Aubusson d'Auvergne to Montbrison: anticipation pays off - Massif Summer - CycleBlaze

June 20, 2014

Aubusson d'Auvergne to Montbrison: anticipation pays off

Cyclotourists eat. And eat, and eat, and eat, and eat. Breakfast was at seven this morning, and all the cyclists from last night's dinner (I did wake up in time) were lined up waiting for the restaurant to open. Bread, fruit, cereal, cheese, jam, jelly, juice, and LOTS of coffee were on hand, and the staff were kept busy refilling the buffet.Between mouthfulls there was a lot of discussion about what routes folks were taking, where they were going next if they were leaving, when they might see each other again. Then, just as quickly as the last tasse was emptied, everyone got up to leave. Bikes were collected from the indoor storage room, water bottles filled and we were off, each on his/her own route.

I wasn't really worried about today's climb, apprehensive might be a better word. The gite at Aubusson is stocked with information about the routes in the area, so I spent a lot of time studying the charts for the route that would get me to Chalmazel with the least pain. The elevation profiles for the col du Beal were very helpful in making the choice. One route featured a stretch of 3km or so at an average grade of 6 percent, while another gave me 4km at 5.5 percent average. I decided on the latter. In the end, I made it up the climb easily enough, stopping every so often for photos, or just to catch my breath. The new granny gear I installed last month paid off today, but there was one stretch of about four km at a paltry two percent that I was able to cruise up using my middle chain ring and a 16 tooth cog. Obligatory photo at the top, and a long descent to Chalmazel, where I ate lunch in the shadow of the medieval fortress. The bar/restaurant where I ate wasn't particularly clean, but the salad was OK, and there was no place else in town to eat. One woman came out to talk to me and to smoke a cigarette. Most of what she had to say was lost in fits of coughing, though. So I didn't catch her name. She went back inside to rejoin the conversation there which revolved around France's world cup aspirations. Five minutes later she was back for another cigarette and more coughing, but no talk this time.

The route from Chalmazel to Montbrison descends, climbs, redescends, and reclimbs before finally losing 500 meters of altitude into the city. Actually, this seemed more strenuous than the morning, but I was still a bit tired, so it's probably not as bad as I thought at the time, if that makes sense. I found the campground in Montbrison easily enough, although the signposting is for the benefit of motorists rather than cyclists so one gets sent down some rather busy roads to get there. The site itself is actually quite nice, placed in the old village of Moingt, which has been absorbed by the city of Montbrison. I went strolling in the village for a while to kill time before dinner. The map indicated the ruins of a roman theater, but after wandering around lost for a while, I stopped into a bakery to ask directions. The ruins, such as they were, were up a side street and down an alley where you can peek through a hedge into an open field and see the one remaining wall of the theater. A bit of an anticlimax, to say the least!

Unexciting pasta for dinner, then early to bed. I was awakened once in the night by the cheering when France had beaten Switzerland in the world cup, but aside frome that a peaceful night.

On my way up.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Farther up. Winds must be fierce around here in the winter!
Heart 0 Comment 0
I made it!
Heart 0 Comment 0
The view at lunch in Chalmazel
Heart 0 Comment 0
All that's left of the Roman theater in Montbrison
Heart 0 Comment 0
The old village gateway in Moingt
Heart 0 Comment 0
Street scene behing the gateway
Heart 0 Comment 0

Today's ride: 91 km (57 miles)
Total: 398 km (247 miles)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 1
Comment on this entry Comment 0