Riding the Gorges de l’Ardèche
35 km of challenging, varied road which follows the cliffs above the Ardèche river through a number of limestone gorges. There’s only one full-on mountain hairpin corner but several blind summits, bottom-out curves in dips like at Brands Hatch, downhills towards a right-angle corner plus numerous and varied hilly curves and a couple of head-down straights. If you count there and back, it’s twice the Nürburgring or just longer than the Isle of Man TT course. And you have to keep a look-out for the animal life: this the rutting season for the wild goats, there are also sanglier (wild pigs).
It should have been a perfect day out, as good as it gets, riding my beautiful RR on a renowned road in dry, pleasantly warm weather after a classic Provence dawn. I had seen the sun rise over a stack of my bike leathers on the balcony, airing after a summer protected from the heat down in the garage.
But the perfect day ended bad. I was knocked off the bike by an erratic car on the way home, had far too much practice of my medical French vocabulary, including an uncomfortable trip through a body scanner and I missed the nice meal Terry was cooking for us back in Marseille. I was told the gendarmes had identified the car and driver who knocked me off but didn’t stop.
Wearing track-level kit protected me but even so I’m getting around on crutches whilst the fractures consolidate. Nonetheless the collision ruined my day out, has wrecked our holiday but it could have been a whole lot worse.