Valley of doom

Time to leave the familiar alps and head South. The sky was heavy and black, luckily I packed up and got to Bourg town before the rain dump started. I hid under a cafe awning, put on waterproofs jacket and shorts and set off in torrential rain. A long climb to 4500 ft kept me interested and the long descent to Entragues in the still pouring rain cooled me down so much I had to stop and hide under a bridge straight out of Bettlegeuse to put on more layers and warm my hands. Strava route

Fully fed. Now down there and turn right.

The country started to open out and the riding was through some lovely steep sided gorges, one bridge I rode within inches of eager people queuing to bungee into a ravine. Eventually the rain eased and after a climb up the arterial D1075 (great Motobike road) it was time for a stop at a dull but much welcomed col self service cafe. Two whole meals and a pudding later I had dried out my kit to cope with the descent into the heavily sign posted valley of Glandage. I had no real target or route but I’m a sucker for touristy signs and this didn’t disappoint.
imageIt was indeed a superb valley to cycle through, very deep sided, too high to get in a full picture. The road (D539) was littered with carved out holes in rocky outcrops, houses carved into the rock, a superb quiet part of France. It started to flow in a twisting scenic descent, blind bends aplenty as the road hugged the rock sidewalls, life was good.

Beware the valley of doom

I loved this friendly looking bush along the way, but what little sky I could see was getting darker. ahead was a very large mountain, a huge black bank of cloud appeared to be erupting out of the flat summit and tumbling down towards me. was our friendly bush up there guarding the entry to the valley of doom.

At 70 miles I quickly decided that the next campsite would be the best place to hide, this was not going to pass over in a hurry, it was time to abandon bike. Chatilon en Diois camp site appeared out of the gloom. It was obvious this was a popular tourist spot, trying to hurry up the check in process it was becoming night like at 4pm. Got my pitch, lent my bike against a tree got the tent out and DUMP!  someone had turned the taps on and then snapped the tap off, this was waterfall proportions of rain.

It was soon apparent that a soaked me and tent were fighting a losing battle, when I snapped the one and only pole I threw the tent over the bike and ran for the toilet block with a Gerber tool, trusty tape and the pole. After half an hour watching the campsite become a lake and people desperately trying to save awnings from blowing away I fixed the pole and stashed it with the bike and went looking for warmth.

Running to the campsite cafe which was just a hut with a drafty awning I got soaked, after an hour of coffee and snacks listening to the battering of rain on plastic I realised my core temperature was dropping fast and there was no way of drying off. I walked back through the monsoon grabbed a pannier and walked straight into a shower fully clothed. I literally just stood under the lovely hot life giving water for about 30 minutes before dressing in the full total sum of all my other clothes. It was then a matter of wring out all the wet stuff and hanging it to drip dry in the showers, surely no one will pinch a load of sopping wet gear.

Cures all ills, now lets plan a route to the sun.

Back to the bar a but warmer, it was time for a meal and Un Demi-Carafe du Vin Rouge for that full all over rosy glow. They kicked me out eventually as it was a lock up compound, after perusing several possible sheltered places in the dark to throw the bag down It eventually eased and I got the tent up. What a day.


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