Brest to Menton - a cut across France, opening up a wound of bleu, blanc et rouge.
Point to point has purpose. A start and a destination, leaving what's behind for another day, looking forward and working constantly on an objective. Gloomy north west to sunny south east, literally going from darkness to light.
Diagonal is straight with a sideways slant. Eventually your head turns the same way. Instead of the vanishing point you see the fields, the flowers and the voyage.
It is a concrete fact that an autoroute is the worst way to see a country. Side bankings, high speeds and paying for the privilege. Irony upon iron bridges then as an Audax rider crosses nonchalantly above the speeding dots in the middle of a 1,500km quest.
Long distance truckers are maybe the only propelled voyagers who share something of the mindset of the audax rider or the randonneur. Daily distance targets, average speed calculations, scheduled stops. Long runs the fox.
Night and day. The darkness comes faster and faster as the journey continues and a long time in the saddle turns hours into seconds, and days into hours.
Suddenly out of the tunnel, the finish line is within smelling distance. I see the sea, and the sea sees me. And I'm going to get in it as soon as this thing is done.
The amphitheatre of Menton bay is a fitting finish. Sit at the end of the strand and look back on everything in one view - the sea, the roads, the contours of the hills and the mountains. And consider if you should get the train, or just ride back...