11/7/10: Again the tent was wet in the morning! I packed up and bought some croissants I had ordered the night before. My route today followed the exact same course as the Tour De France stage for the 14th July. The start was very up and down but no huge climbs, then I began the long but not very steep ascent over the Col de Noyer at 1646m. The valley which lead into this was, without exaggeration, probably the most amazing place I have ever been to. There was a great smell of pine all the way&it seemed to be a bit of a backwater so there were no cars or motorbikes or other people! I stopped for water at a house and the man who opened the door seemed very keen to tell me all his plans about where he would sit to see the tour when it came through his village. I had lunch at the top and then descended into Gap with another very small col before I arrived. I had foolishly forgotten it was sunday so couldn't find anywhere to get food for dinner. I cycled about 8 miles south of Gap to a campsite and set up camp. I managed to catch the last 15km of the tour-shame to see Armstrong crack so early! I cooked dinner with the remaining ingrediants I had (cheese,sausage,pasta) and will have to find somewhere to buy food tomorrow if I want breakfast. I then enjoyed watching the football with the numerous Dutch tourists in the campsite TV room.
12/7/10: After a dry night the tent and all my clothes were dry which made packing up far easier. I rode about 5 miles south to the nearest town (Tallard) to stock up on food and have breakfast. Todays route was relatively flat,more rolling hills between mountains and althought I did take in 2 Cols,they were small ones. I particularly enjoyed cycling up the 'Gorges de la Meouge' where I stopped for lunch and had a refreshing swim. In search of water, I approached a man in his garden and he soon invited me in for some ice cold lemonade. He was keen to hear about my trip and it was a good chance to speak some French. In the afternoon I was considering trying to make it over Mt. Ventoux, but as it was 5pm by the time I reached the foot,it would be about 8pm by the time I reached a town on the other side. I passed a bizarre bike shop just before entering the town. They had an enormous range of saddles and tyres and a few other bits, but that was all they sold. They didn't sell complete bikes, but did do repairs. I stocked up on chamois cream (if you don't know what that is, it's best to remain in the dark!) and managed to get them to oil my chain. I got chatting with them, and asked about Mt. Ventoux and how long it would take. Surprisingly none of them had ever done it despite living about 5 miles from the foot of it. I decided to spend the night in Sault, a really nice town with a huge Camping Municipale. Unfortunately the pitch they gave me had ground like concrete so I couldn't get my tent pegs in, still better than having soggy ground! I chose a better slot nearby.