55km Chatillon en Diois to Col Accarias
Our training for the Alps continued apace today as we cycled over three mountain peaks to reach our camping spot in the woods just outside the town of Mens. From the road we can see the truly high and snowy peaks of the Alps far in the distance – something to think about as we climb relatively low passes. We started the day with a 20km climb from our campsite to the Col du Menée, taking in views over high pasture land, filled with early summer flowers, and mountains all around us for as far as we could see. Three hours after we started and sustained by plenty of peanuts, chocolate and bananas, we finally reached the top and enjoyed a long downhill run to the picturesque town of Clelles and then along a fast-flowing river and back up again to Mens. All that hill climbing made us very thirsty so we couldn’t resist sitting down at a bar’s outside tables for a cold beer. The waitress brought us a local brew, an amber colour and not unlike some Belgian beers. Heaven in a glass. It gave us the energy to climb the last few kilometers up to the Col Accarias, past fields full of poppies and wheat. As we started down the other side of the peak we spotted a walking trail going through the woods and a little investigation just off the path revealed a flat, leaf-covered patch of ground: perfect for the night. We pitched our tent, enjoyed an evening meal of chorizo, lentils, rice and pasta and then settled in for a little recovery before another day of uphill pedalling tomorrow.