Sunday, sun, 24 degrees. Took the car to Pont-du-Loup a small cluster of houses where the Loup river leaves the gorge between the last of the lower alps.
The ride starts nicely uphill for about 9 kilometers with nothing more than a 5% incline, perfect way to get the muscles going. And it's spring, all leaves just out and everywhere you look there are flowers. Cycling uphill in the shade on a sunny Sunday morning, ahh.
25 minutes up to Tourette-sur-Loup where I took a left towards Le Caire which is the last cluster of farms under the Pic de Courmettes, a climb of 400 meters in just over 3 kilometers, that's a 13% average. 10% stretches seemed flat!
Once up I could follow a gravel road along the ridge until it rounded the corner along the gorge where it became a rather bumpy singletrack in a canopy of green leaves for a descent of 300 meters over some six kilometers.
Not that I was equipped for heavy duty downhill, my mount of the day was my trusted Ridley X-night carbon cyclocross with Campagnolo Hyperions and Tufo tubulars, a total of 7.5 kilo of carbon and titanium. But a light bum and holding the handlebars like a bird's nest and all was fine. Not to mention some gawping female spectators that always gives the daring an extra push.
Once down there's Courmes, a small medieval village nested on the hillside with wonderful views and one very nice restaurant with outside tables and much friendly banter.
Two and a half hours, some gratin des aubergines, truite au creme de l'ail, tarte aux noix, a glass of kir and a half bottle Bandol rosé later my restitution was completed and my chakras aligned.
Just a 9 kilometer wiggly downhill left, took that in good wine induced over-confidential speed.