France - Day 5 : The Ventoux is getting close
It had rained the entire night. The clothes I had put on my bike to dry had only gotten wetter. After we wrung out everything and paid for the night we went in search of a bakery. They sold the best buns I had the entire trip. It were raisin buns made of puff pastry with a type of yoghurt in it. They were so tasty 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 route was pretty level. The Tour de France had ridden through Bourg-en-Bresse this year. It was a quite large but ugly town. I had planned a route through it, but instead we decided to follow the signs.
During the morning it was raining a little but that was fine. That way we could 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 continuously saw mountains in the distance. They seemed pretty high and we knew we had to climb them on our return journey. Occasionally we got closer, but we always stayed on the valley floor.
Past Loyette we needed to pay attention. The route would take us over large roads with lots of exits and roundabouts. It turned out to be less bad than we feared, we just needed to follow the signs towards Vienne. Because it was an industrial area there were a lot of trucks though. Every 500 meters there would be a two lane roundabout which we somehow needed to cross. When we finally left the area we took a break to blow off some steam.
We continued over large roads, but with less roundabouts and trucks. We ate dinner on a parking lot. First we texted our friends Stefan and Bojan that we were ahead of schedule and asked them to pick a campsite near the Mont Ventoux, where we would meet them. Just when I turned my phone on I notice they had texted us to ask where we were, because they needed to pay the campsite a day in advance. We quickly replied we would be there tomorrow.
Bram walked into the scrubs to water a tree, when he came back he said there was a turt with 17 snails on it and a road running into the forest. There were quite a lot of parked cars there and one man just walked off into the forest. Then something strange 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 walked back to his car. Then both men almost simultaneously walked into the forest. 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 had a decline of 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 next to a soccer field. The ascent that followed was steep. We saw someone climbing it on a regular bike, he probably lived there.
The view from the mountain we were climbing
After the mountain followed some smaller climbs. We had planned to cycle to Lens-Lestang, but because cycling was tough we stopped early, in Beaupaire. 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 two stars but did have great showers and toilets. They were about 1.5 by 3 meter, roughly 3 times as large as most others, and were completely closed off so there was no draft. There were two other people camped near us, it was quite 'mountainous' there as well, that wasn't because of the French scenery, because that usually wasn't interesting.
The last piece was mountainous, before that we could ride at a good pace.
Daily distance 175.84 km
Average speed 20.3 km/h