Mountains to Sea – 25 June

On this day

(well, the day before – it would appear not much was happening rugby-wise on any particular June 25th – please send a note if you know better) 

Cote Basque rugby team toured NZ in 1981 and played Auckland on 24 June. It is very unusual to have a tour by a French “Province”; they lost 19-16.  A good result none-the-less, all their other matches were won.

 Tour booklet - 1981 Cote Basque rugby team toured of NZ

Tour booklet – 1981 Cote Basque rugby team toured of NZ

Sixth ride – Penultimate day 25.6.14

Overall distance and altitude – 110 km / 2,747m

This final day was a suite of three hill climbs over twisting Maritime Alps backcountry – Col St. Martin (1,500 m), Col de Turini (1,607 m) and Col de Castillon (707 m).

Graphic Cols St Matin, de Turini, de Castillon

Graphic Cols St Matin, de Turini, de Castillon

Col St. Martin

Col St. Martin came straight off the highway to Nice, and went straight up an 8 to 10% slope and regularly up to 12%, twisting and turning, one switch back after another, through 1000m of climbing.

Col St. Martin sign
Col St. Martin sign

Col de Turini

Then a short flat ride to the start of Col de Turini, and another 1000m before lunch.  If the view looking down made the ride up look like Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”, then the strain on each riders face said it was pure purgatory getting there.

Iconic French engineering
Iconic French engineering
Purgatory on the Stairway to heaven
Purgatory on the Stairway to Heaven
Great coffee at the top Col de Turini
Great coffee at the top Col de Turini

Col de Castillon

A smooth, gentler slope to the top as two Kiwi riders crest the Col de Castillon.  Then all the way down to Menton, looking for Rue Web Ellis: just another 30 kms to go, heading for the Riviera, and Mediterranean Sea.

Cresting Castillon
Cresting Castillon
Descending under the Menton Viaduct into the sea
Descending under the Menton Viaduct into the sea
The end of the journey – The  Mediterranean Sea
The end of the journey – The Mediterranean Sea

A comment from Pat: For Garry and I, the French Alps were a serious riding challenge; for the French, American and British riders, it had the character of a weeklong training ride.  Their average age around 42 years, they were heading home for summer competition (bike racing).  For me, it was time for a rest and flat riding in the Netherlands – generally below sea level, and no hills.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s