|Climbing the Gorge de Nesque|
The following day was as promised-lovely and sunny, but cool. We cycled off to the Gorge de la Nesque. The Nesque being the river, and the gorge cuts through for about 10 miles or so. This has to be one of the best cycles we've ever done. The high level road enters the gorge and contours around climbing at a gentle gradient, with great road surface, extremely quiet at this time of year, with stunning views deep down into the gorge, and the road ahead weaving around every pine-clad, hilly bend. Absolutely breath-taking! On leaving the gorge, we aimed for the hill-top village of Sault, famous for its hundreds of acres of lavender fields. Unfortunately at this time of year, they'd all been harvested, so no beautiful, purple fields, but the fragrance of lavender in the air. Ham sandwich and juice in Sault, where we could have had lavender cordial, lavender honey and lavender tea, and then we were on the return leg. Unless we returned the way we came, the most logical, if not sensible way back was over le Mont Ventoux, for the second time in three days. But Ian told me that the way up Sault was known for being the easiest of the three celebrated ascents, from Bedouin, Malaucene, and Sault. The climb up from Sault is quite easy, with gradients of 3% and 4%, and you emerge at the Chalet Reynard, with 4 miles left to the top of Ventoux, which you don't have to do, if you don't want. But I'd have been mad to miss it, on this sunny, clear day, with views for miles around. After a brief stop on the way down at the memorial to Tom Simpson, which I'd passed the last time, it was quick hot coffee at the Chalet, to warm up, before the speedy, and easy descent into Bedouin and home. Ian had been back a while, not having stopped for photos and savouring the moment! Just less than 60miles and 6000ft ascent, but more importantly one of the best day's cycling I think I've ever had!