Corte - Lavender Fields, Forever - CycleBlaze

June 26, 2003

Corte

So this is another of those long ago days that have few specific memories.  I do remember that it was hot - as was every other day on Corsica.  We were in the middle of a heat wave that persisted for our entire visit, and most days peaked in the 90's.   For most days we tried to get an early start and get our miles in before the worst heat of the day.

The day began with a continuation of the climb from Porto, finally peaking out after 2,000 feet in seven miles at the summit of Col de Vergio.  At the top we cooled off, celebrated our accomplishment, and took a short walk along the ridge to admire the distant views.

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The summit of Col de Vergio
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From the summit, It's mostly downhill for the next twenty miles, dropping over 4000 feet - steeply for the first 7 miles until we reach Lake Calacuccia, and then more gradually as we drop through an awesome, rugged gorge for the next ten miles on the Scala de Santa Regina road.  A wonderful ride, with scarcely another car on the road with us.  If you're thinking at all of Corsica as a cycling destination, imagine this road, the incredible coast road from Calvi to Porto, and the road around Cap Corse - there can't be many places like this, with such a concentration of quiet, spectacular but tough roads to choose from.

Lake Calacuccia
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Descending the Scala de Santa Regina
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Descending the Scala de Santa Regina
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After reaching the end of the Scala, we faced one last, steep ridge between us and Corte.  And hot, as we were climbing 1000' in about three miles with the sun blazing down on our backs.  We arrived in Corte fairly late in the day, tired of course - and not particularly impressed with Corte itself for some reason.  It struck us as a somewhat cold, gloomy place, but maybe it was because we contrasted it with the delightful small towns we've stayed in for the past week.

The Citadel, Corte
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Total elevation gain: today, 3,250; for the tour, 27,960'

Today's ride: 68 km (42 miles)
Total: 558 km (347 miles)

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