57km Crest to Chatillon en Diois
The clouds were an ominous grey as we poked our heads out of the tent this morning. It looked very much like rain and we listened for the drops the whole time while we ate our porridge, did the dishes and packed up our bags. We took everything down under the tarp and then finally decided to make a run for it, hoping to cover at least a few kilometers before the skies opened above us. We left the campground, crossed the Drome river and cycled east alongside the rushing waters, swollen from much more rain than is usual for this time of year. Vineyards lined the steep hills that make up the Vercours, foothills to the Alps, and we stopped for a morning break at a memorial to the French resistance in World War II. In 1944, along these now pleasant banks, the Germans fought fiercely with local regiments and many villages were burned. With the beautiful scenery, the mountains rising in front of us, we were in the town of Die for lunch before we knew it and still not a drop of rain had fallen on us. We took our time in the afternoon, dawdling along minor roads to Chatillon en Diois, where we found a campsite set beside a rushing river and with the mountains now towering close to us. We can just see their peaks through the mist that hovers a few hundred meters above our heads. Tomorrow we launch ourselves towards the Col de Menée – at 1,457m it will be our first real test as we approach the high passes of the Alps.