France - Day 5 : The Ventoux is getting close
It had rained the entire night. The clothes I had left on my bike to dry had only gotten wetter. After we wrung everything and paid for our stay, we searched for a bakery. The bakery sold the best buns I had on the entire trip. They were raisin buns made of puff pastry with yogurt in it. They were so tasty that they reminded me of the sandwich I had on our first cycling vacation.
The route was supposed to be relatively flat today, with some mountains near the end. Instead, the entire way was pretty level. The Tour de France passed through Bourg-en-Bresse this year. It was quite a large but also an ugly town. I had planned a route through it, but instead, we decided to follow the signs.
In the morning, it was raining, but that was fine as it allowed us to cool down a bit. We only hoped the trip wouldn't turn out as we feared: first getting completely sunburned and then two weeks of rain. Fortunately, it got dry again later. From Bourg-en Bresse onwards, we saw mountains in the distance. They seemed pretty high, and we knew we had to climb them on our return journey. For now, we stayed on the valley floor.
After passing Loyettes, we needed to pay attention. The route would take us over large roads with many exits and roundabouts. Every 500 meters, there would be a two-lane roundabout we needed to cross. When we finally left the area, we took a break to calm down.
We continued over large roads but with fewer roundabouts and trucks. We ate dinner in a parking lot and wanted to text our friends Stefan and Bojan to ask where near the Mont Ventoux we would meet. Just when I turned my phone on, I noticed they had texted us to ask where we were because they needed to pay for the campsite a day in advance. We quickly replied that we would be there tomorrow.
Bram walked into the scrubs to water a tree. When he returned, he told me there was a turt with 17 snails on it and a trail running into the forest. We also noticed there were many parked cars, and one guy simply walked off into the woods after exiting his vehicle. Then something odd happened. The guy who had walked into the forest started shaking his keys. Then, another car stopped, and that driver also walked into the forest. Then another car stopped, and the second man returned to his car. Then, both men almost simultaneously walked into the forest again. That's when we decided to leave. Two minutes later, when we finished packing our bikes, still no one had emerged.
We entered the valley of the Rhone and continuously declined by 2 or 3 percent. For about 10 km, we averaged 30 km/h. After a while, we left the big road and entered the mountains. First, we cooked some fried rice by a soccer field. The ascent that followed was steep.
The view from the hill we were climbing
After the large hill followed some smaller climbs. We had planned to cycle to Lens-Lestang, but because today had been tough, we stopped early in Beaurepaire. The weather looked ominous so on the campsite we asked for a place not directly under trees. Despite the odds, it didn't rain. The camping only had a two-star rating but still had great showers and toilets. They were about 1.5 x 3 meters, roughly three times as large as most others, and completely closed off, so there was no cold draft. There were two other people camped near us; it was pretty mountainous there as well, which wasn't because of the French scenery because that usually wasn't that interesting.