Col de la Couillole (1,678 m), Col Saint-Martin (1,500 m), Col de Turini (1,604 m) and the Col de Castillon (728 m)
Last day of the Route des Grande Alpes and on paper the easiest with a net altitude drop from Valberg at 1,500m to the Mediterranean at, erm, sea level.
The Col de la Couillole was a fairly easy climb because we started so close to the top, and the descent was absolutely amazing with around 16 km of winding hairpins through forests and cliffside roads. The views were out of this World.
The combination of lower altitudes and the fact that we’re now much further south meant that it was hotter than ever today. This made climbing the hills much harder. I found the Col de Turini particularly tricky. This pass is famous for a stage of the Monte Carlo Rally and there were lots of photos of the race in the café on the summit.
Then it was all downhill to Menton, almost. We descended to Sospel, a very picturesque town and gateway to the Alps from the Med. before heading over what was signposted Le col de Castillon towards Menton. It turns out we were on the cars only version of the pass which took us via a tunnel through which bikes were not allowed. We went through it anyway.
Once in Menton we checked into an adequate hotel and hit the town in search of dinner. Menton is a lovely little town on the French-Italian border, on the edge of a bay between Monaco and the Italian Riviera. The tourist brochures claim that there’s sunshine here 331 days of the year and no mosquitoes. Seems no-one told the mozzies this though as I have a bite on my knee, one of my shin, and another on my thumb.
My Strava data says that, despite the net drop in altitude, we did more climbing today than on any of the previous days. I can believe it.