We had a great day off in Mazan, a real cycling centre with pelatons whizzing through on the way to Ventoux and other circuits. Our B&B was great and we found an excellent pizza place in town. I was even able to take the rather battered looking George to the bike shop, which was not only open but was delighted to fit new pedals and do something to the front wheel which has made it go round better...Technical term.
We had always made allowances for today to be Ventoux day if we felt we simply had to do it but as the morning went on, the weather worsened and we can report that sadly we were unable to make it this year. Instead we decided to head for Sault via the Gorges de la Nesque.
This Gorge lacks tourists and no significant river but is very scenic and a good gradient for cycles so is full of swarms of Lycra legends... Mostly going downhill we noted. So, we engaged a low gear and wound our way up 20 miles of climb. By half way, the wind had really picked up and going through one of the tunnels was literally a wind tunnel. I videoed Emma going through but as the wind gusted she almost was blown off the bike. A little further on I took a video of the trees blowing, panned across to where Emma was about to take a photo and caught her losing something out of her bar box... Reassuringly it wasn't her passport.
We had our picnic break in a cave or rock overhang, feeling rather prehistoric and generally really enjoyed the Gorges, although I was careful not to ride too close to the edge in that wind.
Dropping down out of the Gorges and yet again the environment has changed. We are surrounded by lavender fields and some wheat, leaving the vineyards and fruit trees far below us.
We came to a pretty medieval village, Monieux, a couple of miles short of Sault and our hostess of Mazan had recommend lunch in the Lavande, the only restaurant. I was keen to have lunch as we had a long wait before we could arrive at our B&B. It was clearly a destination for old couples who trawl up to the mountains in big expensive cars and knock back some good wine and overpriced and pretentious food. There were more waiters than chairs and this is clearly 'the place'. I'm sure having a couple of sweaty cyclists asking for the formule de jour menu was just what they need to maintain their reputation.
Still we confidently braved our posh lunch which was disappointingly poor, basically cool bean soup, some reasonable chicken and apple sauce followed by a very nasty bombe surprise pudding that both of us left. Ho hum, let's hope we find a decent bikers cafe tomorrow.
Having left Monieux we met up with James (4 Distance) who did Ventoux three times yesterday and came up the Gorges today, presumably to stretch his legs... How do these people do it? James is the star who produced our C2C shirts and has arranged for the bike boxes to allow us to get our trusty bikes home next week. It was great to see him and thank him for all his help.
So, now we are here at a very strange B&B indeed. A bungalow at the top of a valley, no sign and certainly no welcome so we sat on the grass until eventually a rather scatty woman turned up and announced that the room will not be ready until 7 pm, and oh no, there is no food to night, no we did not get the email from Booking .com etc.... All together a very amateur set up and, if the thunderstorm ( of biblical proportions) had not started, I suspect we would have looked for an alternative. So, we sat outside for an hour or two while she cleaned our room and are now allowed in to the smallest bedroom with no en suite; we share her bathroom.
The good news is that she (feeling guilty I suspect), has offered to drive to Sault to get a take away pizza. There are two young Germans here who are equally amazed at the welcome. They have wisely jumped into their car and have gone off to sample the delights of Sault. It is absolutely tipping it down and so there is no way we are venturing out so it'll be blogs, books and an early night.
All in all a good day's cycling but some strange food and now very strange board. It will be good to get away tomorrow but let's hope the rain blows over.
Allez Allez, 630 miles now complete.