Edit Blog Post
Published: June 26th 2017
This entry by Tom.
The overnight thunderstorm did little or nothing to lower the expected temperatures today. I guess by now it doesn’t matter much because we’re used to it.
After the most American-style hotel breakfast I can remember in France--maybe because we are at a Best Western--I installed my new cleats and headed out. The plan was for Luce and Donna to drive Caroline up to the top of the first col on a 70-km route we had planned to get us to Sisteron where they would drop her off and we’d ride the rest of the way together. Then they’d immediately drive to Sisteron, unload the bags at our hotel, then take Sue and Josée to Marseille where they have a hotel tonight and a flight home tomorrow morning. Sounds a bit complicated but not really, and it all worked out.
I chugged up out of the valley where Gap sits to Col de la Sentinelle. Feeling that middle-of-second-week strength and fitness kick in was nice, and I also saw a bunch of other cyclists out enjoying a perfect Sunday morning.
Just past Col de la Sentinelle is the town of Jarjayes where I met
Caroline and the ladies with the van. We were on our way in only a few minutes.
First order of business was a descent. We took it slowly as usual but I have no problem with that because the views were better than average. I did ride this way before but I didn’t remember it being this beautiful.
After we hit the orchards we started the climb to Col de Sarraut. It took some time with a few shady stops for water and to cool off but we kept at it more or less steadily. Stopped at the top for Caroline’s first ever col sign photo.
From there is was all downhill. It’s a total run-out along D951 to Sisteron which really worked out since it had now turned into another hot, sunny day so the less pedalling the better.
We did hit the brakes for lunch in La Motte du Caire, pulling over into a little café for Orangina, a chicken salad, and a pleasant little ham steak with risotto. And ice cream, don’t forget the ice cream on a hot day. While we were there, a sweet beagle wandered in with his owner. He loved the back scratches we gave him just as much as Fannie does.
A few kilometres from Sisteron we passed next to a small lavender field right next to the road and in full bloom. Wasn’t expecting to see one of these so soon, and it was the only one we came across today. Scrubbed some speed on the descent to enjoy the smell.
Caroline made it all the way to the hotel in Sisteron in good spirits after covered nearly 60 km with climbing and 30°C afternoon temps. I call that a win. We checked in straight away and went down for a snooze.
Awake about an hour later, I cleaned up and headed out to see what I could see. There was really only one thing: a huge pétanque tournament had taken over the main street in town. Watched for a bit but never really got a complete picture of what was going on.
At about 6pm Caroline was up and ready to go so we went back out to see if we could find an alternative to dinner the hotel. There is nothing wrong with the food—I’ve had the demi-pension myself before at this hotel when we last stayed here and it was good—but the menu was lamb, which Caroline isn’t interested in, and I wasn’t terribly interested in a big sit-down group dinner. I wasn’t particularly hungry so we wanted something small and simple. The problem is, this is a Sunday night and all the places that aren’t closed just serve drinks in the evening.
After some searching we came upon a little sandwich place run by a Tunisian (I think) guy. Plenty good enough. Two more cold Oranginas, a chicken pocket and a merguez sausage sandwich, both with a side of french fries, hit the spot. We were also right in the middle of the pétanque action. Still not 100% sure what I’m looking at.
Strolling back to the hotel, we saw the now-depleted gang (Sue and Josée were in Marseille for their trip home tomorrow and Don was at Mont Ventoux, of all places--he’ll re-join us tomorrow) on the patio at the hotel. Hung out with them for a few minutes until their main plates arrived. Enjoyed some more cold drinks on our own at the tables set up just outside the main hotel entrance before calling it a night and heading up to our room.
Tot: 0.038s; Tpl: 0.016s; cc: 13; qc: 27; dbt: 0.0079s; 1; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb