"Les 3 Cols" - Cayolle, Champs and Allos
July 30, 2000

Distance: 126 km.
Climbing: 3340 m.
Map: Michelin #245, Provence / Côte d'Azur
Col de la Cayolle Profile: Atlas des Cols des Alpes, Volume 1, P. 128
Col des Champs Profile: Atlas des Cols des Alpes, Volume 1, P. 133
Col d'Allos Profile: Atlas des Cols des Alpes, Volume 1, P. 126

Approaching the top of the Col d'Izoard from the south side.

I awake early and look outside to see a bright blue sky, opening the window to feel a cool breeze. I get dressed, fill the bottles with energy drink and quietly go downstairs to my bike in the garage. I'm starting before the restaurant opens so I'll miss the hotel breakfast, opting for a few energy bars and some fruit left over from yesterday. Fortunately the Aupillion has any-time access to the bike garage so I don't have to wait for someone from the hotel to wake up to get to my bike. In no time at all I'm off, in good spirits and looking forward to the first true "tour" of the entire trip.

Today's loop will take in the Cols de la Cayolle, des Champs and d'Allos in a clockwise loop. There are many such loops possible from Barcelonnette which makes it a very popular place with cyclotouristes. Evidently the loop I have chosen for today is so popular as to have a name, Les 3 Cols, and to be given the designation "La Classique du Cyclo Club".

In my travels yesterday I picked up little pamphlet describing the various loops one can do from here. Here's an example of the information contained therein. The example shows two other popular loops out of Barcelonnette. Check out the mileage and elevation gain! (The pamphlet described 7 loops and other out-n-back routes.)


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