Cruas to Châteauneuf-du-Pape - Retyrement on 2 Wheels 2 - CycleBlaze

June 1, 2018

Cruas to Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Record run and climb through vineyards with Provence on the horizon.

June 1 Friday 

Cruas to Châteauneuf-du-Pape 

105kms 

Record run and climb through vineyards with Provence on the horizon.

Leave Cruas feeling reasonably rejuvenated despite fairly basic amenities and an overly cheerful camp commandant who tells us there was no wifi because either it is broke or he is.

Up close and personal with Cruas power Station.
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The route for most of the day is fantastic- sealed flat and rolling. Whisked through to Montelimar and on to Viviers the episcopal city. These towns have houses, churches and castles built into the limestone and basalt rock which makes quite an impact on the horizon. We meet some cyclists keen to cycle the Ardeche hills for some variety. Today we are more in the mood for the smooth flat track.  

Rochemaure
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Hilltop castle ruin Rochemaure.
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Suspend your disbelief- exhilarating bridge crossing with a hint of Disney in the towers.
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The Rhone
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Spend most of the day cycling on big chainring and reaching head spinning speeds of 25+. At Pont Saint Esprit we take an unexpected deviation across two conjoined bridges - cars good at giving us space- only to find at the tourist information on the other side that we will have to return to find the route. Compensation comes in the form of 1 litre of tangy cold lemon squash- got to get that recipe!

Châteauneuf-du-Rhône
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Castle at Châteauneuf-du-Rhône.
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Wildflowers at Viviers.
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Grand rock at Viviers.
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Pit stop at Bourg-Saint-Andéol.
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Monument to war dead from 1944 bombing. The bridge seems to have been the target.
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Castle embedded in rock at Mornas.
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Where we’ve been and where we’re headed.
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The landscape is definitely flattening out and the horizon broadening. Suddenly it’s Provence. Still greenish but with an undeniable tinge of summer heat exuding from the soil. And houses of yellow stone which are lower, wider, with  more gently sloping gables.

This provisional route is generally well sign posted for for the Via Rhona and will be great when finished. By 3:00pm, having already completed around 60 km and passed Caderousse, we decide to head for Châteauneuf-du-Pape- another 40km. The route is partly on very quiet leafy roads passing country mansions hidden in trees.

Flattening landscape.
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Distant Provence.
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Stony soil of Châteauneuf-du-Pape vineyards.
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Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
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The final haul to a campground named something like ‘La vie de libre’ takes  us through countless vineyards in the early stages of growth, and stretching for acres, and steeply UPHILL! A little challenging for the end of the day. On the other hand, the downhill stretch is heaven - long and gentle with views to the blue horizon, where must eventually lie the Mediterranean. 

The campground is hosting a conference of motorcyclists. Very upper middle class bike riders whose mounts mainly comprise BMW and several  other illustrious brands. Hardly a Harley among them though. Are the anti Trump tariffs biting? They have  a band playing fairly innocuous covers of the Fleetwood Mac variety and their lead singer belts them out for all she was worth as we dine on porc and olives casserole with frites. ‘Go your own waaaaaay....’ And we do.

Later wrapped up in our tent, Ann ventures  to suggest that they were of an age to retire early and that the wailing has  finished. She is  wrong, but after 105kms nothing matters .

Today's ride: 105 km (65 miles)
Total: 488 km (303 miles)

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