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Published: June 25th 2017
This entry by Tom.
Hôtel de Milan still serves up a pretty good breakfast, which started at 7am. There was a plan to load the van out front at about 7:30am and get off to an early start. Even though this morning was almost cool, we were in the Alps at altitude--it was going to be yet another hot day soon enough.
Caroline’s plan was to shop the street market that was already setting up then ride in the van and help out with water and snacks on the route. I also tasked her with picking up some new cleats for me when Cycles et Sports opens. I’ve been doing a fair bit of walking in my bike shoes and I’m too lazy to use cleat covers.
I headed off with Dave, Linda and Michael but I had to stop a few times on the lower part of the climb to Col d’Ornon to handle a few text messages, so I climbed to the top alone except for the handful of fitter, skinnier riders who passed me on the way up. The morning was still cool and the road is shaded, so this was as nice as this
Nearly the whole gang was hanging out at the top when I got there. More photos. Then we started down. It was actually a bit cool with the wind from the descent combining with the sweat from the climb. Linda actually stopped for a cup of coffee to warm up her hands at the little café in Le Périer.
The rest of the route to the turn south onto N85 and the pleasant views of the valley was routine and so was the way to Corps along N85 except when the ladies in the van pulled up about 9 km from Corps to offer us water, energy drinks and snacks. Even though our planned lunch stop in Corps was close, there were still plenty of takers, including me.
Many of us stopped for lunch at our usual spot in Corps. Dave, Linda and Michael pushed on and so did Henry who set off on the alternate route over Col du Noyer. I might have done this myself but it was such a hot day with one climb behind and one more to go, that would be enough for me. I had a ham and cheese
omelette with salad and fries and it was delicious.
After wrapping up lunch, Don, Sue and I picked up some water at the little grocery shop on the main street in Corps before shoving off together. The plan was to follow the short piece of alternate route past Col de Manse to avoid the busy stretch of N85 into Gap.
There is a 12% downhill just past Corps. I topped out at over 70 km/h on the first, straight stretch but then on the second curvy part I hit the brakes a bit and also wound up in traffic. Don and Sue were ahead and I never caught up.
Came across Caroline, Luce and Donna at a roadside park having a picnic. Caroline had told Donna the story of Arthur, who hadn’t heard it before. Today is the second anniversary of us finding him in the Pyrenées, then bringing him home. We miss our little guys.
I stopped a few times to cool off and also to load the alternate route into my Garmin for the final climb and descent into Gap. It worked out well. The roads were very quiet and the views were nice. The surface along D292 could have been better but it had the benefit of no traffic.
Just over 1 km from our hotel in Gap, the Best Western there, I got passed by the van. I found out afterwards that they had been following me through the city since they figured I must know where I’m going! Reached the hotel, unloaded the bags, checked in, cleaned up, rested for a bit. No A/C but there is a fan in the room that we turned on and never turned off until we checked out.
Back down out front of the hotel at about 5:30pm--wifi in the rooms is sketchy but it’s much better near reception--I noticed that the van was gone. Tim had been taken to a bike shop to get his cranky freehub fixed. Returned not long after with a repair effected and nothing but good things to say about the shop that did it, which stayed open late to help him. Shout out to Cycles Denis Payany in Gap.
Also, Henry hadn’t arrived yet so Donna and Luce hatched a plan to drive up N85 looking for him and took off. About half an hour later, he rolled up to the hotel looking none the worse for wear.
Being nowhere near the centre of the city, there was really only one choice for dinner and that was La Boucherie next to the hotel. I had a very good and generous pasta+green salad and Caroline had a brochette, except her order got mixed up with Tim’s. Still, it all worked out as we split Sue’s french fries.
At about 3am a thunderstorm rolled in. Lots of light and sound and a fair bit of rain, too. That should cool things off a bit, finally.
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