Rites of Spring

Please excuse the musical pun, but today’s forecast had been very Spring-like at yesterday’s viewing, so I planned another longish ride to celebrate. (In fact, by this morning the forecast had altered to suggest rain by the evening, but my mind was set, so I stuck with my plan: a route to La Charce, then across to Saoû, and then back via the D93.) 90 miles, as it turned out, many of them warm and sunny. Spring. Definitely. Well, mostly.
Weather-wise, this week has also been notable for the strong north-westerlies, and today’s route was chosen to avoid any long slogs into an unremitting wind.
It was certainly a good route, with plenty to enjoy, both on the cycling front, and from the geological viewpoint. Apart from the famous formation at La Charce, I tried to snap a few of the eye-catching and varied roadside examples of exposed geology, much of it trying to fall down or getting washed away, while the French road engineers try to stop the geology falling on the roads, or the roads themselves following the geology down the mountain-sides.
And what of these rites of spring? From a cyclist’s perspective: riding without leg- and arm-warmers; finding a café where you can sit outside and glow in the sun; finding routes with several cols; and getting home to find that you’ve got tan-lines that identify you as a cyclist. On those criteria, it was Spring today. But I need a little more convincing yet.

In the photos you’ll see the four cols (plus bike),  geological features from before the Col de Prémol then La Charce onwards, the change of the weather back in the Drôme valley, and a Springy primrose on the road back home, as they didn’t feature in my autumnal collection of roadside flowers.

The route: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/7375252

On the ascent to Col de Prémol
Detail of the rock face – notice the vertical strata squashed in between the horizontal ones
La Charce’s famous rock structure
La Charce
The ascent to Berlières
The bike takes a jaunty angle
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