Distance: 30.2 miles. Elevation: 4370 ft.
Col de Vars | Col de la Viste
The Col de Vars wasn’t particularly on my list, but as I was in the area I thought I’d tick another one off. When I say ‘tick it off’, of course with most cols you only get to half-tick them, having only climbed one side.
I dictated a report into my phone at the col. Photos were interspersed later at roughly the right points.
Just reached the col. It was a bit tougher than I was expecting. There was about 4 miles at 8%, which I was expecting, then the easier bit, but the last section wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be – there were some irregular gradients, some of them steepish.
The road came to quite a nice village – nicer than I was expecting and I thought that’s not too bad.
But then I went through the ski villages I had heard about and they looked attrocious, the last one being just a building site.
The air is very cool but I’m keeping warm enough. I put my arm warmers on at Vars and didn’t regret it – it really is quite chilly. The strange thing about today’s ride is about a mile and a half into it I suddenly wondered if I had my helmet on and I reached up with my hand to find that I hadn’t! The reason I’ve forgotten it is because I moved it off my passenger seat where I keep all the bits I need for my ride just before I set off. Still I find it really weird that I cycled away without it though. Consequently my head is not feeling as warm as it normally would have been.
This ride is nowhere near as spectacular as the recent ones I’ve been doing – it’s not as wild – and then it ended up going through those horrible ski resorts. Only the last section really is more natural and certainly looks amazing just sitting here at this picnic table.
I mean you’d kill have a view like this in the UK – well certainly in south-east England at least.
On the climb I had a banana in two stages and then an energy gel in the last ski village I think. So I’m just sitting at this picnic table with the most amazing view and I can’t wait to eat my HDM sandwich after getting my rain jacket on to guard against the chill. I’m wondering what it’s going to be like on the descent without having a helmet to keep my head warm, although I do have my snood so maybe I could put that round my head.
Report from end of ride
I only heard one marmot today and that’s when I was at the col. It was a lovely descent – the road surface was excellent, except through the ski resorts, where it was quite bad in places.
At one point I thought there was something behind me but I couldn’t hear anything. It was a bit confusing for a while, then it turned out to be an electric car going quite slowly, so almost silent.
My snood wrapped around my head worked well on the descent and my head was warm.
The shady parts of the decent were really quite cold so I was glad to have the sun on me most of the way.
When I got back into Guillestres it became extremely windy again so I can only assume that it was windy down here all the time but calmer up in the mountains, luckily enough
The road to col de Vars is not as wild as some of the other places I’ve been lately and it has that manicured appearance near the bottom and the ghastly ski resorts to contend with. However the top section is nice. And the good news is that the other (south) side looked amazing when I drove down it in my van the next day. So that is now on my list.
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