Mike Simpson

The Easy Day

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CCC2013 Stage Nine

Bedoin to Moustiers Ste Marie

221km with 3939m of climbing

Each Cent Col Challenge has a stage that is deemed slightly easier than the others, although it rarely works out like that. Over the years we've had atrocious weather that turned our easy day into another epic and even a 'slight' misprint in the road book, which neglected about 1000m worth of climbing. Today it was road works that we discovered would add between 15 to 20km to the stage, a little vague but we assumed it would be extra climbing. It's sometimes best not to listen to Phil too closely, he tends to be good at underestimating things.

We start up through the Gorges de la Nesque, as we get some great views of Ventoux. The diversion does mean we bag an extra col, the Negron, but it's the Montagne du Lure which is the highlight. Known locally as the 'little Ventoux' it's also nearly 20km long but slightly gentler. Lunch at the top was very special, wonderful views of Ventoux and the Drome region, local sausage and great banter. The rest of the afternoon is up and down but nothing massive as we take the undulations in our stride. You can tell things are not as daunting for the riders as we leisurely frequent cafes in the afternoon. The poor waitresses are the brunt of our 'been away from home too long' comments and learings. So when a 221km is deemed easy you know the previous 8 stages have conditioned you well.

Tonights hotel is fabulous, a very cool swimming pool and awesome food, as we relax in the evening sun in the picturesque village of Moustiers Ste Marie. Happy days.

Click images to enlarge.