Le Grand Canyon du Verdon
Trip Start Mar 04, 2008
36Trip End Oct 06, 2008
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The Costa Brava was an absolutely spectacular stretch. It is the rocky coastline of the East Pyranees which separate Spain from France. Challenging riding...up and over headlands and down into canyons but man, was it worth it. This stretch is a cyclists wet dream. Sinuous coastal highway wrapping around rocky promontories, pine forest, mountainous backdrop, picture perfect Spanish towns tucked into tight canyons and magnificent sea vistas.
I met an interesting fellow cycle tourist on this stretch
Once into France the terrain soon became much more tame. A little too tame. One learns a lot about oneself on a trip like this. Of late, I've learned this: I'm not a beach guy. I like the idea of the beach but I can't bring myself to enjoy it. I don't like packing an extra five pounds of sand in my gear. I don't like headwinds. I don't like sitting around doing nothing, which is pretty much what one does on the beach. I'm like a meth addict. I always have to be doing something, and lately that something has been given'r on my bike. So I had a look at the map and decided to head on up into the hills to a place called 'Le Grand Canyon du Verdon'. With a name like that, it's gotta be cool, right?
Leaving the coast was the best thing I could have done
The grand canyon was nothing short of grand. It is tighter than the American Grand Canyon, and thus not as breathtaking I suppose, but has a more intimate feel. The road goes right up through the canyon and along the canyon walls. You really get a feel for the enormity of the chert and limestone walls. Road grades were even half decent as for much of the stretch you are travelling right along the river.
I did have to go over 3 mountain passes that day, mind you. Of course on the third, at the end of the day, I got caught in torrential rain which turned to thick fog as I descended into the picture perfect French town of Greolieres. On the descent, I knew I was on the edge of something steep but couldn't quite see how steep. Maybe that was a good thing.