Friday, September 12, 2008

Ales to Orange

From Screen Captures


We decided that we would make an attempt at Ventoux. Roberto had emphasized that he wanted to visit Bourg En Bresse before the end of the trip, and it was on the way. (Plus, who could resist another tall mountain?)

From Ales we headed East towards Salindres and Navacelles. Just before Salindres, however, I got my first (and only) flat of the trip --- a glass flat, no doubt picked up by having wet tires roll over city streets. The terrain was rolling, with views of the hills around us. This was classic Provence touring country, low shrubs with no forest, and wild desolate scenery that was reminiscent of the American West. At Lussan, we stopped for lunch, and then rolled towards Bagnols-s-Ceze, but turned off to visit Cascade du Sautadet, a beautiful stream side road, before heading North into St. Laurent-de-Carnols, where we picked up D23.

At the top of the hill, there was an old castle, Chartreuse de Valbonne, which elicited a detour from us. The castle was very nice, but I beheld an even rarer sight there --- a woman cyclist touring by herself (I could tell she was touring by herself because she had 4 panniers), and no companions. We would espy her later at Pont-St-Esprit. Unfortunately, with the push to Ventoux, we didn't stop to talk to her, and rode on towards Pont-St. Esprit after getting a few pictures.

At Pont-St. Esprit, we crossed the river Rhone for the first time, and made our way towards Mondragon on as small a road as my GPS uni could find, but the wind was so strong and annoying that not only did the bridge crossings feel precarious, so did any road sharing! From Mondragon, I picked up D152 towards Rochegude, an unremarkable road following vineyards and winding up some hills. Rochegude had another old castle, but one used as a hotel. It was a four-star place, however, so one look at the price list sent us running (or rather, cycling) for our lives.

From the map, it looked like St.-Cecile-Les-Vignes had lodging, and indeed it did, but because it was a Friday night, everything was taken. The local Logis-de-France place told me that the nearest place would be Orange, so off we went, down D65 towards Orange. This was a scenic ride, and very pleasant, now that there was a tail-wind with us. We made that 15km run in well under 30 minutes to take a cheap place in Orange after very little hunting.

A relatively flat day, with 113km cycled and 1226m climbed.
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