October 19, 2010

16| Le Rozier

After another long, glorious downhill I arrived at the campground near Millau. This was a good 2-star campground, with excellent hot showers.  I set up next to the river, the pool was open and I spent an enjoyable hour or so with my feet in the water and my face in the sun. But May is early season and the restaurant was closed. I imagined I would pass someplace in the morning where I could get coffee and bread. For tonight, the fresh, farmers’ market fennel, along with a tomato and avocado became salad which I ate with the goat cheese croissant I bought at the market in Nant. I thought: next time bring olive oil, salt, and a little cutting board.  It remained cool at night and I was glad for the warmth of my lightweight wool jacket and my little tent.  The wind picked up every afternoon about 4:00, with big dark clouds threatening rain, but it hadn’t yet rained.
In the morning, on the advice of the campground manager, I stayed on the east side of the Tarn to avoid road construction and traffic until I reached le Rozier, where the Jonte and Tarn Rivers and their respective gorges, meet. The ride to Le Rozier was rolling and startled me a bit with the downhills. (I really didn’t want to go downhill, I was headed uphill, and every foot down will need to be made up) and I am sluggish … the lack of breakfast and coffee? I didn’t pass anything open, and hadn’t wanted to cross the river into Millau, a city, to find something, so am hungry. Again, the slow, barely-can-see-it-grade seemed more discouraging and somehow felt equally slow to the steeper grades. I wondered: what’s that about?
Many houses had gardens where the tomato plants were tiny, the potatos knee high, the iris blooming. People told me spring this year is cold, late and the cherry season terrible. And in the markets they were rare, expensive and not as good as last year; this was a disappointment, since I remembered each and every cherry, and I ate pounds of them, as exquisite! As I near le Rozier I saw two other loaded cyclists  riding west, towards Millau. And were they loaded! Much more than I was carrying, and with a 10-ish year old boy on a tandem. Whoosh, that sight was enough to make me feel more energetic!

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