Parisians tourists vs Nice: a duel on a Victoire Veloce
Distance: 90 km - Elevation: 1365m
I landed in Nice with an early flight, and I quickly found myself at Café du Cycliste. I order breakfast while Ali prepares the bike that I rented for three days: a brand new Victoire Véloce. I'm a little confused: it’s January and it feels like summer holiday. Just enough time to go through the locker room, being interviewed by France 3 Regions, the French local TV - which resulted in me being named « Parisian Tourist" during the evening news - and here I am with my colleagues on the route du Mont Chauve.
The first sensations are pleasant. Thanks to its geometry, the assembly of its Columbus tubes and carbon fork, this new bike is very reactive but also very comfortable (oh yes 30mm tires) ... The first slope is painful but the weather and panoramas get all my attention.
Going down to the Mediterranean is a wonderful enjoyment. I let myself go with full confidence on these wide tires.
Classic Evening: evening news, double pasta and geek cyclists conversations (Campa vs. Sram vs. Shimano).
Distance: 115 km - Elevation: 1750m
Late start = rookie mistake. We start the long climb of la Madone d’Utelle (15.30 km) - the high point of our stay - when our breakfast is already far away. In the last kilometers, snow appears on road sides and the temperature drops to 2°C. This is not a problem to go up but associated with a bonking, going down is looking though. The arrival at the sanctuary is a delight. A surprisingly smooth and flat asphalt runs on ridges up to the orientation table and its 360 ° panorama that goes from the Mediterranean Sea to the snowy Alps. Hunger pushes us back on the road. As expected, we are freezing and ice sheets make us in the greatest caution. Our frozen hands are all tense. Thankfully, the good people of Merinos farm (yes, like the wool) provide us with saucisson, pâté and a loaf of bread. The temperature rises and the return to Nice by Duranus is splendid.
Distance: 75 km - Elevation: 1100m
Monte-Carlo Rally - unless this is a certain stiffness in the legs - forces us to change our plans. The Col de la Madone is now replaced by the Col de Vence. In Saint-Paul-de-Vence deserted by tourists, we enjoy a three stars coffee break. Two village tours and here we are again on the saddle. This is the 3rd day, we have accumulated fatigue and this pick that we underestimated surprises us. We have not experienced such heat since September or August. The climb is long, the landscape becomes arid and our jerseys are wide open. When we finally reach the pick, it is again the view that makes us forget the difficulties and lactic acid drawed during the 10km at 7% average. Descent in one go to the Promenade des Anglais and team time trial to the Café du Cycliste where I have to grudgingly give back the Victoire Véloce.
On the train back to Paris, the controller mocks the beers sticking out of our pockets. This great cyclist that we just met joins us for a debriefing and we exchange our routes: the loop of the Marne in exchange for the Turini. The grass is always greener elsewhere. We will be back !
See you soon Nice, the Col de la Madone, the Café du Cycliste and Victoire bikes!
A Parisian Tourist.