Photo by Jason DeVarennes

Monday, October 22, 2012

One More Day to Climb

We had one final day for cycling in France and it was a exquisite one. We had such a nice time climbing Mt. Bouquet the first week that we thought we'd head back out and take Eddie with us this time. We decided to make it a shorter ride than our first journey, since we needed to get back and take the bikes apart and pack up all our stuff before getting a lift into Nimes where we'd stay the night before catching the train to Paris the next morning.

We also decided to approach the mountain from the opposite side this time, which would make it a completely different ride for us. The interesting thing about this approach was that we could see the mountain sitting out in front of us for miles and miles, where the route we took the first time left the climb as a sudden shocking surprise. We suggested to Eddie that he could bring folks he didn't like up the surprise way!

The conditions were also dramatically different from our previous ride. On this day we had a splendid cerulean sky overhead and a clear view out to Mont Ventoux far to the north. The first time we climbed Mont Bouquet, we had to rely on blind faith and the table d'orientation that there was a giant mountain out in the distance. On this day, the view was unobstructed.

The temperature was quite pleasant for climbing, and the descent was comfortable in knee warmers and a light jacket. Doing the ride in reverse essentially meant the climb was much easier, but the descent was a bit hair-raising, not to mention brake-pad burning. Remembering the brutal climb in the opposite direction, I started down first knowing that I'm a nervous nellie on descents, fully expecting the lads to blow by at any point. My hand was still quite sore from my fall the first day, and descents were where I noticed it the most. I stopped several times on the way down, to give my hand a rest and to take in the amazing view. I had not noticed the stunning view behind me the first time we climbed, but when we went back to look at the photos from that day, we realized there simply was no view that day, so even if I had been able to look over my shoulder while climbing a 20% grade, I would not have been dazzled like I was coming down.

After reaching the bottom, we all commented that we'd actually prefer to do the steep climb, rather than the steep descent. I guess this officially means I have become a climber! Or more likely that I will just never make a good descender. 

Wow! What an amazing part of the world! While we had to take care to bring food for lunch and snacks and needed to maybe do a bit more research about accommodations in the off-season, this is definitely an area I can highly recommend,  with its remarkable scenery, dramatic variety and sublime quiet tiny twisty roads. We will most definitely be back to explore parts we missed and revisit many places we loved.

I have one more post to do with photos from Nimes. I hope you have enjoyed these photos and stories and much as we enjoyed our trip, and that they might serve to entice you to visit the Cevennes. Sorry it has taken so long to get all the reports out. I had really hoped to do it in real time, but there simply weren't enough hours in every day, and to be fair, I preferred to spend that time riding and eating and drinking, rather than typing!

A view of Mont Ventoux

Eddie's Hetchins

Balancing on the edge of the precipice!


  1. Thank You for doing such a great job of keeping us informed on your great trip. I enjoyed every posting and every photo.
    After such a wonderful journey its hard to return home (for me anyway), but New England is not so bad. The color is still here and the weather has been wonderful.
    Hope to see you guys soon.


  2. These have all been great posts! pictures and adventures and bikes -- they had it all.

    thanks for documenting all this for us... i just wanted to let you know that we are certainly reading!