So I’ve got this mountain in my backyard. OK, maybe it’s just a big hill, but it’s something that makes me breathe heavy minutes after leaving home. The good news is that my hill is also a military shooting range, which means, except for the occasional 20mm barrage, it’s really pretty quiet. But more on those guys later. I’ve found 3 routes over the hill. Here’s number one.
The 1st route takes me up straight up busy/fast D979, (with peeks of Mt. Ventoux to the east on clear days) down a really very pleasant 3-km descent through the Gordon gorge, and ending here, at St. Nicolas bridge, an impressive medieval structure that has straddled the Gordon River for 700 years or so.
This is the bone-dry Gordon. remember this for later reference.
Here is a shady photo of the climb back through the gorge. The grade is beautiful (if such things can be beautiful). On the way down it’s all coasting, with a speed that is not quite too much to have to use the brakes on the many turns, and going up is a constant few degrees, allowing a nice, steady rhythm, with 2 or 3 little steep inclines to keep you honest. Heaven.
At the top of the climb I can keep riding through the garrigues, or stop and listen to the live ammo. I don’t stop very often.
This is St. Nicolas ONE WEEK after that last shot was taken. We had a massive downpour of rain (2oomm in one day, I think) that flooded several villages and put Nîmes on the evening news for once. This area is prone to giant floods as evidenced by the ‘notches’ you see in every village around here, showing how high the flood of ’09, ’53, ’98, etc. came.