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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Montepellier to Causse de la Selle

From Screen Captures

Our train didn't leave till past noon, so I got in a swim at the beach (again) before leaving. If you're ever in the area, mornings are the best time for the beach --- there's very little wind, and you get the beach all to yourself. The water's a little cooler, but not noticeably so.

We checked out, bought a grocery store lunch, and then rode to the train station, which was about 2km away. There's plenty of horror stories about bikes on french trains, so on this trip, I tried to avoid taking French trains as much as possible. The Argeles-Sur-Mur to Montpellier run could easily have been another horror story --- unlike German and Swiss trains, the French regional rails don't have bike cars, so we loaded up our bikes into the entryway of the bike. Obviously the conductor was unhappy with that, but fortunately he was a nice guy, and rather than throwing us off the train (which I've heard of happening), he asked us to move our bikes into the disabled parking spot for wheelchairs, etc. We had to unload our baggage from the bikes, and then tie handlebars and wheels down. This meant that to unload ourselves in Montpellier we had to form a human chain to get everything down in the limited amount of time.

Once in Montpellier, I once again relied on my GPS unit to get us out of crappy riding as quickly as possible by first setting a course for Grabels, then Murles, then Cambous. It was 20km of riding before we got out of the the suburbs of Montpellier. This was the Languedoc area still, and got great views of the vineyards around as we rolled around the area. Then we headed north out of St. Martin de Londres towards Causse de la Selle. The climb was ok, but the descent was gorgeous, winding around lovely rock formations, rivers, lakes, and finally crossing a bridge before the final approach.

Causse de la Selle was a one hotel town, with a Logis de France place. They looked closed, however, and when I called them they confirmed that they closed on Wednesdays. A minute later, however, they called back and said they would open just for us, but there would be no dinner service. That was fine by me, so we accepted and got ourselves a room for 3 for the night. There was a restaurant in walking distance.

A short day, with 50km, 696m of climb.

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