 2428 times
Out of montlucon the trails are changing as the km go on. Some nice forest trails and tracks through rolling countryside. Quite a few like trails in north Wales.
France TET (2 of 3).jpg
France TET (2 of 3).jpg (243.62 KiB) Viewed 2428 times
South of montlucon I found my first really knarly trail! One of those should I shouldn't I moment's. Steep, chalky, stoney, washed out and a few steps and sharp turns thrown in. Hard work, but a cracking trail! Only had to pick the bike up twice... Sorry no pics of the bike down as fuel going everywhere
France TET (3 of 3).jpg
France TET (3 of 3).jpg (175.13 KiB) Viewed 2428 times
Weather closing in again so around 6pm found a superb little campsite in Rochemaux. No one else here so I had the outdoor area to myself with heating to dry my gear and more importantly hot showers! It even had a swimming pool...

aliwakeskate
Posts: 498
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:18 pm
Location: Birmingham
Has thanked: 268 times
Been thanked: 169 times

Re: France TET

Post by aliwakeskate » Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:25 am

Day 4 (Rochemaux to St Jaques des Blats) 220km

Misty start to the day, but dry. Fueled up and jumped onto the trails just outside Sauvagnat.
France TET (1 of 8).jpg
France TET (1 of 8).jpg (146.46 KiB) Viewed 2425 times
The scenery is starting to become more impressive. You could definitely tell that there are some mountains coming!
France TET (2 of 8).jpg
France TET (2 of 8).jpg (175.38 KiB) Viewed 2425 times
Some great hardpack trails cutting through the region. Plenty of up and down trails running through the pine forests. Brilliant!
France TET (3 of 8).jpg
France TET (3 of 8).jpg (219.67 KiB) Viewed 2425 times
Just a few km south of La Bourboule is a proper knarly climb. (another should I shouldn't I trails!) As you follow the stoney track it starts taking you up a nice gradient for a few km. As you turn a corner it suddenly gets very steep. Plenty of run up to it though, although it took me 2 attempts to get up it! Rocky, wet and a bit washed out. At the top there is a danger sign warning of 'steep decent' , shame there wasn't one at the bottom! Hard work, but worth it.

aliwakeskate
Posts: 498
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:18 pm
Location: Birmingham
Has thanked: 268 times
Been thanked: 169 times

Re: France TET

Post by aliwakeskate » Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:26 am

France TET (5 of 8).jpg
France TET (5 of 8).jpg (265.64 KiB) Viewed 2425 times
Carrying on through the forest trails brings you out on some fantastic twisty alpine like tarmac through the volcanic national park.
France TET (6 of 8).jpg
France TET (6 of 8).jpg (129.33 KiB) Viewed 2425 times
Back onto the trails and the landscape is stunning. Reminded me of the brecons. Hardpack trails flow nicely to take you to the Gorge de La Rhue.
France TET (7 of 8).jpg
France TET (7 of 8).jpg (135.42 KiB) Viewed 2425 times
A few more trails and some tarmac and I reached the point where the TET splits. So, which way now. East or South?

aliwakeskate
Posts: 498
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:18 pm
Location: Birmingham
Has thanked: 268 times
Been thanked: 169 times

Re: France TET

Post by aliwakeskate » Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:29 am

Decided to head East over the mountains. About 30km in, it was around 5.30pm so started planning a stop for the night. Checking the map, the trail passed a campsite in St Jaques des Blats. I've stayed here before and knew it'd be open this time of year. Couple of great col decent and ascents and I arrived at 6.30. By now it was getting a bit nippy.
France TET (8 of 8).jpg
France TET (8 of 8).jpg (229.52 KiB) Viewed 2425 times
Got lucky again as the campsite has little cabins to rent! Double bed, heating, gas hob. Couldn't resist. Fantastic site!

qcnr
Posts: 845
Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2015 6:28 am
Has thanked: 617 times
Been thanked: 208 times

Re: France TET

Post by qcnr » Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:31 am

Lovely :-)

aliwakeskate
Posts: 498
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:18 pm
Location: Birmingham
Has thanked: 268 times
Been thanked: 169 times

Re: France TET

Post by aliwakeskate » Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:32 am

Day 5 (St Jaques des Blats to St Remy de Chaudes Aigues) 180km

Woke up to light rain, checked the weather forecast east and didn't look good. Decision time...

This would be my last full day on the TET before having to head north to the ferry home.

So, having had a cosy night in my cabin I decided to stay here another night. This would mean 2 things. Firstly a guaranteed warm and dry place for the night, and secondly a day on the trails without the weight of luggage!

Another reason was that I am at the foot of section 2 here so can plan a route back through France and take in some of the trails I have already ridden. Bonus!

So, bags off the bike and off we go.

The campsite here is right next to the route so jumped on that which took me via some cracking tarmac twisties over the mountains.
France TET (1 of 6).jpg
France TET (1 of 6).jpg (104.38 KiB) Viewed 2425 times
First few hard pack trails guide you through some stunning open scenery over rolling hills. Really great easy trails that you can open the bike up on. (especially without my luggage).
France TET (3 of 6).jpg
France TET (3 of 6).jpg (123.21 KiB) Viewed 2425 times
Bumped into a farmer on his quad who was herding cattle along the trail. My language skills are rusty but we managed a chat about my trip and the weather (being British one must always discuss the weather with strangers...). Great bloke who said he would move the cattle off the trail into a side field to allow me to pass. Can't see that happening in the UK...

Further into the route I passed through a tiny village called Vigouroux, which has a lovely old chateau. About 2km further on you jump back onto the trails and it starts off a little overgrown, but rideable. All of a sudden the trail is filtered between 2 wire fences into almost single-track. The ground is fully overgrown and absolutely covered with what must be an old collapsed drystone wall.
France TET (2 of 6).jpg
France TET (2 of 6).jpg (173.92 KiB) Viewed 2425 times
Glad I didn't have my luggage as this was a real challenge for my bash plate. This is one of the only lanes I would say is quite difficult on a big bike. You could not see what was on the floor and the boulders were massive and ruts deep. Every movement forward resulted in bashing into another obstacle. My DRZ is narrow and lite but barely got through. Proper bouncing the front end, blipping the throttle and rocking the bike stuff.

Hard work, but great fun! If I was on my tenere I'd probably still be there now...

aliwakeskate
Posts: 498
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:18 pm
Location: Birmingham
Has thanked: 268 times
Been thanked: 169 times

Re: France TET

Post by aliwakeskate » Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:34 am

France TET (4 of 6).jpg
France TET (4 of 6).jpg (117.68 KiB) Viewed 2424 times
After that it was back to some superb rocky trails through rolling country.
France TET (5 of 6).jpg
France TET (5 of 6).jpg (153.14 KiB) Viewed 2424 times
Passing through sainte-marie you drop down onto a suspension bridge over the reservoir then tarmac takes you twisting up against. The trails pick up again through pine forests. These trails are fantastic and I followed a few different ones playing in the forest for an hour.
France TET (6 of 6).jpg
France TET (6 of 6).jpg (195.05 KiB) Viewed 2424 times
After dropping out of the forest along the trail I arrived at St Remy de Chaudes Aigues. It was about 4pm. Checking the maps it was about 90 mins ride by tarmac back to the campsite. So, as the rain was drawing in a decision was made to make my way slowly back via tarmac.

Post Reply

Return to “RIDE REPORTS”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 96 guests