Beziers to Valliguieres

A big overnight downpour cleared the air a bit which seemed to prove helpful today. Though not to my Brooks saddle which spent the night uncovered in the open and is now a slightly different colour from yesterday.

It was still quite overcast at the start of the day, which was a shame because Beziers is a very picturesque city and felt like it deserved better photographs than I was able to muster.

The day was split just about equally between quite D roads and bigger N roads, but the N roads were of the acceptably busy with decent hard shoulder variety and so were not too bad.

The first 50K was glorious! Consisting almost entirely of perfectly surfaced, tree lined quiet D roads with little or no wind to speak of. The overnight rain had left the roads just damp enough to reduce the rolling resistance without becoming slippery and my tires just seemed to glide over the surface.

All too soon I reached the outskirts of Montpellier where some of the shine was knocked of the day. What Montpellier lacks in charm and character it more than makes up for in traffic lights and one way streets and my average speed dropped by about 3KM/H getting through it.

However, once out the other side the flat and wind free cycling on quality roads resumed and the enjoyment returned, as did the sun.

A stop was forced on me just out of Marsillargues by, what I assumed to be, a wasp sting.

After applying some antihistamine a call of nature was in order, during which, I realised that I hadn’t been stung; it had been a bite from one of the hundreds of red ants in the foliage I was dousing.

Only there weren’t just hundreds….

I began to experience an eerie b-movie ‘stumbled into the monster’s den’ type sensation, as it dawned on me that everything seemed to be shimmering not from of the afternoon heat, but because the entire area was swarming with millions of ants. The road surface, in either direction, for as far as I could make out consisted of a slowly moving red hue and it was spooky!

The realisation was not pleasant and I decided to finish my business and get going before they decided they liked the taste of me!

From there the route skirted around the edge of Nimes and it was back onto the N roads and into the Rhone Valley where hills where back on the agenda, not steep, just more upward than the rest of the day had been.

However, the horizon was now becoming much more mountainous and it wasn’t long before I could make out the unmistakeable outline of Ventoux in the distance.

The route kicked north at Remoulins and I began to consider where I might stop. It had been a good day, I was still feeling fresh at 150K and considering stopping at Bagnols but, at 180K, it would have made for a short last day.

I decided to start looking for accommodation once the computer had registered 161K which, as it turned out, proved to be the hotel in the small town of Valliguieres just as the clock ticked over the 100 mile mark.

This was the last time on the tour that I would have to scout around for a place to sleep and it turned out to be the most picturesque of all of them.

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Day:14 of 15
Date:02 August 2007
Distance:161 KM
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