Saturday, 14 June 2014

The Dauphine powers through the Drome

The thunderstorm yesterday evening hadn't made the slightest difference to the daytime heat.  Fortunately the night time is pleasant and even cool at about 3am.  Pity we can't cycle then, but I am going to have to get myself going much sooner than the usual 8am start.  Up at 7am, but not away until 8.  Need to nudge that nearer to 7am.  Lovely start to the day, on my favourite road over to Malaucene, weaving through pine trees and pineapple-scented broom, with far-reaching views over the hills of Provence.  On to Vaison-la-Romaine, with its Roman heritage, and eventually on to Nyons, of black olive fame.  Out to Curnier, about 8miles east of Nyons, on the main road to Gap.  Here we paused for over an hour waiting for the Criterium de Dauphine to come through.  A pre-cursor to the Tour de France, it's often held in Lyon and the surrounding area of the Rhone-Alpes.  Froome won it last year, and has won two of the seven? stages so far.  Contador and Nibali are also in the race.  So we hauled up in a nearby cafe and downed two cokes and a piece of apple pie each, sitting in the shade as the temperature climbed up to 38'C!  The front runners powered through at speed, eating up the gradual climb to the top, where we were waiting.  A good five minutes at least elapsed before the peloton, led by the Sky Team, with Froome in yellow, surged past.  A couple of water bottles we thrown clear and nearly took us out, cheering at the side of the road!  I picked up a Europcar bottle, that I like to think may have belonged to that housewive's favourite, Tommy Voekler!
Right, off again, being only half way round our planned route, and because of the delay, we were getting towards midday and the heat!  Over the biggest climb of the day, the Col d'Ey, 717m.  Not much shade on the climb up, but not too steep.  The descent off to Buis-les-Baronnies, where we stayed last year, was stunning, with views stretching out to Mt Ventoux.  The Drome-Provencale region. Lovely descent, and a lovely ascent for a future time.  Time to sit in the shade again, and another coke and a croque-monsieur.  Off again to Entrechaux, and up and down to Malaucene again.  Last climb of the day up to Col de la Madeleine, and over to Bedoin.  66 miles, about 4200' climbing, and unbelievably average temperature of 99.7'F!  Sat with feet plunged into cold water, in an effort to reduce body temperature.

No comments: