A col fest further south

Last time my French cycling friend Jérôme offered to drive a bit further afield, he took me on the memorable ride over the Col de Noyer, so when he suggested that we go on a drive and cycle, I jumped at the chance.

But the starting point surprised me slightly: La Motte Chalancon. Not that it’s not a pretty place in nice surroundings, but I’ve been through it enough times, and thought I knew the area. That feeling continued as we headed down to Remuzat. Ah, I know I should have trusted Jérôme.

Jérôme likes his cols, and though the first one (Soubeyran) was partly shrouded in early cloud (and sometimes completely shrouded), and the descent was spoilt by fresh loose gravel, the amazing view of Mont Ventoux easily compensated. The sub-1000m Col de Peyruergue took us out of this beautiful valley into the next.

The next col, Col de Perty (1302m), is another of the Drôme’s ‘routes remarquables’, and is truly worthy of the epithet, both on the ascent and descent – the views are breathtaking. (If I overuse that word, apologies, but I’m normally out of breath by the time I get to the top of a big hill,  even more so when it’s taken me 5km to overtake a rider who overtook me lower down the hill… I won’t mention that he must have been ten years older than me.)

The last two cols, Col de Pierre Vesce and Col de Reychasset,  both over 1000m, are both rather off-the-beaten-track, but both worth a visit. The latter, in particular, gives its height away extremely slowly, and you are treated to an extended descent to Verclause.

Here’s the link for the route: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/9612808


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