After a clear night, the temperature on the balcony in the hotel in Barcelonnette at 1135 m. was 0.0°C at about 0730, ie just before dawn. I hadn’t been expecting an early start but this was frosty with the frost even harder up on the mountain roads. It seemed sensible to seek the pretty autumn colours rather than head up to one of the high cols which surround Barcelonnette. I loaded my RR and set off towards more moderate cols and the sweeping road down the valley of the River Ubaye
Even with the morning sun warming the valley, there was still a nip in the air; it was difficult to have the confidence to ride fluidly and enjoy the long curves. The road was clear of traffic but treacherously alternating between dry and wet, depending on where the sun had melted the frost and warmed the tarmac.
Hazy cloud was building and by the middle of the day the blue sky was but a feature on the horizon and only in one direction. That’s where I headed: clearly the storm that had been forecast was arriving even earlier than the ever-revising forecasts on the weather apps.
Nonetheless, the air was clear and the views astounding, including the Lac de Serre-Ponçon and the golden colours of autumn. I did manage some fluid sportsbike riding but the drift of the weather was becoming evident; I headed back to Marseille under an overcast sky, content that I’d seized the moment between storms of late October.