Raid ride to the Cime de la Bonette (2802 m.), “the highest road in Europe”.as a day trip out from Marseille
Exhilarating ride up the Durance to the overview of the Lac Serre-Poncon. Any other day this would be fantastic enough: autumn golds and browns, empty roads and light wind, but not enough today for my raid to the summit of the Bonette (2802 m.) as a day trip out from Marseille.
The road from Tallard to Barcelonnette is challenging enough any day: sweeping curves and relentless uphill gradient along the gorge of the river Ubaye.
Riding onwards and upwards to the Cime de la Bonette - “the highest road in Europe” - more than a kilometre and a half vertically above the Ubaye at Barcelonnette (1132 m.): more curves and a lot more unpredictability than a track day.
Clear enough at the summit loop road and time to enjoy the views, the blockhouses from the Maginot Line and chat with some bikers from Bristol then a group of Austrians from Vienna there to try out the competition to their relatively local Stelvio Pass (2757 m.). which I rode last year.
And back down. An amiable ambience on the roads: today were the sporty specialist push-bikers rather than the angry urban warriors on holiday. Just a few motor-caravans and sports cars. I stopped at Halte 2000 for a raspberry tarte and a coffee. Marmottes calling away by the stream and bikers buzzing along the road just above whilst I chatted with two push bikers from the UK, one was fixing a tube problem (aka “puncture”).
Stop in Barcelonnette by the Dassault 312 twin-engine trainer plane on display and then down the valley of the Durance, hammer down, to see the sunset back in Marseille with dinner en terrace with cuisine from Terry chef plus a bottle of Sablet, Côtes du Rhône Villages red wine.