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Col De La Republique

July 2014
- stayed at appt hotel Palatines, on edge of St Etienne
- slowly got ready for a cycle, but pretty dreary day, although not as bad as yesterday, or last night's thunderstorm.
- finally set off up the Col de la République at 11:31' in drizzle!
- took a photo of Gillian under the sign for the col, and found a road sign early on 'Rue Paul de Vivie 1853-1930 dit "Velocio"'
- Gillian set a good pace and we only stopped twice.
- after 3km it got steeper, and headed into the clouds
- tempting views opened up but quickly clouded over again
- Planfoy at 6km was reached pretty quickly and then nearly La République village the gradients noticibly lessened
- some even more impressive views nearly revealed themselves as proper alpine-like meadows bordered the road
- at Digonniere des Grand-Bois (alternative name for the climb is the Col du Grand-Bois) the forest closed back in and the road steepened again, plus it was difficult to know if it was rain or dripping trees or both that were soaking us
- suddenly, sooner than expected on a straight around a corner in the forest, there was the summit; great summit and Tour de France history signs plus a memorial to Paul de Vivie (1853-1930, the inventor of the 'Polymultipliée', in other word the derailleur gear, after he was overtaken on this hill by an amateur!; he also suggested this climb for the first Tour in 1903)
- photos and an extra layer on, then the descent back to St Etienne
- with the spray off the road and the fast pace it soon felt pretty cold, shins especially
- after the initial steep section it shallowed as we expected from having done the climb, but we were not ready for how steep the next long section was, with marked 7% for 8km or so and very windy, feeling quite dangerous in the wet
- got down to the roundabout at the bottom of the col, and stopped to shake the hands out
- back to the hotel and said goodbye to Gillian, while I went for another ascent
- slightly brighter weather initially, but after Planfoy more drizzle and into cloud after La Republique; finished in 53mins and turned around
- took some photos on the descent, and on the drying roads got up to 58 kph
- back to the hotel just as the next proper shower started
- Cycling: 1st ascent 1hr 19 mins, descent 30 mins; 2nd ascent in 53mins and 21mins descent (70 km total)

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