June 4: Stage 2, Cycling St. Florent to Monticiello, 75 miles, 7050’ of climbing
Here’s a link to the route: http://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/185577499
This was a big cycling day. The bar for cycling nirvana was set yesterday so surpassing that would be difficult. Today was fantastic, but a very different riding experience.
One mile after leaving the hotel we started climbing on another perfect Corsican road, which was followed by an awesome descent. Then, it was miles of rollers through the “Desert des Agriates”. “Desert” is what they call it, but something is seriously lost in translation. OK, so there are no trees, but there are lots of “maquis” (Corsican scrub), wildflowers, nettles, and various vegetation.
The roads in this region are exceedingly narrow. They have a white line down the middle, but the lanes are less than 5’ wide each, so basically it’s a big bike lane that cars are allowed to use. Fortunately, there were not too many cars.
7,000’ of climbing in 75 miles makes for a big day. Ending your ride with the last 30 miles faced with a brutal headwind makes for a really, really big day. I ran out of food and water and had to start asking the locals if they could fill my bottles.
And then, to get to our hotel, we had just one more climb, 5 miles at 6% just to make the point that this tough day was not going to end easy.
All in all, the roads were fantastic. There were a few stretches of potholed crap and rough surfaces, but the majority of the roads and terrain make for a wonderful cycling.