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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Causse-de-la-Selle to Ales

From Screen Captures

We left Causse-de-la-Selle around 9:15am, heading towards Ganges. The road was pretty, running along the same river we had ridden yesterday, but it didn't take an hour before we ran into a mechanical problem --- Roberto's cassette was loose! Fortunately, each of us carried an NBT2, intended for removing cassettes for replacing a broken spoke, but it can also be used for tightening them up, and after a bit of fiddling, we got it to work. I bought a supply of those in 2005 in Switzerland, and they are definitely worth carrying in the saddlebag.

We then rode through Ganges in a hurry, and rode towards Laselle via a series of small but scenic roads all labeled D153 through country villages, local hills, and lovely rock formation. I decided that I liked the road enough that from lasalle, we chose to continue along the road to St. Jean-du-Gard, where we had a grocery store lunch.

From St. Jean-du-Gard, the road to Ales was marked as being closed, but I bet that bicycles can get past any road block, and indeed, when we got to the road construction, the construction crew paused a moment from their work and let us through, no trouble at all, granting us a relatively traffic free ride from then on, though the locals that did drove the road went pretty fast.

The climb up to Aubignac demonstrated Piaw Routing in a big way, leading us up along a hiking road (paved, but steep) before descending into the backside of a campground and then joining the main road. This was pretty riding but tough. There was a bit of drizzle on the climb to Col d' Uglas (539m), but it went away relatively quickly, and I thought nothing of it... untilthe descent, when it poured. I don't mean regular heavy rain, I think we had an inch in about 15 minutes. Not only did the brakes work less well, it also made for poor visibility. In several places the road was flooded and we rode through with ankles soaked, repeatedly dunking our bottom brackets into the water.

To top it off when we got to Ales, all the hotels reported being booked, so we had to ride to a suburb to find one with room for us. They didn't have a restaurant but there was a Chinese buffet place across the street --- Restaurant Aux Delices Des Etoiles, with reasonable prices, and run by a family that was actually from Zhe-Jiang from China. We ate our fill and I had a nice chat with the family.

With 101km and 1606m climbed, we hoped for dryer weather tomorrow.

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