Col de Vars

Col d Vars summit

Date: 25th July 2023
Ride No. 95
Grade: 8/10
Location: Les Gleizolles


Segment ID:16645552
My Time: 1:05:26



Morning warmth

Now at the new campsite at a warm in the morning Barcelonnette and there are climbs in every direction.

Today it is the Col de Vars a 14.6Km ride up to 2107m and an 8/10.

My friend Rob was also keen to ride, but it was a case of being unsociable.

I was keen to continue my solo riding for the 100 climbs and so we rode our own rides.

We are good friends, and he understood the sentiment entirely.


All systems go?

Everything was ready and its “chocks away”.

The Garmin rings out its instruction to turn left and the first Km marker appears.

The summit is 14Km, the Garmin however displays it as 17.5Km.

Hmm, something is not right here.

“Make a U turn”.

“Loss of signal”.

“Make a U turn”.

I am not convinced by the Garmin; I know I’m on the right road, but there is, of course, a small doubt.

Reluctantly, the niggling doubt forces me to stop, check, and reload.

To save any later grief about missing start points, etc. I rolled back down the road for a Take-2.

The road is definitely sign posted Col de Vars, so back up I go.

The Garmin is still whining as I spin up the gentle 3-4% starting slope, but I’m pressing on.

Further up the climb, the gradient lifts to a 6-7% to two tunnels before dropping back again.


Legs! are you ready?

For an 8/10 rated climb, this is amazing, but it soon changes.

It’s the old game of two halves scenario as 10% and 12% lumps leap up in the now open landscape.

The Km marker reads 6Km to go, whilst the Garmin reads 10.2Km.

For the next 2Km, the Garmin sulked stubbornly by sticking at 10.2 before losing its GPS signal (again).

I am now starting to think that I’ve cocked up here somehow, but I can’t think where.

It’s a direct road, there were no turnings.


and as if by magic

At 4Km, the magic Garmin fairies appeared waving their wands

The Garmin sprang back into life with a 4.2Km left, which was close enough to the 4Km on the road marker to restore my confidence.

All is one and in harmony – ommm!

As I could now concentrate more on the ride, the final hairpins came into view.

They did not look nice.

There was pain ahead.

But no, they were only at 6%, very deceptive.

Go for it.


Waste of a good pose

Ahh the official photographer is on a bend so time to pose but like the yesterday he was too intent sitting on his backside despite my shout.

At the top, it was a motorcycle city and a few cyclists again, but the café was open and that’s what counted.