Carbs in the form of pasta to eat last night to give us energy for the big ride 😊. Such a lovely quiet place we’re parked at, only a field - but so good to look out at stars through the hatch instead of trying to escape the dreaded street lighting.
This morning was about the coolest it’s been in Dave, about 12°. Had our breakfast and psyched ourselves up. Packed bananas, and more carbs plus 3 litres of water - just in case. We both wore our ‘baboon’ bums - cycling shorts - knew they’d finally be useful! Also took fleeces and our coats - just in case! Obviously a brownie in my youth - be prepared!
We took it fairly easy, and found that 6/7 mph on the steep parts was a good compromise. We tried not to stop too often for water, as it’s hard to get going again! We overtook people, then they overtook us - it wasn’t packed - just enough other people doing it to realize we weren’t just mad. However, think we only saw three other people on electric bikes. Most seemed to be the lycra-clad old boys - who do brilliantly. Also some young fit men just doing their daily ride!
The following is taken from Epic road rides:-
1. The easy warm-up: 0-5.5km:
You leave Bédoin on an open, relatively gentle road through vineyards, olive groves and cherry orchards. After about 3.5km you pass through Saint Colombe, an attractive village with some hotels/B&Bs and a few restaurants.
2. The forest: 5.5-16km
After Les Bruns and the St Estève bend, you head up into the forest on a wiggly, merciless road through the forest. The gradient rarely drops beneath 9%, the road is quite narrow, and sightlines are poor.
3. The lunar landscape: 16-21.5km
At Chalet Reynard, you leave the forest for an unforgettable six kilometres through the white rock to the summit. The gradient reduces for a few hundred metres as you leave Chalet Reynard, but be prepared for wind as you leave the trees; if you don’t get a brutal headwind, you’re lucky!
At around 20km, you pass the memorial to Tom Simpson, and many choose to make a stop here.
The road down can be hair-raising. The gradient is severe, the road is often wet, there are multiple hairpins and strong gusts of wind.
Sadly, my battery stopped working with over two miles still to reach the top. It was hard work pushing the heavy bike! Tintin’s battery lasted about another mile.
My motor is a Bosch active, with a 400 Wh, whereas Tintin has a Yamaha motor, with 500 Wh.
Anyway, neither made it to the summit riding, but at least we both made it to the summit pushing our bikes. I’m a bit peeved, I have four settings with turbo (4) giving the most power - I never even used it today as I was trying to conserve my battery - haha!
Wonderful views all around. Think we were very lucky with the weather, was nice and cool in the forest area, and even on the last part, a bit of a breeze (no really strong wind) - the sun was out, no cloud cover - perfect!
Really glad we took our coats for the descent - which wasn’t as bad as I’d feared. Got up to speeds of 33mph, and it’s fair to say that flying bugs hurt at that speed!
It almost seemed we were coming downhill for too long, which makes it even better that we managed to ride up.
Think I was the only person riding in sandals!
There will be people out there who say it’s cheating doing it on electric bikes, but, we still rode steadily uphill for over two hours, and then personally I walked for at least thirty minutes too.
So, door to door was 27.5 miles - not bad for a morning’s work!
Had a well deserved cup of tea/coffee. After a shower, walked into town - and very unusually for us, bought t-shirts. We’d seen them yesterday, but thought it would be premature to buy them in case we didn’t make it!
We’re staying here another night, as neither of us can be bothered to get everything out and decide where we’re going next!
More photos from today