Day 5- Cap Corse with Extra Fun (110, 13k ft climbing miles)
On our last day in Corsica, everyone agreed that we should do what we most wanted to with our remaining time. For most it was, with apologies to Shakespeare, "Once more unto the beach!" But not for me -- I was still reminiscing about my 95-mile circumnavigation of Cap Corse a few days before. I wanted to do that again, but to spice it up by adding a second -- and arguably harder -- hors categorie climb along the way. If the day cooperated, I'd finish without a pedal stroke left in me.
The elevation profile of this ride left no secret as to where the challenges lay. In fact, the ride might have been called "Mountains for Breakfast," as it had 6,000 feet of climbing in the first 35 miles.
I've covered the first climb a couple of times: 7.7 miles at a grade of 7%+, with the final 2.5 miles a 10% kicker. But it turned out that this wasn't the hardest way up the mountain -- that honor fell to the climb to the summit from the east, in Bastia. So, after summiting from the west for a third time, I descended to Bastia, loaded up on some anonymous-looking treats called "Fenioux Energie Barres" at an Esso gas station, and then turned around and climbed back up to the tower from the other direction, the "Route Imperiale Col du Pigno."
Yikes -- on tired legs, not an easy task. That beast is 6.6 miles long at a 9% average grade, again with the last 2.5 miles at 10%: