Col du Corbier
After the 2/10 experience of the Col du Berthiand, my only thoughts as I headed into the Alps du Nord region were a campsite, eating and sleeping.
I programmed my satnav and started driving, but I missed a turning and ended up in a commercial zone.
This was fate, I decided, a large Supermarche AND a Decathlon.
I can’t resist a Decathlon.
Always a good place to buy something cool, that I’ve always wanted 😉
Not this time, however. I walked out empty-handed and into to the Supermarche.
Mr. Bean and greed
Oh dear, the inevitable Mr. Bean on holiday moment was about to happen.
While picking up the things I wanted, I was tempted by the large plastic trays of Pain au chocolats.
A tray of 8 for 3 Euros, bargain, I’ll take two.
Confidently, I strode to the self-service check out. Feeling rather smug that I had coped with the system, I then picked everything up.
One box of my Pain au chocolats spilled to the floor. Despite being soft, they rolled in every direction while crumbling into what seemed like a tsunami of pastry flakes.
Some people kindly came to my help as I struggled to prevent even more spilling on the floor.
The assistant arrived and told me not to worry and that I could get another box.
I struggled to say sorry and offer apologies through my embarrassment and scuttled back for another box.
The 2 cms rule
Back in the car and already munching away, I headed to my new campsite.
My delight in arriving at my campsite with no further issue didn’t last.
It was closed, and it wasn’t even 7 o clock.
Normally this is not too much of a problem, as you can usually get in still to set up a tent and sort it out in the morning.
Not here. There was a security barrier, and it needed a card.
I parked up and looked around and spotted the reception phone number together with a message to ring and they will promptly respond.
I rang the number 9 times but there was no prompt to leave a message, it just rang for a few times.
As I despaired at there being no other campsites nearby an opportunity presented itself
A camper in his van was returning.
I learnt that the ideal distance between two cars while driving on French motorways was about 2cms so I jumped into my car and latched on.
Sweet and sorted, I was in.
The campsite was just right; it had lovely soft grass pitches.
The only fly in the ointment was the town funfair, and DJ Terry was banging out the tunes.
Abba (I would have thought they would have banned Waterloo),Boney M, 99 Red Balloons, etc.
He was very enthusiastic and obviously thought this was his big chance to impress all.
Anyway, back to cycling.
Like DJ, I had no rhythm.
Climb number one the next day, The Col du Corbier.
A 6K averaging 8% but with a few bumps over 10%.
The constant stream of motorbikes on the road to the climb made me a little wary, but fortunately, they weren’t headed to Col du Corbier.
I had read that this climb is a trap. It tempts you to ride hard, but if you do, you will soon fall foul.
I had already made that mistake on other climbs, so a cautious start was required.
The climb is a sequence of 9% then 11% jumps that didn’t allow you to establish a rhythm. These can really grind you down.
I was still feeling yesterday’s ride, so I was not in a mood to race.
It was only 6Km, but the Station de Drouzin station was a welcome sight.
It was a change to have a view at the summit. So many recent climbs have been up through a woodland or forest that stifles the oxygen and hides the views.