I thought I had my timing worked out perfectly for a drive up to Alès and a hilly 40 km ride before catching the pros at the Col de Portes, a few kilometers into the Cèvennes. I was nearly foiled by the remarkable traffic on the ‘rocade’ (ring road) of Alès, which took me nearly as long to navigate as my first climb into the mountains. Apparently this town has not got the work-at-home order memo.
It’s always good to get back to the Cèvennes, and the contrast of that busy road with my 2nd climb up to the Col de Begude is what this place is all about. The only car I saw on this 7 km climb was the La Poste van making its rounds.
I had forgotten how easy this climb was, so I ended up making it to the Col de Portes with 10 minutes to spare. I even had time to risk it all for you, dear reader, by taking a little video of part of a most enjoyable little road that typifies the never-ending twists and turns you get in these mountains.
Finally, what I thought was the whole race coming over the col. It turned out to be a massive breakaway that got whittled down as the race went on, with Tim Wellens TTing for the win in Bessèges.