Easter weekend in Nice
May 20th, 2014 by Fraser
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It would have been rude not to indulge in some local cuisine mid ride, just to keep the energy levels up you know…
… that being said, I was just a little bit jealous of this gentlemans lunch. That looked like a winner to me!
More great roads in the surrounding area. This was a fairly sized Gorge that the road followed up into the hills.
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.