After a final gear reconciliation and general repacking, Andrew headed to the train station, and I headed to the Rhone. Andrew and I followed EuroVelo 17 part way around the lake, and I plan to follow EV17 down to the Mediterranean. I reviewed the map before I left the hostel, and realized EV17 doesn’t directly follow the Rhone. I’ve grown accustomed to the Donau, as well as the Aare and Wutach, with a cycle path generally alongside the river. The cycle path for the Rhone did not, which bodes poorly. I spent a lot of the day with a mountain pass visible in front of me off in the distance, while climbing up and down the sides of mountains.
As I headed out of town, I turned around. A clicking noise in the bottom bracket started a few days ago, and given Geneva’s expense, planned to wait until France to have someone figure out what’s going on. I realized it could be a few days until a major city, and if something is being damaged I should at least find out what. A bike shop took a quick look, and said it’s likely a bearing in the pedal or bottom bracket, but that everything appears tight, so it should be ok. They were too busy to be able to work on it today, so I headed out, at least having done the due diligence. I’ve tried all sorts of things to narrow down the issue, and ways to to stock the metronome-like clicking. Today I finally found one thing to mitigate the noise – going full-tilt. The harder I pedal, the less noise. Could be spending more time moving faster.
The challenge of leaving Geneva by EV17 was eclipsed by the challenges of following EV17, and the difficulty of EV 17 itself. I spent almost an hour getting truly out of Geneva, and EV1 proved quite difficult. The first 60 km today took most of the day. Roads don’t directly follow the Rhone in many cases (a good indicator of how mountainous the region), and between he climbing and trying to be sure I didn’t lose the route I grew frustrated. In those circumstances the tailwind didn’t help much.
I intended to visit Fort L’Ecluse, but that meant routing to the other side of the Rhone on a very busy highway for a long way. I passed up the opportunity, but had lunch across the river with a scenic view. The fort looked more like a WWII fortress, so I’m glad I didn’t add the distance.
It wasn’t until about 3:30 pm that I arrived at a long flat section on a canal, and made more rapid progress, reaching my third and final planned campground about 4:30 pm. With the next campground 30 km away, I was tempted to stop for the day. But a tailwind and the potential for a long flat run temped me away. I still had energy and daylight.
Withing the first 5 km I realized I made a mistake. The first 60 km took more from me than I thought. The rest stop sapped much of my energy, and the road changed back to aggressive climbing.
5 km later the road changed back to flat, and I started to pick up my pace. As I crossed a tributary and looked back over my shoulder …
I skidded to a stop. After a few pictures, I reviewed the GPS, with the only actual paths up kilometers back, and seemingly over the top of the mountain. I reversed course, and started looking for a more direct path up from below. Finding one, I locked up my bike, grabbed my flashlight, and began my hike up. Unfortunately signs marked the site private and closed, and I spent … a while … determining that the barriers in place showed that they meant it, which aso meant backing up to find the main trail would likely also be fruitless. A Google search shows the castle is part of Chartreuse de Pierre-Châtel, a 14th century monastery.
Not far from there I found my campground. The last campground in Switzerland was $24, plus $5 for four hours of Wi-Fi. This campground in France? $5 with wi-fi. A bit of an aberration even so, as I’m in the middle of nowhere about halfway to Lyon, but a welcome change. About eight tries later we got my Wi-Fi working; while I’m used to my command of spoken French slowing me down, the French method of writing letters meant multiple attempts at Registration to figure out the written differences in some of the characters
While my odometer reset on me today, last indications were roughly 130 km, a new distance record.
All of this room in my tent…