This morning we had a good breakfast, as Col de Vars was on the planning. This mountain has been part of a Tour de France stage, as a 1st category climb. But more on that later.
The first part of the ride was more or less rolling terrain, along the Durance river. After about an hour in, it was time to conquer the mountain! It is a 1st category climb mainly because of the length. The climb spans around 19km, averaging a 5,7% incline. About halfway the climb you get a brief moment to relax the legs, as there is a short decent.
Along the climb, you are greeted by the most astonishing views.
Everyone stuck to their own pace. After the short decent you come through a village, where there was a waterpump to refill the bottles. The final part of the climb was amazing, but I was also a bit confused. As I only recall the villages in winter when I go snowboarding. As it was early in the season there were still some spots of snow.
Finally we arrived on the top of the mountain! There is a small restaurant to order some food.
Most opted for this delicious nutpie
When regrouped, we couldn’t resist to act like a tourist and have a picture taken with the sign of the summit. Sadly, the guy who took it, forgot to incorporate the actual sign….So this is us with the post of the summit sign..
While enjoying the pie, a particular sign held my interest….it stated that the slope of the round would be a 10% decline, and as I am not the best descender….it put me a bit on edge.
But, no way back, so downhill we went. As before everyone on their own pace. I took it a bit slower then average, but all was fine. After all the steep sections, everyone waited for me to regroup. From here on out it would be rolling terrain, al be it mostly downhill, but at a small percentage. As the speed went up, we started to ride in a single file and made really good progress into the gorge. I rode in the last position.
I still don’t know how, but before I know it, I was flying along the street, but without bike…my first major bike crash. I instantly had 2 deflated tires. The group immediatly stopped, and checked on me and started to replace my tires. I checked the damage and walked it off.
It could have been way worse. The main injury is on my left hand and my left knee.
After everything was sorted out, it was back on the bike. In the next town I used the fresh water pump to clean out the wounds as much as I could. While cycling I kept bending my fingers, as my left hand became more and more painfull.
On the final part of the ride there was another short climb.
On this climb I had another 2 flats. My outer tire was just destroyed. At this point we couldn’t do much else then call the campsite to come and pick me up. So we did.
When I arrived back at the campsite, it was just after the group arrived and went for the run. So I did what any athlete would do. Change shoes, and chase the group along the lake. I guess there was still adrenaline pumping, as I pushed around the lake in a 4.30-4.35 min/km pace. It felt good!
Time to recover!