A Twilight Ride up the Col de Vars (2108m) from Guillestre - Queyras Regional Park

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Saturday, 22 August 2015

A Twilight Ride up the Col de Vars (2108m) from Guillestre - Queyras Regional Park

After a while away from big hills and bicycles, with just small rides in the Durance valley following our realisation that our road bikes really weren't set up that well for the gradients, we got a nice surprise offer to borrow a much more sturdy (but very heavy) hybrid bike for Esther from the farm we were staying on. Having felt disappointed not to be trying the few high, well known cols accessible from the Queyras we jumped at the chance and as the afternoon sun began to cool we decided to try an evening jaunt up the nearby Col de Vars. At a shade under 20km long and an average gradient just under 6% this was a serious climb, featured 33 times in the Tour de France since 1922, ascending more than 1111m over the distance with a few descents thrown in to make the average gradient quite deceptive. However, with our ride straddling the late afternoon sun, sunset and descending in the twilight with an amazing view right along the Durance valley it was a wonderful ride.
Plus it felt amazing to back on the high road passes of France together, grinding uphill and sweating making us feel as alive and vibrant as it always does.

Ride done on: August 22 2015




The view opens up along the Durance valley...


The clouds and afternoon sun create a wonderful, magical atmosphere....


A rare break in the clouds and the climb brightens up....


But then the sun disappears again. We start wondering if we have time to make it to the top after all....


Just keep pedalling....


Nearly there now, just a few kilometres to go....


Phew - we did it. It's quarter past 8 and about 5 degrees with a chilly wind, but it feels great to have made it to the top. 


Not much time to hang around though. It's getting dark quickly now....



But the sunset over the valley is hard not to stop to take a few photos of. Even though it was pitch dark as we rolled back onto the farm it was well worth the latish night. 

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