Monday 23rd May – Ride Day 10:
The 10th and final day of the France en Velo trip took us from Les-Salles-sur-Verdon to the finish line in Nice after over a combined 1,000 miles of cycling.
Devastatingly, the day will be most remembered for Johnny’s accident when he was clipped by a van descending from the climb out of Castellane after lunch. Johnny should thankfully make a full recovery but after 2 1/2 hours at the scene was transferred to Dignes-les-Bain hospital where following CT scans a head injury was ruled out but the damage to his ribs and collarbone will take time.
The day had started with an early breakfast (and counting of the empty beer bottles from last night so we didn’t cheat the honesty box !) and departure around 7.30am
Right from the lakeside start, we hit a long, winding and steep ascent up through the village of Aiguines and into the Parc Naturel Regional du Verdon. The climb was as breathtaking, due to the incline, as were the views when we hit the gorge proper 😱 … the route then followed the entire 25km length of the gorge which, apparently, is second in size only to the Grand Canyon !!
During this section we passed the highest point of the entire ride, at 1180m – the source du Vaumale – before continuing along the ‘Balcons de La Mertla’ which offered by far the most spectacular views (and consensus seemed to be the most spectacular of the entire trip !).
After a welcome coffee stop at Bois de Siounet, we descended through the spectacular hillside town of Trigance to our lunch stop in Castellane, dominated by its hillside church. The shared pizzas then helped us up the final climbs of the trip, up to the Col de Luens before beginning our descent towards Nice/Grasse where Johnny had his accident.
Bligthy (as the pseudo linguist 😉) went, along with the van, to the hospital whilst the rest of the group descended in a sombre mood, albeit through a beautiful valley, into Nice where a surprise party (of Tom, Sam and Jack) witnessed their arrival on the Riviera 🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉
What a memorable, challenging and impactful experience this whole road trip has been for all of us. Starting with the tragic circumstances of Tim’s family bereavement to the trauma of Johnny’s accident and with all the highs and lows in between of the consistently changing beautiful parts of France we’ve experienced, the unseasonably high temperatures, consistently in the mid 30C’s, we’ve had to endure (but far preferable to the rain and Northerly wind we could have had 🤔) and the crazy variation in the accommodation we’ve stayed in and the cuisine we’ve experienced …. and perhaps more than all, despite already being close friends, the camaraderie we’ve had throughout the 12 days here ❤️
A massive thanks to our sponsors (and to those that have sponsored us) but above all to Jonathan & Miles for the consistent support (practically, physically and emotionality) they have given us throughout this adventure 🥰
How do we follow this 🤔 …. tbc