Sunday, September 28, 2008
We woke up in the morning to consider whether or not to go over to Rosans to attempt Col de Pommerol (1072m). On second look, not only was the traverse to Rosans a red road, it was also a climb in itself, and I didn't know if we had time to do 4 climbs today, so we headed North on D61 while the day was windless, riding through la Motte-Chalancon and Bellegarde before the road went over Col de Premol (964m). The descent from Joncheres was pretty enough, but at the bottom we had no choice but to head North on an unpleasant main road in the area, D93 towards Die.
That in itself wasn't too bad, but the road headed directly into a painful headwind, lending only morbid amusement to the phrase We are going to Die! Even with moderate pace-lining, my legs weren't what they should have been by the time we entered Die for a light lunch and some grocery shopping.
Then we began the climb up Col de Rousset (1367m). This was a tough climb, not because it was steep, but because several places in the climb, I was blown to a complete stop. I got to the point where I had to draft Roberto while going uphill, which was a pain in the neck, something I only had to repeat before in St. Christophe in 2005. Near the top of the switch-backs, the wind helped up some sections, but I got hungry so I stopped to eat a banana. Roberto would say that this was the first time he'd ever see me stop because I was too tired to keep going, but I guess the previous times I'd done it he wasn't anywhere near to see it.
Col de Rousset ends in a tunnel, and we zipped through that with a tailwind, and immediately stopped on the other side to put on everything we owned because it was cold! We descended D518 down towards La Chapelle-en-Vencors, but fortunately, there was not much wind there. At St. Agnan-en-Vencours, we chose to take D103, the scenic white road towards St. Martin-en-Vencors, and scenic it was, running along a babbling brook, with farmland to the right, and a hill on our left.
In St. Martin-en-Vencors, we found that the only hotel in town was under reconstruction, so we had no choice but to ride on past Herbouilly and St. Julien-en-Vencors, where the hotel in town was fully booked. However, the owner was kind enough to call around, and found us a B&B named The Tranquil Coin. By this point I was bonking, and despite chewing through a couple of gu packets still wasn't quite myself. But The Tranquil Coin wasn't too far, so by the time we got there it wasn't too bad.
Nevertheless, we had a complication --- the owner had an event at 7:30pm, and wasn't intending to serve dinner. We asked if there was another restaurant nearby that was open, but when she called it, it wasn't open. Looking at us in pity, she immediately offered to cook us dinner at 6:30pm, which we promptly accepted and then had the fastest 4 course French meal we'd ever had!
Exhausted by 109km of headwind, and 1831m of climbing, I slept like a log that night.