March 6, 2009 - 5.0
This is a great stretch of road. Heading south out of Le Puy on the N88 the road climbs out of the town and up onto the plateau. The first 35km or so to Pradelles offers good scenery, fairly straight smooth roads without too much traffic and make a nice warm up for what lies ahead. At Pradelles continue on the N88 towards Mende. The road ebbs and flows, rises and falls and generally gives a good 50km of smooth sweeping corners on an excellent road surface with some fantastic scenery (if youve got time to look). It peaks at 1264m at the Col de la Pierrre Plantee just south of Chateauneuf-du-Randon. The descent from the Col into Mende is briliant; the road starts with long open curves broken by occasional valley corner bends where you need to scrub off some speed and pop your knee down before batting off on the next part of the run down the hill. The further down you get, the better the corners are and once you pick up the valley of the river Lot and the railway line the corners come quicker and sharper. Mende itself was only a passthrough for me - lots of traffic lights and a dirty great one way system. Continuing out still on the N88 the road snakes its way back towards the A75 at Le Monastier Pin Mories. Still following the river Lot this road was busier and less impressive but formed the final leg of an excellent detour avoiding 115km of the A75 from Brioude.