You know it must be a good route if when the signs say this way to Paradise
Col de Cenise was the last unclimbed route in my cycling bible that is fairly close to me. About 40 kilometres away but half that as the crow flies. Why haven’t I done it before? One reason is it is nasty. 9.7 kilometres averaging over 10% sounds bad enough, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. A 4 kilometre stretch averaging 12% with 3 long stretches significantly steeper. 16%, 17% maybe more.
It is hard to explain how hard this is. The last 2 kilometres are on a terrible rocky surface and at times it was all I could do just to move. I walked two small stretches of the descent as they were so steep and slippery.
But what a climb! Beautiful deserted road. Lots of hairpins – see 2nd photo. Mountains everywhere. And a huge open alpine meadow at the top. This may be the last big climb this year as there is snow in the forecast for altitudes 2000 feet lower than today’s summit.
Half-way up the route there was also a little road that went to the tiny alpine village of Paradis. So on the way down from Cenise I had a look.