Pas de Peyrol
No one living can remember when
Car packing Tetris, then it’s off to the ‘Camping de Mon Village‘, at Murat. A choice of a site that is more for convenience than luxury.
The site that was about a 10% full and much in need of ‘some’ TLC. Of course, it was nice and quiet.
The Camping de Mon Village reminded me of Sandown on the Isle of Wight. It must have been a great and happening place once, but no one living can remember when.
A unique experience for me was booking a pitch.
There was no need for any personal contact.
You just filled your details on a screen, paid electronically, automatically received a car permit and that was it.
Three climbs near and plenty of time, the Pas de Peyrol looks the toughie and the furthest away.
I thought that Pas de Peyrol would be enough after finishing yesterday’s trio on the Croix Morand.
A quick refresh of the book, ‘There are 3 ways up the Pas de Peyrol, the hard way, the harder and the hardest’.
As this is a Tour de France climb book no prizes for guessing which one it will be.
I look good
The Peyrol segment started on the opposite of the mountain from me, of course.
I crossed over the Pas de Peyrol by car and the views were fantastic until you reached the summit, that is.
At the top, it was total mayhem.
The parking attendants busied themselves, guiding coaches and cars while people wandered aimlessly.
The tranquillity of previous climbs was certainly gone, and it was now 39%.
I performed the pre-launch checks, two bottles of water – check, SPF 50 – check, sunglasses – check.
Sunglasses? great to look the part and descending but totally useless for climbing in this heat.
After about 2-3 Kms they just sweat up and you can’t see a thing. I take them off then worry about losing them while climbing, but I look good ?.
The first few Kms were a lovely opening at about 5% where you just spin up taking in the views, then BANG!
Two sections of 13-15% with tight steep hairpins allowing you to check the exhausts underneath the cars crawling ‘avec prudence’.
The first serious climb on this adventure and so it merited a serious shirt. In fact, the best, the discreet Z Enfants/ Peugeot shirt.
(I saw this shirt in Braziers Cycles, Gosport, and it was like a nuclear disco beacon.
I couldn’t part with my £15 quick enough for a shirt they were uncertain would sell.
They put the shirt on a dummy an hour earlier: ‘From one dummy to another’ someone suggested) ?.
The further up the climb, the more the average gradient increased.
It wasn’t long before I wondered if the two 700ml bottles I had would be enough in this heat.
All the right notes
I heard the summit before reaching, but my apprehension of chaos was unfounded.
The coaches had left the summit, but there were still quite a few people there.
I decided an attempt to speed up despite being a sweaty mess and to do the shirt some justice.
No one gave a fig about my appearance or half arsed sprint attempt, of course, so all in vain.
I checked my time (as you do) and noticed the KOM time too. ?
The Morecambe and Wise sketch featuring Andre Previn and the punch line. ‘I am playing all the right notes but not in the right order,’ came to mind.
I can say with a shuffle of the numbers, I wrestled KOM from Tadej Pogačar with his 13:52 time against my 30:14.
Eye contact was unavoidable as I hobbled around, pushing a Ferrari red Brompton, and wearing the Z shirt.
Photographers to capture my moment were in abundance.
I descended ‘avec prudence’ as the traffic was unpredictable and a popular mountain top for practising three-point turns.
Although depleted of water (easily resolved) I felt great, but it was too bloody hot for another climb.
My other highlight of the day was visiting a Decathlon store to buy a new camping mattress.
My other mattress was a super lightweight expensive one but too narrow and as slippery as a greased pole to sleep on.
I like Decathlon. They have what I want, and of course, they had a selection.
I wanted the one that was inevitably the only one not displayed inflated, so I dithered.
The helpful young lady assistant, seeing my dilemma, asked if she could help.
She picked the short straw. Dealing with a Brit and having to blow up a mattress in the store caused much amusement to her colleagues.
I celebrated my new purchase with a can of coke from the in-store vending machine.
Clunk! It dropped into the tray.
I perched on a convenient bar/stool table nearby in the air-conditioned store was the ideal resting place.
Whoosh! and half the can of coke exploded over the floor. ‘F*7^ it’.
The staff member nearby saw the predicament and assured me it was fine, and he would get something to clean it up.
The coke now worked its way across the floor into every nook and cranny.
I said, ‘That’s what you get for letting the British in.’