The Impossible Steepness of Bouquet

Yesterday John, Anne and I climbed Mt. Bouquet from the west side, an insanely steep 4.5 km climb at an average of 9.5%. We all had great times, despite the pull of gravity, but alas, Anne was the only one who had a device whose Strava didn’t crap out on them. John and I will have to just tell each other stories about ‘that day we crushed Bouquet’, because no-one else will believe us…or more probably, care.

Well, not one to be defeated easily by technology (it defeats me over time instead), I rode out to climb Bouquet again, this time from the ‘easy’ east side, with it’s crazy ramps of 20+%. Here’s is part of my approach.

2013-05-20 12.53.51The poppies are everywhere you look down here at the moment, and they last forever, so not too late to book a flight! The climb was heart-wrenching, in the sense that it felt like my heart was being wrenched from my body, but good, and I set a personal best of 20:24, beating my best of last year by a minute or so. All this as I just get older every year. It can’t last forever.

Here’s is a dastardly steep section, looking back.

2013-05-20 13.49.20

And a particularly pretty view on the way down.

2013-05-20 13.51.44

And one more from the phone heading north to complete my loop. I could even see the Alps to the east today – snow-capped as you know, if you’ve been watching the Giro.

All in all a great 2-hr ride on some new roads. But really Strava (or my Android), next time record my ride so I won’t need to repeat these climbs. It hurts.

2013-05-20 13.55.12


19 thoughts on “The Impossible Steepness of Bouquet

  1. I in 5 is steep. I’m glad that you enjoyed it. Enjoy the winning moments in the battle between improvement and old age while you can. Old age is an implacable enemy in the end.

    By the way, I am surprised that you didn’t have a moment to stop and record the bird life that you must have passed on your way.

    • Thanks for the kind comment, especially considering they came from the only camera I have at the moment – my phone.

      I know you are right about old age, so I will keep up the battle till the pendulum starts swinging the other way.

    • the Photos are great.escape material.
      we had a guy 66 riding through in the group on Sunday we also had a under sixteen riding beside him.( I know this from his restricted Block.) at the end of 120kms..each one was trying to half wheel the other…

      Summer is here ,i heard two separate Cuckoo’s on Sunday
      (i hope it wasnt my name they were calling) 🙂

  2. Gerry, where is Mt Bouquet? I have a week in Vezenobres next month and if it’s near the town of Bouquet I thought I might give it a go.
    Loved the photos – am really looking forward to cycling in the area

    • Peter, it’s right up the road from you! If you get yourself on the D7, go north. When it dumps out onto the D6 you are at Mt. Bouquet. Then you have the choice of going left or right for the two climbs I’ve done. They are both brutal little things, so it doesn’t matter which one you chose!

  3. Hi Gerry,
    Sounds like its time to get a garmin. I’ve got the garmin edge 500 but the new 510’s are out now. And if you want to be really posh, get the 810. The one thing about the strava I do like but haven’t found that feature yet is showing the gradient of the climbs. Other than that I love my garmin. Congrats on your personal bests though. You keep knocking them off.

    • I think the Garmin is only a matter of time, Luc. On PBs, I think I’d be pretty depressed if I didn’t keep knocking them off with all the weight loss this year!

  4. Gerry
    rode this little beauty this morning, never would have known about it but for you – thanks.
    Was certainly glad my rental bike had a triple and probably wasn’t the best option for my first spin of the legs in a fortnight but very satisfying to get to the top. Not another soul to be seen at 7 am on a Sunday morning. We tend to ride early in Brisbane and people here think I’m crazy getting up at 5 to go for a ride.
    I’ll try your Cevennes loop out of Ales tomorrow.

      • Gerry
        Unfortunately I am getting 2 or 3 hours each day thanks to my good wife and children so time is limited. I only did the second half of the Cevennes loop but it was lovely. Today I did a couple of hours around the vineyards from Vezenobres to Uzes and back. Tomorrow (last day) I’ll head to Anduze and up into the hills.
        Thanks again, without your website I wouldn’t have known where to start.
        I’d love to come back some time with my own bike (not quite the same) and spend more time but am grateful for what my family has given on a family holiday.

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