Published: 31 March 2015
Riding my RR above 1000 m. altitude on the clock change weekend, before the end of March...
Facing south, the many hairpins and steep curves of the Col du Rousset make it a favourite "interesting" route diversion from the "Route Napoléon", which is maybe the more obvious biker route between Lyon, Grenoble and the Cote d'Azur for Nice and Italy.
The Col de Rousset is at the south of the Vercors so the view at the summit is north towards the world of deep valleys and snow. Through a tunnel at the summit, the views change to pine trees and the skyline of Provence and the promise of the Mediterranean, including warm sunshine much appreciated by bikers going south.
The route onwards to Provence is over the Col de Cabre, 1180 m., which I had run over the previous day, well wrapped up with my bike fully-loaded for a weekend.
Sunday morning after the clock change, the air was still a bit fresh but the road was dry. Very little other traffic except for a club of classic sports cars. Not a bad place for a morning building up my road skills, then riding back down to Die for an apéro and lunch with my friends there.
Published: 31 March 2015
A hike of many cols and a visit to an aeronautical crash site on the plateau Justin of the Montagne de Beaufayn. First, we enjoyed the view from La Croix Justin, 988 m., overlooking the town of Die on the river Drôme under the southern cliffs of the Vercors massif.
Under cliffs and walking on exposed rocky ledges typical of these limestone mountains, we hiked on to the Pas de Tripet, 1093 m., then Pas de la Dame then the Col de Beaufayn 1099 m., visiting a different aircraft crash site than this week's A320 crash nearby at La Seyne, also in the Pré-alpes. This unfortunate glider failed to over-fly the Col de Beaufayn about twenty years ago. Some twisted metal survives amongst the leaves in the forest; the two pilots did not survive.
Then on to the Pas du Corbeau, Pas de Reynard, Col du Lion, 1001 m. and the Col du Loup, all on the Montagne de Beaufayn. Although the altitudes seem quite similar, our total altitude up was 333 m. plus the same down as it was a cirular walk.
Again lucky with the weather. Die is on the frontier between the northern and Mediterranean systems. It still surprises me just how few birds live or pass through there, not many sparrows or blackbirds at all, although there are a very few large native raptors. A few primroses and wild crocus in flower amongst the autumn leaves now dried by the winter winds. Now past the equinox, as the day lengths increase, the plant life will come on fast, even at altitude.