Went to Die and Ended up in the Vercors

I spent most of my ride today thinking about how I was going to use the name of my start village in this blog title. I’m sure you could have done better.

But I really could have died on this ride into the formidable Vercors. The wind on the way up and down the 20 km climb to the Col de Rousset was Ventoux-esque in its ferocity and perhaps even worse because it couldn’t decide which way it was going most of the time.

Looking back from where I came. A view to Die for, I’d say

I felt really good on this climb, even with the crazy wind, and got up it much faster than I had imagined I would – the opposite of nearly every other climb I’ve done this year. One reason might have been because it was 12C at the top. In fact, my whole ride never got above 15 or 16, once I got up to the heart of the park. I’m writing this 6 hours after the ride and I don’t even feel like I’ve been run over by a truck. I’m not sure I was born for Mediterranean summers.

Water fountains: never a problem when you get close to the Alps

I saw no fewer than 5 or 6 French Resistance monuments on my ride today. The Resistance was very active in the Vercors, which provided a good place to hide and nice, flat valleys for airdrops from the British and Americans. Below is a cemetary that commemorates a massacre of 600 Maquis and civilians in or near the village of Vassieux, just down the road. I passed a wall in that village with bullet holes in it, presumably from executions (I’ll stop next time). The Vercors was liberated by the American army a month later.

Then, after 2000 meters of climbing (that’s a whole lot for me this year), I got in the drops with index fingers at the ready for the hairiest descent of 2020. At least the wind created a nice, clear sky for photos.

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