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Cent Cols Challenge: Stage 4
Sisteron to Valberg
A cool crisp start with cloud hanging around the all sections of the 26km climb. The day got progressively hotter and clearer, the only respite being the cool breeze which came with altitude.
It was over the duration of today's ride that we made the noticable transition from the higher Alps to Provence. The architecture became less Alpine and more Med, the weather became less threatening, and I got a whiff of the distinctive lavender fields. The ride involved four 'big' Cols, all of them very different in character but equally testing.
The day started with a 26km climb through thick low clouds into an area of geological significance. Every so often we'd rise through the mists into an otherworldly, rocky landscape. Yet more spectacular were the descents, some were hairpin cascades down the sides of steep ravines, others gentle ribbons of perfect tarmac.
The arrival of the Lanterne Rouge caps (more on this later), a weight off my mind and nice surprise for those who've earned them so far.
More good coffee, this time presented by Ira just before the off. The man is pure class.
This morning, from spotless bike to filthy in half an hour. Damn. Ira took a tumble on a clouded decent. I thought his superb 'cross skills would keep him on after being driven into a rocky verge but it wasn't enough. He's battered and his bike is a wreck, but as I type he's fixing up Phil's bike to ride tomorrow. Chapeau.
Forgetting to take my camera out on the final 14k climb to Valberg because I was so intent on chasing down David Arthur's break. A stunning climb, which you can see zig-zag up ahead for miles.
Dinner of make-your-own crêpes. …fabulous food, but I think I ate too much!
Tomorrow's stage looks brutal. 218km, a lot of Cols and climbs up to 13%, and some of it through Nice and urban areas (I feel spoilt with how quiet it's been the last few days), I'm looking forward to it.
The clouds were so heavy you'd leave each one covered in a thick layer of dew droplets.
The run into Guillaumes, cutting through the rocky valley side.
- RT @rapharacing: A Rapha travel set is up for grabs in Alpe D'Quiz today, featuring a luxurious Rapha Skincare bundle and Wash Bag. → http:…
- Somewhat late to the party, but be sure to check out the film to the recent Gentlemen's Race in… http://t.co/RMZUDuxWRc
- A Rapha travel set is up for grabs in Alpe D'Quiz today, featuring a luxurious Rapha Skincare bundle and Wash Bag. → http://t.co/3n8XlqiNYq
- Cool to see our friends @chriskingbuzz representing in the mix of the elite men's race. #mycielo Parbo! http://t.co/L8g8gNofyR
- The masked man on the cyclocross course today was @jeremypowers. It was that cold. http://t.co/KztIjCYu4O
- Calm and confident on the snow - Katerina Nash is off to an early lead. http://t.co/8TynNP7Nho
- Mr. McDonald's tire choice for today's snowy conditions. Can you guess his PSI? http://t.co/2iHgOw6sUw
- They reopened the ice covered fly-over here in Bend. http://t.co/6xOs5BSd0W
- River City Bicycles racer Ryan (Dream) Weaver 2_wicked_awesome powered his way to a chilly 2nd in the… http://t.co/HDDjDnS99w
- Meanwhile over in Bend, Oregon it is a bright, crisp day for cyclocross racing. http://t.co/6lcDQK5UNX