Chris's first article*
A PILGRIM'S PROGRESS
In the first of his weekly diary entries, long-distance cyclist Chris Devereux
keeps readers updated on his progress as he pedals his way along a 1,000 mile
pilgrimage trail through France and Spain. This week he writes of lightning on
the road to Conques.
May 21, Villeneuve d'Aveyron:
Today was the third day of my cycling pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella following the Way of St James, Le Chemin de St Jaques. At 6.30am I left the community I was staying with at Estaing and pedalled ever-upwards into one of the most severe storms I have experienced on a bike. Huge bolts of lightning crackled to the ground followed by deafening thunder and torrential rain. In the east I could see the sun rising and blue sky but in the west the direction I was travelling in a wall of black cloud blocked out the countryside. Yet by the time I got to Conques, a world heritage site and one of the oldest and most famous pilgrimage sites in Europe, the sun came out to greet me and it stayed that way for the rest of the day.
There is something about this journey which has already impressed me it is the sense of community and understanding among fellow travellers that we all seem to share. People of all shades of opinion, belief and nationality have decided to do the journey as a way of stepping off the normal routine of life and reflecting on what is important to them. I met Paul at Le Puy, a commercial pilot from Nurnberg who was cycling to Santiago in thanks-giving for no mishaps in a flying career of 42 years with some 18,600 hours flying time.
Yesterday I met Charlie who was walking 25 miles a day to reflect on what his next career move in life was going to be. And as for me, I am just grateful to get through each day at the moment and looking forward to four friends joining me from England to ride with me for the next three days. Next week I should have more experiences to share.
But for those who like figures, I have cycled 159 miles in 2.5 days, climbing a total of 13,320 feet and averaging just over 11mph I have always said that the Auvergne was hilly. For the full story, log on to www.sutton.guardian.co.uk/news/features, or to sponsor Chris call 020 8661 0428 or email firstname.lastname@example.org 9:22am Friday 24th May 2002
* This is the text from ....
but unfortunately doesn't seem to be on the Sutton Guardian's website any more.
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