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France - Day 15 : What day is it?

There was some disagreement about which direction we had to go. Fortunately, I was right. One way or another, I was right about everything today day. Soon we were at the base of the col we had postponed climbing yesterday. There were many other cyclists there. It gradually became clear that this was a tough climb. After 45 minutes, we took a break. Later we overtook some people on mountain bikes. We made it to the top without getting too exhausted.

Col de la Chaudière

It was a serious climb

col de la chaudiere

In the background are speed bikes from the other people there

There was an old French guy who was really happy to be there. He had a can of deodorant and a bottle of shampoo attached to his bike. He started talking to us about how climbing the mountain was hardest from this side, but that it was peanuts compared to the Ventoux. When I told him we had climbed it with all our luggage, he told all the other cyclists, 'not for me' he said.


We descended again. Near Saillans, we followed the river Drome, together with many other cycling-vacation-people. It was around noon when we arrived in Die, where we went in search of food. The first supermarket seemed open. I told Bram it was closed, but Bram disagreed. Unfortunately, I was always right today, so it was closed. The second store we saw was also closed. We continued to the center. Fortunately, a bakery was still open, although it was supposed to be closed. They had only saltless bread left. We also bought ice cream, so that we didn't starve. I wanted to continue to the center to buy water or search for a fountain. I still had water, but Bram didn't. Bram didn't want to take a detour, but fortunately, we did. We found a fountain behind a parked car only twenty meters down the road.

The col de Rousset was next, or so we thought. First, we needed to climb another col. Before we reached the top we stopped for dinner. The saltless bread was horrible. It was a bit sweet, but didn't taste like bread at all.

The col de Rousset was very long. First we simply cycled through the valley, but after a while there was no way to go but up. The climb started with a few turns. It soon looked like the top wasn't that far. Then the straight sections between the turns got longer and longer. In the end we climbed for 1,5 hours. We overtook two people and stayed ahead of them the entire climb. There were also two Belgians on mountain bikes who couldn't keep up. When we stopped for lunch they passed us. Later we passed them again and one told the other 'see how small a gear they use'. We always climbed in the smallest gear and pedaled fast, which put the lowest stress on our knees. Near a viewpoint, we took some pictures.

col de rousset

The turns up the col de Rousset.

col de rousset
col de rousset

We came out of this valley

The Belgians passed us again. The summit was close. Eventually, we arrived simultaneously. There were many flies up there.

col de rousset

In the background you can see the saltless bread on my panniers.

col de rousset

The climb was long, but not very steep.

After the col we cycled through a long tunnel before starting the descend. We ended up in a valley between two large mountains. From planning the route, I already knew it would be a nice road. It was very green and the villages were pretty too. The road was nearly flat, so we could quickly cover a few kilometers. 


We hadn't eaten since the saltless bread. We wouldn't encounter another village for 60 km. We saw some candy in a small store so we asked if they sold more food. They didn't. The lady there did tell us there was an 'epicerie' to 'manger'. I wasn't sure what that meant, so we went in search of this 'epicerie'. It turned out to be a nearby store that was closed, according to Bram. I opened the door and was glad I was right today. They were out of bread, but did have some other food. We bought a large cake for 1.60, three rolls of chocolate cookies for 90 cents, some apples, and some juice.

We sat down on a nearby bench to eat. We started with the cake. After three slices we regretted buying it, as it was super dry. We each had about 30 cm to eat. Eventually, we ate all but the last slice simply because we were so hungry. We didn't start the even cheaper cookies.

Stuffed with cake, we continued. Fortunately, there was no steep climb, but there was a steep descent. It was around 12%. With a lot of breaking we made it down without crashing. From there on we would be climbing the long, but not so steep, col de Romeyre. That would be the last col for today. On its top was a restaurant where many people were confused about why we stopped in the middle of the road to take pictures.

Col de Romeyere

It was late in the afternoon when we arrived

Col de Romeyere

At first we descended slowly, then we got to a straight section that basically ran off a cliff. I cycled as fast as possible and lay down flat to try to break my speed record. Because my speedometer was underneath the map, I couldn't easily see how fast I was going. I didn't think that I went faster than on the Ventoux. Later that day, I noticed I did; I went 80,6 km/h. After that steep section, we reached a really nice part. First, the road went underneath a rock, after which we had a great view. There were steep rock faces with waterfalls.

cycling in french valleys

This wasn't a hill any more, but a 300 meter high rockface we needed to descend from.

cycling along rockfaces
french waterfall

The waterfall, it was about five times as long as you can see on the photo.

remote cycling paths in france
cycling in france

We arrived from this side, the waterfall was on the right.

bicycles in the sunset

The sign said 'attention cyclists'.

The rest of the descent went over a small wet road through the forests. I didn't want to go fast, so let Bram go ahead. That was probably for the best because it wasn't a great descent. Halfway through, we saw more waterfalls.

french rockcliffs
french waterfalls

The rockface was filled with waterfalls.

french rockfaces

The steep rock face

The rest of the descent involved an even smaller road. Near the end we had a car ahead of us so we had to brake even more. At the bottom I was curious about how hot my brakes had gotten. Fortunately, it was damp in the valley so my hands were a bit wet. They fizzled quite a bit when I touched the cooling discs on my brakes. After half a minute Bram wanted to feel as well. It still fizzled. Fortunately they didn't break.


Today's last part went over a straight cycling path. There were no cars allowed. We managed to average around 28 km/h. Our campsite would be in Tullins. Near a deserted gas station we managed to drain fuel for our stove out of the hoses, maybe we could even cook tonight. The campsite was one of the worst of the entire vacation. There was a gray shed, which was supposed to be the desk. Apart from that, there were decayed mobile homes and a bunch of sad-looking Polish people in transit.

Fortunately, the showers were good. Before we went to shower I wanted to eat something. We still had the three cookie roles left. They were just as dry as the cake, but tasted better.


Today we started right away with a big col, after that we had a flat section, before starting a second big climb.

After the col de Rousset it was flat with the col de Romeyre as dessert.

Daily distance 132,93 km

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