Col de la Croix de l’ Homme Mort
Shut up legs
The Col des Pradeaux had been hot work, so I waited until the sun lost some of its power.
The Col was on the doorstep of my Montbrison campsite on D496.
A steady 6-7%, a few drops to 4% and a 14% bump to keep things interesting
Smart thinking about waiting, I thought, until I started this climb.
The legs were not happy.
As with previous encounters, a swift word telling them to shut up and get on with it worked.
This late Sunday afternoon ride was quieter than the earlier morning ride (well, going up anyway) with only one car passing me.
Once I settled down, it was so easy riding.
It spread the stunning landscape of the Loire out before me. It was a pleasant change not to be riding a forest enclosed climb.
A final push brought me to the summit marker post.
No dead men or crosses were anywhere to be seen, but I wasn’t disappointed about. ?
Then a sign of life.
Another rider came up from the other side. He looked worse for wear, but alive.
We acknowledged each other, and I carried on past the finish point, to ensure a completed segment.
(I failed a segment last year on the UK top 100 by 50 metres and had to ride it again. I wasn’t falling for that one again).
As I span around, the rider, having taken a breather, was just about to clip back in.
Using my best French whistle, he paused, and accepted the honour of being a photographer of the day.
‘Somehow, he guessed I was English, so maybe my French was not quite that authentic yet.
Nearly a cross dead man
On the ascent I noticed a wood carvers’ cottage.
A must stop photo opportunity.
I set off down the climb with added enthusiasm.
Becoming engrossed in the scenery and keeping to 30mph to make sure I didn’t blindly fly past it, I failed to notice a bit of a problem.
WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD.
The light flashing of an approaching car instantly hit the DOH! button.
Ooooh, nasty, I could have been a cross dead man.
Someone stopping at the woodcarver’s menagerie must have been a highlight of the day.
Barking dogs appeared from everywhere to greet me (I think) and a large parrot in a nearby cage joined in harmony.
Still, photo opportunities are a must, but sadly, the sight of a camera silenced the parrot who promptly went back into his hut.
This climb is not as dark as it sounds, but it could have been.
So, a great climb, interesting descent, no dead men, or crosses, but apart from that, good fun.