Day 14 : Cevennes
Col de Salettes
During the morning it looked like the weather would get better. The girl in charge of the campsite, who had also been there yesterday, was now cleaning the showers. I had to go up to her and almost beg to pay. Otherwise she wouldn't have said anything. We thought we had left the Pyrenees but there were still quite some mountains.
We sat down to eat on a bench in the village. In hindsight it probably belonged to someone, even though it was right next to the street. A man came to us to 'politely' tell us about another bench nearby. We thanked him for it.
The day started with a small climb. During the descent the landscape suddenly changed completely. We had arrived in the Cevennes. It was dry and warm. On one of the easiest cols in the 100 cols tour we met Piet and May for the last time. It would be Piet's last one of his four-week vacation. The col was only 250 meters high. When they stopped to take a photo we continued and wished them a good journey back.
In Carcassonne we went in search of a supermarket. There we again got an excellent example of French customer service. When we had collected everything we headed toward the checkouts. None of them seemed open, so we just decided to wait. Only one person was working in the entire store and he had already seen us waiting. After two minutes the cashier finally came over. We had oranges, but hadn't weighed them because they usually do that at the checkout counter. Not in this store. I had to go back to weigh them myself. Meanwhile she had let someone else go ahead of us, with whom she kept talking for two minutes even though I had already returned. When I gave her the money she just put the change down and didn't say anything.
After first breakfast we left Carcassonne. Just after leaving we remembered we needed to get a stamp here. After cycling back we were on our way for real. Col de Salettes seemed relatively simple on paper; it had an index of 2.4 and 700 meters elevation difference. It turned out a bit different. It was nearly 20 kilometers long and just too steep to cycle casually. After 10 kilometers, we took a brief break to drink and take photos.
During the climb of col de Salettes
Afterwards we still needed to climb for 45 minutes before reached the top.
On top of col de Salettes
Because the 20 kilometers took way longer than expected we hadn't eaten in a while. During the descent of the Salettes we encountered a viewpoint where we took a break. It was nice, as you can see in the photo.
A nice viewpoint along the descent of col de Salettes
It was pretty windy. During lunch one plastic bag blew away three times, Bram's hat twice, and another bag also twice. The worst thing was that Bram's salami even blew off his bread. We wanted to throw a few in the air to see how far they would get, but we had already eaten them. Just when we were finished the wind picked up again; now Bram's bike blew over and our peppermints away.
Bram's bike blew over
The peppermints blew all over the place.
We held a peppermint fight and discovered that you needed to water the plants downwind in such a heavy wind. There was another small climb, col de Serrieres. Afterward there was a long descent over a nice road. We took a campsite in the next village.
As usual, the local store was just about to close when we entered. We also bought a pizza to bring to the campsite. It was still four kilometers away, but we didn't know that then. That meant cold pizza for dinner. Fortunately, there was still room at the campsite. After showering and eating dinner, we drank some Desperados beer and watched the stars.
Distance cycled : 130 km.