I’ve briefly mentioned Col de Cabre in my post ‘A couple more cols…’ of 31 July, but here it gets proper treatment, as it well and truly qualifies for the 1000m+ treatment.
If you’ve been cycling from Die, heading south east, this col, on the main road, the D93, is the last escape out of the mighty Drôme valley: at the western end it finishes in the flatlands of the Rhône, but the Drôme is bordered by sizeable hills east of Crest, and sooner or later you’ll have to go over a biggish col to get to another valley.
From either side the climb is neither steep nor very long, as the land on either side is already quite high: 750m on the Beaurières side, and 890m on the La Baume side. The views on the eastern side are more extensive, as on the western side there is much tree cover. Also note that the road on the western side is almost entirely in the shade in the winter months, being north-facing, so will stay icy or frosted even on sunny days. Oh, and don’t expect to get refreshments at the rather dull col itself: I’ve yet to see the café open. If you’re a Latin scholar, however, there’s a monument there for you to translate instead.
Of the two descents I prefer the western side, as it’s long enough to get into, and has a nice mix of bendy straights with good visibility, and a few hairpins. The lack of views is made up for by a fun road which needs your concentration. The surface is mostly very good, but there are a few patches to keep an eye on on both descents. Surprisingly, perhaps, it’s not a very busy road, but you will find the odd heavy lorry on it.
I’ll be uploading videos to Youtube of both descents in due course.