Puget Thenier to St Laurent du Var on the Cote d’Azur.
The climbing starts right out of the Hotel door after crossing the River Var.
The Climb up to Col de St Raphael was very nice – it’s upwards – but not for quite so long – its only 8km long with an average grade of 5.8% gaining only 465m of elevation. The other huge difference is that the starting altitude was about 400m so the air has just as much oxygen in it as it does at sea level. Additionally after having spent the last few days on cols over 2000m, I think maybe my body had made some short term adaptations which may be making the climbing a bit easier.
The first col of the day was reached on a lovely sunny morning. We had been very lucky with the weather on this Route des Grandes Alpes.
The onward route was on quiet roads through wonderful rolling countryside of the Provence Alpes in the Cote d’Azur region. It was lovely to feel the breeze like a hot air blower.
The D2211 is a very quiet road which undulates through the quiet countryside. On approaching St Auban the road is above a very deep gorge with waterfalls. The Clue St Auban is cut into the side of the Gorge.
It was great cycling along the narrow road perched above the gorge and going through tunnels.
After a brief coffee stop at St Auban there were a few kilometres of almost flat riding before the climb up to Col de Bleine. This was small fry compared to climbs on previous days. Just 4.4 km long with a climb of climb 275m at an average grade of 6.3%.
At 1439m this was the highest point of the day.
So after the Col de Bleine it was relatively downhill to the Mediterranean sea. Of course it wasn’t actually all downhill and there were some proper hills on the way.
The limestone scenery of Provence was fantastic. On the picture below the line of the road across the valley can be seen. It was a really enjoyable ride. So warm!
Eventually the roads were definitely heading downwards and just before Grasse the Mediterranean sea came into view. Slightly less scenic but nonetheless interesting is Grasse prison also in the picture below.
The route between Valbonne and Biot avoided the traffic but once through Biot we were on the sea front at Antibes. It was very busy with lots of traffic and people. To be expected as this is the French Riviera. I had to have a celebratory ring of the Cow Bell.
The destination at St Laurent du Var was another 10km or so along the Esplanade cycle track with its 10kph speed limit.
So the Raid Alpine was complete. 754km with 16212m of elevation.
Time for a beer.