A new col for me, and an unexpected delight: the Col des Limouches, east of Valence and Chabeuil, and one of the main routes up to the Vercors plateau. I’d been planning to ride up this road anyway, but I was doubly keen having just finished Paddy Ashdown’s truly magnificent ‘The Cruel Victory’, which charts the story of the Resistance (Maquis) on the Vercors leading up to the horrific days in July 1944. I’ll be devoting a posting to the book in due course.
Anyway, prompted by the importance that Chabeuil had in that history, I visited the pretty little town on the way to the col. (Incidentally, I’d avoid the main road to Chabeuil from Crest: too busy and relentless to be much fun. I diverted to roads to the east, and though poorly signposted (take a map!), they offered some great views and nice riding.
The ride up to the col is a mini classic Alpine ascent: with hairpins and ever-expanding views across the Rhône plains over to the Massif Central, the gradient is steady. The col itself (1086m) is unexceptional, and the short descent into La Vacherie is over in a trice, but I imagine a return descent back down to Peyrus would be thrilling, with its nice mix of straight, curvy and twisty bits to negotiate. (If you do carry on south from La Vacherie, the descent to Mirabel et Blacons can be a rollercoaster ride if you have a tailwind. You’ll pass over the 978m Col de Bacchus, which I mention here as it won’t be getting its own entry!)
As usual, a pile of photos to tell the story…