F & S Day 11 10/09/11 - Col de Pennes

Today was pretty epic. After our efforts yesterday we had a few less miles to do, but in fact we still had quite a challenging although very enjoyable day.

We got off to a decent start, picking up some baguettes from a nearby shop and heading off the D - roads onto the practically deserted white roads.

They provided some pretty scenery from the word go. Just a few miles down the road we were into a fantastic gorge; huge towering cliffs either side of the road. It made the hill we were climbing seem easily manageable and because of the slower pace we had decided on today it was even sweeter to just sit back and admire it.

After a beautiful little descent the white D-roads provided some great little hairpins up the side of our first Col of the day, before a deserted descent down into some very picturesque villages.

We then hit the biggest Col of the morning; stopping to have our lunch at a nice little picnic spot just on the side of the lanes at the base of the climb.
After a relaxed lunch though the Col proved to be a beast - the Col de Pennes in the midday sun - 30'C+ and very little shade; we reckon it was almost as hard as the Tourmalet, even though it was only 1040m elevation!

It was a breathtaking view from the top of the Col though and a rather sketchy downhill down the small winding roads for 11kms the other side.

At the bottom we headed along the river valley and up to the town of Chatillon en Diois. There we grabbed dinner stuff and began what was meant to be tomorrow's ascent of the Col de Menes, which we decided to strap onto today.
It too proved to be breathtaking, although quite a slog; I really felt it at the end of a hot day.

From the top of Menes we descended down into the valley as the sun was setting, found a great Alpine meadow to pitch up in and cooked a great meal.
All ready for tomorrow's last big Col to get to Le Bourg d'Oisans and Alp d'Huez!


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