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Saturday, September 06, 2008

St. Lary to Tarascon-sur-Ariege

From Screen Captures

We woke up in the morning to the sound of rain, and so took our time with breakfast hoping that the rain would go away by the time we left. This turned out to be a strategic mistake, as the rain didn't stop, and so we didn't leave till till 10:40am. It drizzled mildly as we descended into St. Girons with mildly annoying traffic. In St. Girons, I tried to navigate us onto a small road along the Gorges de Ribaouto, but it turned out to be one way only in the wrong direction so we had to ride the main road along the river to Masat, where we stopped for a huge 4 course lunch. It was so big none of us could finish the main dish and Mike had to decline the dessert.

There, we debated the wisdom of various alternate routes to Tarascon that might be more scenic or less traffic'd, but the rain that came down as we left the restaurant decided that for us --- we ended up riding along the main road onto Col des Caougnous (947m) and Col de Port (1250m). The rain was quite warm, so much so that I had to shed my rain jacket halfway up as it got too hot. The rain started getting heavy as we arrived at the summit, and then we had the cold descent in the rain before we arrived in Tarascon. In Tarascon, we looked at two hotels before settling into the Hotel de la Post along with another group of van-supported cycle tourists. That turned out not to be such a bright idea as the hot showers were only luke-warm when 20 or 30 cyclists tried to use them at once, but the food was decent. Our Kindles which had become our primary defense against the incredibly slow French food service industry, drew a lot of attention in the dining room.

A soggy day with 87.1km traveled, and only 1019m climbed. We hoped for better weather the next day.

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