Easter weekend in Nice


May 20th, 2014 by



For the Easter long weekend last month Ali and I spent our time in the south of France with Richard & Jenny from her Freespeed team. We mostly were having a look at the Ironman France bike route as Ali will race the event at the end of June. It was a great part of the world and we had 4 or 5 days of exploring fantastic cycling terrain in the hills behind the city of Nice.

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On our first day cycling we rode up a famous local climb which isn’t actually included in the Ironman route – Col du Vence – with some sporting royalty, and certainly not someone who I would have expect to see on a bike, not least on such a severe gradient! However, we did indeed spend Easter Sunday morning riding with Martin Johnson. – He who captained England to Rugby World Cup glory and perhaps even more impressive in my book (given we were cycling uphill!) – who weighs in at over 17 stones! He was a fascinating person and I really enjoyed meeting him.

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On day 2 however we did indeed get out and about on the Ironman course. It is famed for being a tough, hilly race and it climbs up to a high point of over 1000m. Given the race starts at sea level I’d say this is a proper bike course! We encoutered a little bit of drizzle and cloud cover throughout the day but this didn’t dampen what was otherwise a brilliant ride along mostly deserted roads in some stunning countryside. We loved it.

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Over the next couple of days we re-traced sections of the course again and thankfully we got a day of sunshine before we flew home which allowed us to see the scenery in an even better light.

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The roads inland from the coastal area and marina that Nice is most famed for are simply stunning and I would argue equally worth a visit to explore. I could’ve spent many a bike ride in and around those roads.

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It would have been rude not to indulge in some local cuisine mid ride, just to keep the energy levels up you know…

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… that being said, I was just a little bit jealous of this gentlemans lunch. That looked like a winner to me!

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More great roads in the surrounding area. This was a fairly sized Gorge that the road followed up into the hills.

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We enjoyed having a quick look around some of the quaint little villages that the bike course passes through. It had been a while since I have spent any length of time in France – we used to train there most summers when I was lad – and I had forgotten how much I like the lifestyle, and how should I say… the general ambience! It was good to be back and we are looking forward to the race weekend at the end of June.