This is a tough ride by anyone's standards!
Phil's swollen eye flared up overnight, so he sat the ride out and opted for medical attention today. His place was taken by a local expatriate, Colin Maxwell, who I've ridden with a number of times out in the Uzes area.
The first climb up to the garrigue is a decent lump to get over, and then we followed a number of back lanes and visiting the hill-top town of Lussan to take in the vistas, before taking the side-excursion to Les Concluses - a deep and dry limestone gorge - for a bit of sightseeing. Sadly the normally-excellent winding descent down to Verfeuil was replaced by loose chippings, so we gingerly picked our way down there to Goudargues to find limited supplies in the boulangerie and no sandwiches at the supermarche. Restaurant lunch it was then, with awesome salads consumed by all!
Replenished, the next stop was Montclus, a gorgeous hill-top town with a pont submersible - accessed down a steep and narrow road complete with portcullis - delightful!
Retracing our steps a little, and braving a couple of rather gratuitous hills, Cornillon was the next stop - another hill-top town (see the theme?), this time with an open-air theatre with balcony views over the countryside. The afternoon heat was beginning to make weary, and after the descent, we stumbled across an open Intermarche, where stocks of cornetto and water were found to be very welcome.
Our final tourist stop was at the Cascades de Sautadet waterfall at Roq sur Cezes, which triggered off a family holiday memory for Nick D, and gave us the opportunity to dangle weary feet into the cold waters for respite.
A number of climbs in the sapping heat followed, before another cafe stop at Cavillargues and the remainder of the ride home, meeting Phil at the post-ride refreshment stop. Tough day out, but very rewarding.